Every year, between September 1st and June 30th, Viennas Burgtheater premiers around 20 new productions and puts on over 900 shows at the theatre and other locations belonging to the venue. The one constant in this hectic schedule are DPA d:screet 4061 Omnidirectional Miniature Microphones, which are used in many productions to amplify and record actors and singers.
When it comes to numbers we use between 40 and 60 d:screet 4061s across all our productions, says David Mllner, Chief Sound Engineer for the Burgtheaters live shows. We also have a large number of DPA d:fine¢ Headset Microphones, which we use for discussions. While it is very important that the microphones are rock solid and functioning, it is equally important that they sound brilliant because, as well as for live sound, they are also used to record shows for release on CD.
Mllner adds that having a tool that sounds brilliant and functions well in any kind of environment is particularly important for live shows where conditions can be extremely harsh.
In a live environment, the actors are sweating and they dont pay too much attention to the technical gear they are fitted with, he explains. I am delighted to say that our d:screet lavalier microphones are very reliable and we depend on them a great deal, especially in the drama theatre where actors often refuse to wear a second microphone. This means that 90% of the time we operate with only one mic per actor, so the mic has to work under almost any conditions.
Other advantages of DPA miniature microphones are their size as well as their consistency, says Mllner. They are one of the smallest, most invisible and lightweight mics to wear on the market, which is a great advantage. Also, when it comes to replacing microphones, it is very important that they all sound the same. Weve tried out cheaper mics but if you have a bunch of, say, 10 mics you soon find that they dont all sound the same.
The Burgtheater is not only the Austrian National Theatre but also one of the most important German language theatres in the world. Shows range from traditional drama and opera productions through to contemporary plays, many of which have their debut performances at the venue. Originally established in 1741, its current building on the Ringstrae boulevard was designed by Gottfried Semper and Karl Hasenauer and was opened in 1888 after fourteen years of construction. Now one of Viennas most popular tourist attractions, the Burgtheater features paintings by Gustav Klimt and his brothers Ernst and Franz Matsch, which adorn the ceilings over the buildings two grand staircases.
Working with DPA microphones gives us a tool that can be used in any situation, David Mllner says. Whether you put the microphone on an opera singer or an actor, you know that the sound will be brilliant regardless of whether it is singing or spoken word. With the tiniest touch to the equaliser we can be sure of getting the best performance out of it.
Mllner adds that when he has time during rehearsals he occasionally tries different mics to see if he can get a better sound from instruments such as the drums or piano. But in the end, we invariably go back to DPA, simply because they sound the best, he says.