Alleroed, Denmark (January 3, 2013)—Danish producer and engineer Hans Nielsen took along his DPA microphones when he recorded a choir of 500 monks in a Chinese temple more than 13,000 feet above sea level.
"I've always been a big fan of DPA Microphones and have used them regularly for over 25 years," says Nielsen, of Focus Recording Studios. "When I realized this project involved recording at high altitude, I knew I had to take my DPA microphones with me because they were the only mics I could rely on to capture the high-quality sound I wanted in such extreme conditions."
Nielsen was recording the album with internationally acclaimed folk singer and songwriter Sa Ding Ding. A mix of Han and Mongol ancestry, Sa Ding Ding sings in a number of languages, including Mandarin, Sanskrit and Tibetan, as well as an imaginary, self-created language that evokes the emotions of her songs. She also plays traditional instruments such as the guzheng and matougin (a horse-head fiddle).
"Sa Ding Ding wanted to include the monks' choir in her album, so we traveled to the temple, which was high up in the mountains near Tibet," Nielsen says. "The monks were singing a mass and we captured their performance using nine DPA 4006A omnidirectional microphones and one DPA 4011A cardioid. Then, later that night, we used the same microphones to record a choir of 100 monks so that their singing could also be incorporated into two of Sa Ding Ding's album tracks."
Two days later, and this time at an altitude of 2,000 meters, Nielsen recorded a 50-strong Christian choir for the album, again using DPA microphones.
"I did have other microphones with me, but only the DPAs were able to cope with the extremely thin air. Everything else I tried was just too noisy and couldn't cope with the atmospheric conditions. I was incredibly happy with the results we achieved using the DPA microphones-and so was Sa Ding Ding."