Thanks to each of you who took time to send us your personal story. We have received over 700 stories and have read each of them. Many of them were great, yet we only have eight prizes to give out. Below you will see the grand prize winning story and the seven other winners as well.
Thanks to each of you who took time to send us your personal story. We have received over 700 stories and have read each of them. Many of them were great, yet we only have eight prizes to give out. Below you will see the grand prize winning story and the seven other winners as well.

The sound of wind
Saving a Gibson
Attack of the giant ants
Making movie magic
The abuse of DPA mics
Growing a personal sound library
Preserving the Flamenco sound
A DPA holiday poem

 

The sound of wind

by Philip Samartzis
I am the current Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellow and I travelled to Casey Station in Eastern Antarctica earlier this year to record the sound of Katabatic wind. I used two d:dicate™ 4006 Omnidirectional Microphones to record numerous environments and weather events, including two blizzards. One of the blizzards measured 100 knots and is the strongest blizzard ever to be recorded at Casey Station during summer. The recordings are amazing!

Listen to the sound of Katabatic wind recorded with DPA microphones.

Saving a Gibson

by Kien Phan Huy
I've been through all kinds of pickups, preamps and EQs but I have never been satisfied. Once, a well-known pickup company released a new "internal microphone". After hours of watching YouTube videos, I was convinced that this new product would end my quest for amplification. So when I bought my Gibson True Vintage acoustic guitar, I went to the local shop and asked for an installation. The man refused. He said he would not drill any hole in such a nice guitar. He pinched his nose and said with a Donald Duck voice: "It will sound like this". He handed me a drill bit and said:  "if you really want to drill that hole, help yourself".

I chickened out. At the same shop they sold the d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphone so I thought I'd give it a try and compare the sound of this new internal mic with the d:vote™. The shop assistant handed me another guitar with the new internal mic already installed.

I plugged the guitar into a high-end acoustic guitar amp and strummed a chord. It sounded very good: no piezo "quack", great dynamic, no bad piezo compression. I laughed nervously; very confident in the fact it was the best pickup I had ever tried. Then I tried the d:vote™ 4099G on the very same guitar.

Suddenly the shop became silent. Everybody stopped to listen and nobody could believe their ears. It sounded REAL.

All other pickups make a compromise. The d:vote™ makes no compromise, it's the real thing.

Attack of the giant ants



by Stijn Demeulenaere
It’s 3:30 am, I wake after, yeah well, way too little sleep. I stumble around for light, get dressed hurriedly. Disconnect my recorder from the charger. Gather the gear: mikes – check, backpack – check, headlight – check,  and head out. The others are waiting for me so I find a place in the jeep. I’m sleepy yet excited. It’s pitch black out there. It’s 4 am. We start driving. I turn on my headlamp; see the heads of the driver and my fellow recordists bobbing up and down as the Land Rover drives over uneven terrain. I turn on my recorder, a last check, again. Battery 8.1V, CF empty. OK, that’s fine. I check my mics. Two d:screet™ 4060 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphones – a stereo kit. They’re mounted on a coat hanger –  47cm apart, AB.  A small and simple setup that I have really grown to love over the past days. Nice stereo image, great definition. Versatile too.

When I’m not using the mics in a stereo setup, the small lavalier allows me to put a microphone into small holes and cracks I find. It survived an attack from some really big ants a couple of days ago. And being a lavalier, it doesn’t suffer from the humidity after the occasional torrential downpour. I use them mostly on a coat hanger, which I hang in a tree. Quick and simple. Not today though. There aren’t really any trees where we will be recording today, so I mounted my coat hanger on a tripod.

The Land Rover continues, taking a deep plunge, down to the river. A while later we arrive. Everybody turns on their headlights and jumps out of the jeep. In a steady pass we walk up to The Bridge. This is our recording spot this morning: a bridge over the Limpopo River in South Africa. We walk decisively. We’ve got 16 minutes. Then we need to be set up. I take a spot in the middle of the bridge. Listen, adjust my tripod a bit and trim the gain. Great! I press record. 

I go back, leaving the recorder. The other recordists do the same. We head back in silence to the Land Rovers. Not a word is said.  Some of us lie down and start taking a nap, careful not to snore. Others can’t sleep, grab a second recorder and head out, away from the bridge, playing around with VLF or contact mikes. I’m putting a piezo in a termite mound, and go back to the others. I listen. There’s a seam of light at the horizon. Daybreak has started.

The bridge is an ideal recording place – birds on both sides of the river, the insect choir that starts and shifts and changes slowly. At one point a group of baboons are making a terrible racket. We think they’re fighting. Later, our guides tell us they were pursuing a mate. We recorded from 4:43 to 7:16 am. This was done during the Sonic Mmabolela residency by Francisco López. This dawn chorus recording turned out to be my favorite recording of those two weeks. The DPA microphones have great detail, creating a most natural sound. You hear the Veldt waking up. The insect choir picking up a notch, and after half an hour shifting down a couple of Hz. Then the birds join in. Slowly waking up all the other animals around.

Making movie magic

by Ed Novick
Here's my d:screet™ 4061 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphone under the mask of Bane, played by Tom Hardy in "The Dark Knight Rises". The character of Bane was sometimes shirtless; sometimes not – and a series short cables with DPA MicroDot connectors was created so that the actor could remove any part his costume (mask, coat, vest) without removing his entire microphone system or disturbing make-up appliances (which contained mic wires).



 
 

The abuse of DPA mics

by Eilam Hoffman


Firstly let me tell you that your microphones rock. I've put them to the test on planes, tanks, explosions / weapons, cars, boats, animals and orchestras. They always deliver superior sound quality and tonality.

There's a huge difference in the sound quality between microphones, especially at very high SPL. DPA mics maintain the timbre where other microphones fail.

My collection of DPA microphones have been through a lot of abuse and always survived; engines of tanks exploding and burning oil slashing everywhere, chariots and horses running over them, fire from fighter jets and hungry big cats trying to eat them.

Growing a personal sound library

by Willem Sannen
Years ago I started out recording Rice Krispies in my bathtub for a video of a wave crashing onto a pebble beach in slow motion. It turned out to be a great recording for the scene. I used to rely on stock sound but this recording made me realize that I could create my own personal sound library for sound design.

It took me a few years to understand and experience different mic techniques. Especially in a world where sound recording is often synonymous with music recording, there are a lot of distractions and unknown paths to take for a sound designer before you know what you want out of a microphone.

Today I own a few microphones but I will usually go for my stereo pair of d:screet™ 4060 Miniature Omnidirectional  Microphones. They have never let me down and even in situations where other mics would be more suited, they always give me something to work with in post-production without hitting the limits of the mic immediately. I have placed my DPA’s on my own head for binaural stealth recording of crowds. I attached them near the exhaust and the motor of a driving car. I lowered them in drains, air vents, grilles and they swung down off the roof from the 8th floor. They took rain, wind, dirt and mud. They sometimes go where no one has gone before, but I also recorded folk and classical music with them and used them as lavaliers for voice recording. They are the most flexible mics I own and therefore they encourage me to keep being creative with them.

I remember the moment I bought my d:screet™ 4060s and opened the box. I was underwhelmed. It was my biggest expense for a microphone ever and I remember feeling disappointed. Those tiny things slipped in all my clumsiness through my fingers and the cables got entangled. I was thinking: “Is this it?” When I started out recording I soon discovered the range of possibilities they were giving me and I don’t question their size or look anymore. I know now why I’m using them.

I just checked: my own personal sound library contains today 6598 sounds and is ever growing.

Preserving the Flamenco sound

by Giovani Capeletti


Performance in Flamenco is quite complex. Although common knowledge describes it as an art form full of energy, tending to loud and "fiery" displays of virtuosity, the opposite is also true. Extreme and abrupt variations in dynamics occur all the time, affecting the singing, the percussion, the dancing and, of course, the guitar. This beautiful and fundamental element of flamenco, through a colossal process of depuration that created a very specific and demanding way of playing and composing, serves as a bridge that interconnects cante (singing) and baile (dancing), while still maintaining a very consistent and self-sufficient discourse.
 
Capturing the sound of the flamenco guitar in a way that will preserve its very particular and subtle characteristics, while also being able to fill, say, an audience of a large theater is a big challenge. For more than a decade, I struggled with countless microphone models and positioning, and never got a satisfying sound. Then a friend suggested the d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphone to me. Being the relentless fellow guitarist, his remark was "It's so good it doesn't seem real".

I was rehearsing a new show with a company of long-time friends, and things were going to be quite different for me and the other musicians. We would have to move around the stage. The scene director was trying to stay away a bit from the classical flamenco formation (musicians in the back, dancers in the front). He wanted us to interact more with one another, to look each other in the eye.

I knew I had to have a portable microphone, and since the production deadlines were coming, so I made the riskiest bet: I bought the d:vote™ 4099. It arrived days before the debut. I barely could find time to test it, so I pretty much gave it the first good tryout in the theater.

I was amazed.

That was the sound of my guitar coming through the speakers alright. And I could move around! I was so happy that I went to the sound cabin with the technicians, did the sound check there and conducted the music rehearsal from the audience, while playing. I could hear the sound that made me fall in love with the instrument, when I picked it up in the store, but this time, amplified, reaching every point of the audience, with the top quality I had never heard before.

The show debuted in 2014. It was called "Consonantes" ("Consonants"), and it went on to be a huge success for us Brazilian flamencos from the Del Puerto Company (we are from Porto Alegre, in the far south of the country). It is my greatest artistic achievement up until now. I will always remember the first time I could hear the beautiful, profound sound of my guitar through the empty audience. Thank you DPA!

A DPA holiday poem

by Matt Thomas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
So I hung a DPA 4006A by the chimney with care,
In hopes of recording St Nicholas there.
 
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma had made her famous fruitcake
So fruity and rich, like only a mother could make.
 
Beneath my Decca tree (which I’d covered in lights)
I glanced at my DAW and saw an unforeseen sight.
I looked at the meters and was surprised when I saw
They were registering noise above the noise floor.
 
The omnidirectional’s sensitivity was such,
That through my headphones I heard a tiny “crunch, crunch”.
Could it be the diaphragm was so lively and quick
It had captured the allusive sound of St Nick?
 
The sound was of crunching of snow on the roof!
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof!
Oh Dasher! Oh Dancer! Oh Prancer and Vixen!
Oh Comet! Oh Cupid! Oh Donner and Blitzen!
 
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
I goose necked up to the roof, expecting to see
A man dressed in red, surprised to see me.
 
But no magic reindeer were on top of my wall.
No, all that was there was nothing at all!
Then what had I heard? I became vexed,
The strange sound had left me confused and perplexed.
 
I set up my DPA 4017B
With a Modular Active Boom and a transparent pre.
Then with a directional mic that was second to none,
I traced that strange sound to whence it had come.
 
Believe me dear reader, never a truer word spake,
I swear it lead me straight to our Christmas cake!
And nibbling away, on the cake oh so hearty,
Was the source of the sound, the guilty party.
 
‘Twas the night before Christmas, but as it turned, in this house,
There WAS a creature stirring, there was one hungry mouse.

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