Alleroed, Denmark (December 6, 2017)—A selection of DPA microphones helped the sound team overcome the challenges of presenting Agatha Christie’s classic play, Witness for the Prosecution, in the debating chamber of London’s County Hall.
Tony Award-winning sound designer Mic Pool, who is responsible for the system design, speech reinforcement and the content of the play’s soundscape, deployed four DPA d:dicate 2011C twin diaphragm cardioid microphones as the fixed microphones for the judge, witness box and clerks. The actors are fitted with a total of 10 d:screet 4061 miniature microphones, which are hidden in their hair. The microphones and other sound equipment were supplied by Stage Sound Services.
The DPA microphones contribute enormously to the success of the sound design for this production,” says Pool. “It is clear the audience is connecting with the performances and responding, moment by moment, and that is a positive indication that we have overcome the acoustics of the venue and created that vital aural connection between actor and audience on which the success of any play depends.”
The debating chamber has an unusually long history of acoustical issues; as far back as 1922, there were letters and articles in the press bemoaning the poor audibility of debates. “We resolved to correct this, and our aim was to design a system that would allow every word to be heard,” says Pool. “We also wanted to enhance the audience experience and create the impression of a great acoustic to match the thrilling visual setting.”
The principal challenge was to increase the ratio of direct to reverberant sound. Pool tackled this by designing a system that uses over 120 loudspeakers. “That equates to one speaker, no further than a meter away, for every three audience members, which had to be installed without making any alterations to the Grade II-listed fabric and fittings of the building,” says Pool. “It was a very difficult and time-consuming job for our installation team led by production sound engineer Aidan Jones.”