DPA Microphones chosen for unique classical recording rig

A selection of DPA microphones have been incorporated into a unique rig designed to offer a recording solution for three Birmingham-based musical bodies.

Richard Meredith, director of London-based pro-audio and live sound specialists The Audio Dept. was given the task of specifying the rig, which is jointly used by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) and Ex Cathedra.

The portable nature of the rig means that it can be easily set up in several venues used by the groups, including Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and The CBSO Centre, as well as for other recording duties in the venues.

At the heart of the rig is a stereo pair of d:dicate 2011A Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Microphones. These are mounted on flown DPA UA0387 stereo bars, specifically chosen for the task as they give visual markings for differing stereo setups.

Recording equipment available to the three groups includes eight d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones with clips to suit different orchestral instruments, four d:screet 4060 Miniature Microphones for recording instruments or speech and another pair of d:dicate 2011A Microphones to be used as a secondary pair.

“The three bodies involved wanted an audio and video recording set up that would allow them to capture behind the scenes interviews, rehearsals and performances for their archives and for online content,” Meredith explained. “I was charged with delivering the audio component and my main criteria was to ensure consistently high quality sound, regardless of which venue they were using.”

Designing the hardware to mount the d:dicate 2011A Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Mics proved quite a challenge as each venue had different dimensions and several stage layouts.

“Apart from ensuring the microphones were in the right place to capture the best possible sound, for differing sizes of ensembles, I also had to make sure the whole rig was simple and quick to install so that anyone could use it,” Meredith added. “There were a number of health and safety issues to overcome in terms of weight loading etc., but what I devised was a system of wire drops that could be easily adjusted depending on where they were positioned in each auditorium.

"Getting the wire lengths correct from the room dimensions and differing rigging points required some careful mathematics but I am delighted to say they worked perfectly first time.”

The recording rig is now in regular use and has already been deployed to capture a number of performances.