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A DPA! A DPA! My Kingdom For A DPA!
UK – DPA microphones played a key part in ensuring that the re-interment ceremony for Richard III – the last of England's Plantagenet kings – was clearly heard.
The event, which was covered by more than 150 international media outlets, took place last month at Leicester Cathedral, just metres from the car park where archaeologists found Richard III's bones in 2012. His remains had been missing for more than 500 years since his death at the Battle of Bosworth. Once they were discovered, plans began to take shape for a proper reburial in the Cathedral – and this in turn sparked a massive refurbishment programme, including a complete overhaul of the Cathedral’s AV systems.
Pro audio and acoustics consultancy NoiseBoys Technologies, based in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, won the coveted contract to supply and install a state-of-the-art sound system. The company was also given the task of looking after the audio for the reburial services, two of which were broadcast live on Channel 4, and one on BBC Radio 4.
Among the many items of equipment chosen for the permanent sound system are DPA d:fine 66 headset microphones, which will now be used by Cathedral clergy for all of their regular services. For the live TV broadcasts, NoiseBoys used DPA d:screet 4061 miniature lapel microphones, which were supplied by DPA's UK distributor Sound Network.
Phill Beynon, technical director at NoiseBoys, says: "People sometimes try to skimp on microphones, but there is no way to make up for having cheap mics at the front end of an audio system – no amount of processing and EQ can compensate. If quality mics are used in the first place, the processing doesn’t have to work as hard, and often the channel EQ can stay flat. That’s why DPA are our first-line microphone recommendation, especially for detailed speech applications."
Benyon says that for Leicester Cathedral's AV overhaul, NoiseBoys recommended DPA d:fine headset microphones because the sound they deliver is 'second to none'.
"Having used DPA d:fine 4066 headset microphones extensively in the past, our natural first choice was to use the upgraded, more comfortable d:fine 66 headset microphones," he says. "The sound is natural, warm, consistent, and with very high feedback rejection. Being flexible and rubberised, the clergy at the Cathedral love the comfort and fit of the d:fine headsets, too."
Although the d:fine headset microphones were used for the special events and services surrounding Richard III's re-interment, the live TV broadcasts required a different approach, because the production crew at Channel 4 didn't want headset microphones in shot for aesthetic reasons.
"As the company responsible for the live sound during the week, we chose to mic key participants, including the Dean of Leicester Cathedral, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Leicester and actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who read a poem at the re-interment service," Beynon explains. "For each, we used DPA d:screet 4061 miniature microphones, which we fitted as lavaliers. We fed the audio to Channel 4 as a backup to their own mix."
Beynon adds that everyone was delighted with the DPA microphones, including Mike Benson, lead engineer for the live broadcasts, who commented that he was extremely happy the sound quality from both headsets and lapels, and would be recommending both in the future.
"The sound is unquestionably excellent and consistent, and the innovative design of DPA's accessories such as headset mounts and lapel clips make everything very easy for both the engineers and users," Beynon says. "I wasn’t looking forward to some of the services that were conducted from the back of the cathedral, where people would be right in the firing line of the main speakers wearing lapel mics, but the d:screet 4061s performed excellently, sounding natural and clear with plenty of gain before feedback."
The re-internment ceremony marked the first time NoiseBoys had used DPA's d:screet 4061 miniature microphones, and having heard the quality they delivered Beynon is now keen to try more products from DPA's extensive range.
In picture: Benedict Cumberbatch.
photo: Will Johnston/Leicester Cathedral
23rd April 2015
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