DPA Microphones brings extra magic to Harry Potter in Melbourne

Multi-award-winning sound designer Gareth Fry recently found himself opening Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne, Australia after its success in London and New York, using an array of DPA Microphones.

In 2017, a year after the play opened in London, a second production was established on Broadway. By then, DPA had launched its d:screet CORE 4061 miniature microphones featuring ‘CORE by DPA’ amplifier technology, which is designed to minimise distortion and expand dynamic range.

“DPA’s d:screet 4061 miniature microphones have long been theatre stalwarts because they sound great, are very tough and are small enough to hide on cast members,” said Fry. “I’ve been using the legacy version of these microphones for years, and we typically hide them in the hairline, on the forehead, so they are not visible to the audience.”

Five months before the play was due to open in Melbourne, DPA Microphones launched its new 6000 Series of subminiature microphones with their 3mm capsules.

“It’s often better to make the show work with the venue, than to try to force it to fit,” Fry explained. “The changes are rarely major because what we have works really well. But we’ll never turn down the opportunity to refine aspects of the show, and each new ensemble of actors brings something new to the show.”

Fry said he is delighted with the DPA d:screet 6000 Series – both in terms of the sound quality they are delivering and their robustness and aesthetics.

“They are so tiny that they just disappear,” he said. “With a 4061, if it isn’t well hidden you can definitely see a microphone, especially if you are double miking, but with these you just mistake them for a small mole. They are effectively invisible. The actors prefer wearing them too, because they are less obtrusive.”

As well as preparing for the San Francisco and Hamburg productions of Harry Potter, opening in 2019 and 2020 respectively, Gareth Fry has just opened an adaptation of the best-selling novel, Alys, Always, at the Bridge Theatre, London. Again, the cast are miked up using DPA 6061 microphones, this time utilising Sony’s DWT-B03R mini digital transmitters.

Although Fry is best known for his work in theatre, he has also designed events and exhibitions such as the landmark V&A David Bowie Is exhibition, and sound effects for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, while his book Sound Design for the Stage has just been published by Crowood Press.