Currently traversing the globe with her ‘California Dreams’ tour, Katy Perry and her engineering team have consistently relied upon DPA Microphones’ 4088 cardioid headset microphones for the star’s high-octane performances.
For such a fast-paced, high-action tour, Perry’s FOH engineer Peter Keppler specified a microphone that was able to eliminate feedback and background noise, whilst managing to remain almost invisible.
“When selecting a microphone, I wanted something that would provide a well-balanced, open and airy sound for Katy,” said Keppler. “She’s a strong singer with a great voice and I thought finding a good headset mic would be a challenge. From the moment we tried the DPA 4088, I knew the sound was no longer going to be a problem.”
During her rendition of ‘Thinking of You,’ Perry stands atop a pink cloud that allows her to ‘fly’ out over the audience playing an acoustic guitar. During this performance, Perry is in front of the main PA, which can be a potentially disastrous sonic scenario regarding feedback.
“The off axis rejection performance of the DPA was a lot better than anything else I’d ever heard,” Keppler explained. “All the headset mics I’d previously used sounded very unnatural — either muffled or very thin and boxy, and feedback problems were terrible. The DPA 4088 solved all of these issues. Her audience shows her a lot of appreciation, and they get especially loud when she flies over the crowd during ‘Thinking of You,’ which also happens to be the quietest song in the show. The DPA 4088 has come through time and time again when I really needed to get Katy’s voice above the level of the audience. The gain before feedback is excellent.”
The mechanical structure of the 4088 is based on DPA’s 4066 omni headset microphone. The headset mount is almost identical to the 4066 model, the difference being that the boom is over one-inch longer for the 4088 version. This feature allows the microphone portion of the 4088 model to be placed directly at the corner of the mouth.
“For Katy, the requirements were that the mic sounded great and was as small, lightweight and inconspicuous as possible,” added Keppler. “We selected the beige-colored version so it’s even less noticeable when she wears it.”
For Perry’s tours, Keppler’s setup also includes an Avid Profile console and stage package, with an active XTA splitter, along with full- and multi-band compression plug-ins for Perry’s voice.