DPA steals the show at 2015 Tony Awards

Firehouse Productions once again relied on DPA Microphones for the 2015 Tony Awards, held at Radio City Music Hall in New York and broadcast live on CBS in the USA.

The audio team used a variety of DPA d:screet 4061 omnidirectional and d:fine 4088 directional headset microphones to capture the vocals of the production’s performers, including co-hosts Kristen Chenoweth (pictured, left) and Alan Cumming (right). A number of the 4061s were also used in the orchestra pit. In addition, singer Josh Groban’s audio team selected DPA’s d:dicate 4011ES cardioid microphones for his performance, which featured a piano.

For the last several years, Firehouse has used DPA microphones for their sound quality and ability to keep up with the demanding, rigorous rehearsals and live performances, while blending in with costumes. As part of the production process, each show that performed rehearsed in their respective theatres prior to the ceremony.

“The show’s engineers prefer the sound and durability of the DPA mics, which need to survive being sent to the various theatres during rehearsals,” said Vinny Siniscal, RF coordinator at Firehouse Productions, who, along with Sisse Jonassen, was also in charge of teching all of the mics on-site.

“Once the mics arrived for rehearsals, they were rigged into the costumes. The crew and I were confident that the mics would return for show day in pristine shape, a critical point for the success of the production – at least on the audio end. Since we were moving such large ensemble casts on and off the stage at a quick rate, there was almost no rigging or miking done on-site – it’s all in the costume. When the actors got into costume on show day, the mics were already there and all that needed to be done was to connect transmitters and test communications.”

With there being so much at stake, Siniscal highlighted the reliability demonstrated by the DPA mics, especially in a wireless environment that is up against so much movement. “There were a lot of problems with other devices in the past in terms of broken connectors as a result of too much activity, traffic and handling,” he explained. “For a production like this, which is broadcast live to millions of people, it is crucial that the mics survive being rigged, plugged and unplugged, yet still maintain the required level of sound consistency.”

Siniscal also recalled first looking for new mics to use during the Tony Awards and how he and his crew liked how DPA’s cardioid 4088s were used in corporate applications, especially in front of a PA for a large group. “The d:screet 4061s have a very similar functionality and sound quality, with an added benefit that they can also be hidden easily in a stage costume,” he continued. “We were looking at a lot of different mics, but overall – in terms of color, durability and sound quality. When we took over the Tony Awards, we knew that both mics were the right tools for this application.”

DPA d:dicate 4011s were also placed inside Groban’s piano on request of Chris “Cookie” Hoff, his monitor engineer. “DPA microphones have been a mainstay in Josh’s piano for years,” he stated. “When I came into the camp, our FOH engineer, Mickey Beck, had insisted on keeping with the choice of mic and I soon realised why – the d:dicate 4011, like the 4021 before it, fits under the closed piano lid, but also delivers the natural sound we are looking for, with limited EQ. DPA also does a great job of helping engineers place the microphones where we need them with several mounting options.”