DPA d:facto "a great choice" for Emeli Sandé arena tour

The BRIT Award winning artist and songwriter switched to the company's vocal microphone after taking advice from her experienced sound engineers.
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BRIT Award winning artist and songwriter Emeli Sandé has switched to a DPA d:facto vocal microphone for live gigs after taking advice from her sound engineers who felt the microphone would be the perfect complement for her voice.

Sandé’s FOH engineer Gerard Albo, who has been mixing her recent arena tour, is a regularly user and fan of DPA’s products. However, it was while chatting to Sandé’s monitor engineer Andy Williamson that the subject of vocal microphones came up.

“It was actually Andy who suggested the d:facto for Emeli,” Albo said, “and it turned out to be a great choice. The d:facto, in conjunction with our Sennheiser 6000 wireless system, makes her voice sound very natural with beautiful definition at the top end. This gives a HiFi feel to her live performances, without much spill. On this tour, when Emeli sang and played piano in the middle of the Arena for six songs, I had no feedback issues. The microphone is incredibly stable, even in front of the PA.”

Albo, who trained as a sound engineer in France and London, has been mixing FOH since 1996. He has worked with many successful artists across a variety of genres, and was recommended to Emeli Sande by Steve Martin, her production manager and founder of Tourhouse Productions.

Albo added that he now won’t go anywhere without his DPA 3511ER Cardioid Compact stereo kit or his large number of d:vote 4099 instrument microphones, which he uses with various clips for all types of instruments. For Sandé’s recent live gigs, supplied by Capital Sound, Albo used d:vote 4099 instrument mics on percussion, brass, Hammond organ with Leslie speakers and underneath the snare drum.

“I was able to close mic and still get a very clean sound with a beautiful high end,

- Gerard Albo, FOH engineer

“I was able to close mic and still get a very clean sound with a beautiful high end,” explained Albo. “As we were recording some concerts for DVD release, I also used DPA to capture the atmospheric sound of the audience. I got two d:dicate ST4011A Cardioid and ST4015A Wide Cardioid stereo pairs and set them up as atmospheric mics. The 4015A Wide Cardioids were used as a spaced stereo pair positioned at the FOH mixing desk and pointed back towards the stage. This gave a very open representation of what it felt like to be an audience member because they picked up the atmosphere and energy of the show via both the PA system and the audience’s reaction.”

Albo continued: “The 4011As were positioned as an XY stereo pair stage left, facing the audience. The combination of this set up and these cardioids gave a very honest and natural sounding representation of the audience and its reaction to the show, while rejecting most of the on-stage noise due to their directionality. The results were spectacular, and we were all delighted.”

Emeli Sandé’s arena tour ended with a concert in Albania in November 2017. Albo’s next move is to head off to Los Angeles in this year for some exciting new projects. “d:vote 4099s will definitely be travelling with me because I always have a pair in my carry-on luggage, just in case I need them,” he said.

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