Microphones What Mic are they using?

klimbo

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Location
france
In the protective cap, the MKE-1 gets quite long. They could be B6's, but knowing the rental shops the audio rigs on these shows are pulled from, a B6 would be a special order as they generally only stock DPA's lineup, flavors of MKE-1 and MKE-2



The capsules are too long to be DPA's, if I get to it this week and find any around I can post a few DPA dual rigs made like this and it's pretty apparent - even in high-boost caps which are the flat ones. I can tell you on an intense dancing show like this DPA's would be the second choice to a Sennheiser. DPA's sweat out like crazy, and Sennheiser mics are a little more resilient to sweat.



These are modified purchased loops, cut down to be a little smaller than stock. People do hand-make them on big shows, but standard procedure on these shows is just to buy a few dozen pre-made earloops, cut them down to size, and hellermann the cut-off parts.

When I make custom ear-loops like this it's a definite choice over purchasing and it's usually either because I need something very slick looking and super low profile, or something just a little more boomed out and a Telex loop looks too cludgy and I'm going for seamless. I'll take the mics, wrap them in a high gauge tensile wire, drastically cut down a pre-bought ear loop until I have exactly what I want, or use a more rigid and lower gauge, less tensile wire to just barely fit over the ear. Then where the mics and the ear loop meet I wrap them both in fishing line, coat that all in epoxy until it is set and the entire unit is solid, and then paint it all one seamless color with a variety of coloring implements. The end result looks marginally nicer than what they have going on in this photo - which to me screams "I'm built to be extremely durable". Which means either this filming was slammed together quickly, or his rig dies a lot and a nicer hand-made boom would take too long to put together and just isn't worth the effort. It's not even painted, which is a big giveaway to me that its built to be durable -- if it wasn't touched a lot you'd see more effort to conceal it with skin-tone and hair-tone paints in their respective places on this thing. Broadway mics usually get a lot of paint treatment.
je pense qu'on peut modifier les boucles n'est ce pas?
 

Ancient Engineer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Location
Sandusky, Ohio
EV 635A Is a tremendously good microphone that was designed to be compact and rugged.

Astonishingly rugged. SSE dropped one (actually an accident) from the 5th floor of a parking garage.

Found below, it had left a mark on the concrete and scuffed the side of the mic, but it did the rest of the show...

Years later I was walking past the place where it happened and the mark on the concrete was still there. I suspect the mic is still working somewhere with its rumpled side sanded smooth...
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Since this discussion is all over the place, thought I'd drop this in.
Is there a general dislike for Countrymann lavs in theatre? Or at all I guess?
I've used them a bunch, always because that's what was there before. But the best thing about them, for me, was the customer service. You call, they give you an RMA and 70% of the time, they don't charge you for the replacements.
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Location
NYC
Since this discussion is all over the place, thought I'd drop this in.
Is there a general dislike for Countrymann lavs in theatre? Or at all I guess?
I've used them a bunch, always because that's what was there before. But the best thing about them, for me, was the customer service. You call, they give you an RMA and 70% of the time, they don't charge you for the replacements.
I would very much say the opposite... Countryman is widely used in Theater. One of the most popular lav mics on the market. DPA has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years, though they've been around for a while. I think sennheiser is a more popular kit option as it comes with their wireless obviously and the same with sony, but when I was sales I sold more Countrymen B3's/6's for theater than others. Most sennheiser lav's were replacements and a lot of film / tv uses Sanken/DPA.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I thought so too. Countryman making that specific green for Wicked and other somewhat publicized news pieces.
But I remember a couple of tours where producers had issue with the sound and they brought in a new designer who swapped all the Countryman for DPA and "the issue was solved".
Is it maybe just what Masque happens to stock at the time?
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Location
NYC
I thought so too. Countryman making that specific green for Wicked and other somewhat publicized news pieces.
But I remember a couple of tours where producers had issue with the sound and they brought in a new designer who swapped all the Countryman for DPA and "the issue was solved".
Is it maybe just what Masque happens to stock at the time?
Having shopped plenty of productions in the Masque cages stock is certainly not an issue from either manufacturer. I think it's preference and form factor. I am personally not a fan of the microdot connector from DPA particularly for high action musicals, but they certainly sound nice. On the same hand Countryman is far more forgiving.... I think it comes down to a mix of PA, a skilled engineer and the DSP in line..... with a nice PA of Galileo's for example I'd argue a good designer / engineer team could dynamically tune a Countryman and DPA to sound nearly identical on the same performer... there's too many factors in "art" to definitively say this will always fix that. What's more likely to have occurred in changing mic elements is that the new designer redid the EQ curves and "solved the issue".
 
Last edited:

themuzicman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2007
Location
On Tour
Is it maybe just what Masque happens to stock at the time?
Masque stocks what their clients want, I can just as easily throw a dozen countrymen on an order as I can DPA in their shop. If there's a Broadway show or tour using a Countryman there's a good chance they have a few in sales inventory, but either way if there's an audio product on the market, they have no qualms selling it to me. I've bought Countrymen from Masque before, not often but it's happened when a designer has requested it.

I think it comes down to preference, and a DPA just takes less work to sound natural. However we are starting to see shifts in the market and designers are starting to leave DPA 4061's and have been picking up Point Source CO-8WL's as the replacement. When you run them through Smaart they have an identical frequency response and the PS mic is 2/3 the cost.

My personal experience is that when they are mounted on the forehead you can't tell the difference between DPA and PS, but when mounted on the ear they sound different (and the PS mic requires more EQ to get it sounding natural). The PS mic is about the same cost as a Countryman B6 and I know I'm going to go with the PS mic over the Countryman every time. DPA is constantly iterating their products, Point Source is simultaneously making weird products AND absolutely crushing the game by making a robust and killer sounding DPA clone, Countryman is being the same company with the same products they were 10 years ago hiding quietly in the corner.

At the top end of the market sounding good is one thing, but I think a lot of it comes down to both cost and customer relations -- DPA doesn't have reps directly in New York, but every time I've had issues with new DPA products there is a DPA rep in the city within a week or two visiting the production to see what's going on. Point Source has reps that double as tech support directly in the city and they freely answer their phones when we call so we get answers almost immediately. Countryman we are all just calling the same tech support number as everyone else. I've never personally met a Countryman rep.

A few personal anecdotes -- I did a huge new musical that busted $20k in the new D:Fine 4266 headset mics in the first few weeks of tech and previews, most of them a custom ordered variant from Denmark. We had a DPA rep onsite within a week of our call to the rental shop to see the shortcomings of the D:Fine firsthand, while we never got the issues resolved they still sell the DPA 4066 of which the 4266 was supposed to be the direct replacement (I'll take that as a win). A few years later there was a scandal where DPA 4061's were pulling right out of their Lemo connectors with a tiny tug (this was corroborated across a dozen large musicals). Within two weeks DPA had located the issue in their production lines, had it fixed, and sent every show a letter explaining the issues and the steps taken to fix it.

I had different issues with a huge number of Point Source microphones when they first came to prominence in NYC, and they were taking back our stock 1:1 in order to do R&D on our broken microphones - there was a year or two where no one trusted them but over the last 18 months I can count on two hands the number of Broadway shows and tours that have fully embraced them due to their work making the product more robust.

When the Countryman B2D was first released I did a production that broke $15k in them over the course of about 2 months, the producer put me in charge of finding the issue and I was in touch with Mr. Countryman directly. The end result was being told we were using his product incorrectly after I explained the needs we had out of the microphones. Countryman didn't realize that Broadway seriously paints the heck out of their microphones, they offered 5 colors and they felt that should be enough for anyone. We stopped painting them and the failure rate dropped but not enough. Turned out actors who had dry skin could clog up these mics as quickly as the aerosolized paint could. Countryman insisted again we were using them wrong and that we should be putting them in wind screens full-time. They were nice enough to send me custom 3D printed makeup caps a few weeks after the production closed. I haven't used a Countryman mic since the production closed, and I think my life is easier without them. I'm a huge fan of the Type 85 DI's though, so at least they make one product I really like.

I'll throw in Sennheiser, because why not? They sort of killed their reputation as a go-to mic in a quick 2-fold process: 1. Killing off the MKE-2 Gold which was the go-to choice when we needed something crazy robust and durable and 2. When they started "blue-banding" their microphones to show compatibility with the new 6000 and 9000 series wireless. The blue-banding changed the tolerance from +/- 3dB to +/- 6dB across all frequency ranges, we started buying 30 at a time to pluck out the 10 that sounded closest to each other and send back the unused 20. At a certain point it just isn't worth the up-front cost or the time and the Point Source proved to be just as robust as the Sennheisers. That being said, the MKE-1 and MKE-2 have very unique tonal characteristics that still make them ideal for certain performers in certain circumstances and are still a very useful tool in the mic toolbox.

I am personally not a fan of the microdot connector from DPA particularly for high action musicals, but they certainly sound nice.
99% of the mics you're buying out of Masque/PRG/Sound Associates are terminated to 3-pin Lemo for use with the majority of the transmitters they rent. About the only mic I can remember renting from any of the shops that is native Microdot is the 4099 but only so it can connect to its preamp.
 
Last edited:

FMEng

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Location
Tacoma, WA
The only problem with DPA is the high cost, especially for replacement parts. it seems like they could lower prices a fair amount by getting rid of the over designed packaging. Give it to me in a cardboard with box, please. I don't need zippered boxes with mirrors and plastic clam shells for a replacement cable. Sell the product with the sound and reliability, not the fancy packaging.

Shure is just as bad with the packaging of wireless systems. It's nice and rugged for shipping, but there is no need for the all of the plastic trays, and bags, that no longer get recycled.
 

Users who are viewing this thread