Kashmir (November 4, 2014)—For decades, the Dalai Lama has hosted Kalachakra, a 12-day religious event, in various locations around the world from New York to India. This year’s prayer meeting, however, took place in the tiny town of Shey, deep in the Himalayas, drawing more than 150,000 followers.
In order to ensure everyone could hear the now 79-year-old religious figure as he spoke for roughly five hours each day, Bangalore, India-based Reynolds Sound & Lighting miked the Buddhist leader with DPA Microphones’ d:fine dual-ear cardioid headset microphone.
The DPA d:fine was at the center of a larger audio equipment package that had to cover the sizable audience and also provide stage monitoring for the surrounding Monks. In addition to the DPA mic, the audio system included 44 Meyer Sound Milo array loudspeakers, 32 Mica compact array speakers, 24 MSL-4 loudspeakers, 20 CQ speakers, 12 UPA speakers, two-dozen MJF-212A stage monitors, six UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeakers, four UPJunior-XP ultra-compact VariO loudspeakers and four UPM-1P loudspeakers. The event was mixed on an Avid Venue SC48 digital console.
Once they traveled up into the Himalayas, Reynolds’ audio team was able to try the DPA mics for the first time, having never used them before. It was mandatory that the source element of the mic provide a flat response with substantial rear rejection; according to the team, there was no coloration in the signal, so His Holiness’ voice sounded natural and transparent, and they were able to get the gain levels they wanted from the cardioid microphones.
Aside from the remote location of the prayer meeting, the overall setup of the stage and personal preferences of His Holiness created other challenges. The Dalai Lama sits on a high throne, surrounded by several senior monks both in front of and to each side of him. The microphone must always be placed beside him on stage so he or a member of his team can put it on him—a process that went smoothly so that even an untrained person could affix the mic. The Dalai Lama’s media team was reportedly so pleased with the quality of the microphone that they asked to keep it for his smaller prayer meetings.