DPA Microphones celebrates 4th of July with fireworks spectacular

The Boston Symphony Orchestra recently deployed DPA Microphones for its nationally broadcast, live Boston Pops Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.

Held annually in the Hatch Shell at the Esplanade along the Charles River, the concert and fireworks show hosts nearly 400,000 attendees. As the most watched Independence Day performance in the U.S each year, the Pops have continued to use DPA Microphones to ensure that audio at the show is of a high standard.

With limited rehearsals time and over one hundred production inputs, the Pops needed equipment that sounded good and worked dependably. DPA was used across the stage throughout the evening’s performance, with the d:vote 4099 instrument microphones in the strings section, 4023 compact cardioids microphones on the piano and in the woodwinds section, and 4066 omni headset microphones worn by the vocalists and narrators.

Though there were many DPA microphones on stage, revellers and home viewers would have had to look closely to see them during the show.

“One thing we like about the DPA line is that they have lots of low-profile miniature capsules and microphones that are ideal for television projects,” Steve Colby, Boston Pops sound designer and music mixer for the TV broadcast of the event, said “DPA makes it easy to use a lot of microphones but not have the gear in the way of the camera shots, which makes the directors happy.”

Colby and the Pops needed microphones that could withstand the extreme weather changes of a summer day in Boston. “We were looking for exceptionally high-quality, great-sounding microphones that were robust and dependable in semi-hostile outdoor conditions, such as heavy rain and high temperatures,” Colby said. “We’ve had great luck with the DPA line. There are a lot of other high-end microphones that we’ve used throughout the years, but sometimes those were tough to use in the high-humidity conditions that often roll in over the city. DPA has been very dependable in these situations.”

In addition to using DPA Microphones for the Fourth of July concert each year, the Boston Pops Orchestra also relies on DPA’s 4023 and d:vote 4099 microphones for most of its theatrical performances, both simple presentations or a full Broadway-style show.

Colby stated: “Another thing we like about the DPA microphones, and the 4099s in particular, is that, unlike a lot of other clip-on microphones, they should really good. Usually there’s a trade-off between having a microphone attached to an instrument and having a great sound. But, whatever DPA has done, they’ve created a microphone with audio quality that is very good and true to the sound of each instrument, even when placed very close”.

The first Boston Pops Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular took place in 1974, at the suggestion of Boston-area philanthropist David Mugar to Pops Conductor Arthur Fielder. The goal was to revive the then-diminishing Esplanade Concert Series by playing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, with added extras. For the next Fourth of July howitzer cannons, fireworks and church bells were all added and for the first time, a Fourth of July fireworks display took place over the Charles River.

Now, the Boston Pops Firework Spectacular is known as the premier Independence Day celebration in the nation. Each year hundreds of thousands of people come from all over the U.S to celebrate the occasion and another seven million tune in nationally on the CBS television network to view the event.

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