Christmas is…

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Christmas is the DPA 4061.

I have string quartets on both of my stages this year for our Christmas celebration. In the past when we’ve had strings, we typically used pre-recorded tracks with a bit of live strings underneath to give it a bit of “real”. This was largely due to the pickups we had to use on string players. I don’t know exactly how they worked, but my guess is they were piezos encased in rubber that get attached to the bridge of the instrument. They’re not horrible. I would say they’re sometimes adequate, but just not my favorite. After tonight they will probably never be used by me again on strings.

This year I wanted something better and after a bit of research settled on the DPA 4061. I wasn’t able to buy any this year, but I was able to find some to rent. We rehearsed on Wednesday night with the strings and the 4061’s, and it was awesome! I’ve never had strings that sounded like this. The mics are placed just behind the bridge on a little mount that hangs off the strings. I typically dread doing strings because it’s so hard to get enough gain before feedback with mics and pickups sound like…well, pickups. Tonight I had gain for days and days and days. Take that rock band! I’m loving it. But that’s not all.

This year we also have an acoustic piano on stage which is a rarity for us. I hate mic’ing pianos. Next to choirs, pianos might be my least favorite instrument to mic on stage. I never feel like I’ve got the mics in the right position, and it just always drives me nuts. We’ve had it good, but never great. I always feel like we are compromising the sound to have the look of an acoustic piano.

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I had a couple extra 4061’s left over so I figured I’d try something different in the piano. DPA is advertising 4061’s to use in pianos so I thought why not. I left the underside of the lid dampened and put two 4061’s in the piano near the soundholes just like the photo in their ads; they come with these great little magnetic mounts that stick right to the piano. Wow! This is my favorite piano sound I’ve ever had with a mic in a piano. Hands down. I was freaking out. I wanted to cry. Give me a pair of those mics and a piano now any day. Even our piano player was raving about them. Nobody can believe we’re getting this great piano sound from these two little mics. I love it.

I will definitely be purchasing some of these mics as soon as I can. While this was only one time using them, I really wan some in my mic locker. I have to give a shout out to Shane Beeson at DPA for connecting me with AudioVend Wireless Systems in Texas where we rented them. It’s my first time working with AudioVend, and they’ve been great. If I need to rent more of these in the future, they will be the first folks I call.

David Stagl

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Christmas is…