New York (April 19, 2006)–UK producer Kevin Wallace and director Matthew Warchus recently premiered their $37 million, theatrical version of Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings at the Princess of Wales Theatre, in Toronto, Canada. The production, a play with music rather than a musical, is scored throughout by Indian maestro AR Rahman and Finnish contemporary folk group, Värttinä, and played live by 19 musicians.
Sound designer Simon Baker and associate Sten Severson set out to create a crisp, clean and intelligible mix, and as part of that effort, used microphones from DPA.
Baker and Severson decided to use DPA IMK4061 miniature instrument miking kits and DPA 4021 compact cardioids on strings, 4011 cardioids for horns, 4041 large diaphragms on percussion and more strings while 4015 wide cardioids look after more unusual ethnic instruments, which included a Johiko, Nickleharp and Bazuki. Said Severson, “They’re easy to use in that when you get them in the right place, you they don’t need a lot of EQ.
DPAs are onstage as well: 64 Sennheiser personal transmitters on the actors are all running either DPA 4061 miniatures or DPA 4066 omnidirectional miniature headbands. “Anyone wearing a complete helmet has a headband mic and we have had really good results with the 4061s. They sound good and they are really rugged,” Severson continues.
In certain sequences, there are up to 35 performers on stage, all with head-worn microphones competing with the orchestra and sound effects. All vie for intelligibility, creating an added challenge for Baker and Severson, as the show is very loud in parts. “If you can really get a good head position on a person, all you end up with is a High Pass filter in,” concluded Severson. “It will sound nice and clean, you get a good sense of the sibilance and of course that helps with the gain structure. Suddenly, you are not having to use the desk EQ to remove all the unwanted nasty frequencies.”