Kathryn Tickell has been using DPA 4099 instrument clip mics for her recent project Northumbrian Voices, which has been touring the UK.
The project is based on interviews and recordings made with family members and shepherd musicians from whom Tickell learnt a number of tunes and songs, with three generations of musicians performing music and telling their collective stories. Three violins, which are being played alongside such traditional instrument as Northumbrian pipes and melodeon, are miced with DPA 4099Vs, designed specifically for mounting on violas and violins.
Tickell first encountered the 4099s playing violin for Sting’s A Winter’s Night…Live from Durham Cathedral concerts. “Durham Cathedral is not the easiest place to amplify acoustic music,” she said. “However, even in this tricky situation, and with a group of 30-plus musicians, the DPAs performed flawlessly.
“I was interested to see how the 4099s would perform in the real world settings of my touring schedule of arts centres, concert halls and the other venues in which I usually perform. It was immediately apparent that the 4099s allowed the natural sound of the violins to be reproduced authentically while not limiting the level that could be given back to us in the foldback monitors.”
FOH engineer Julien Batten thought that prior to this tour, he’d tried almost every available violin mic/pick-up system in his work on the folk and acoustic music scene, without finding a suitable solution.
“After hearing great things about DPA’s new range of mics from other engineers, we thought we’d give them a try,” he commented. “Straight away it was evident that this mic was a cut above the previous clip-on that we’d been using. Instead of a ‘scooped’ sound, the 4099s not only have a smooth high end and powerful lows, but also a strong, well defined mid range which I have been missing from all the other mics I tried. Without reaching for the EQ I had a sound that was pretty much what I wanted. Also, due to the hyper-cardioid pattern, there’s lots of level before feedback, and I’m not re-amping all the rest of the stage sound through the violin channel.”
Batten is now confident in his new micing solution, insisting he no longer has to choose between high sound quality and high volume. “With the 4099s I can have both,” he added. “Now I just need to work out how to clip a set on Kathryn’s Northumbrian pipes and I’ll be happy.”
“Realism of tone and ease of use have always been my main requirements for any amplification solution,” concluded Tickell. “With the 4099s I feel we have the very strongest first link in the amplification chain. I use the extension lead so that I can move about on stage and the whole set up is simple and discreet. I also love the fact that it attaches securely to the instrument without the need for screws, fixings or Velcro.”