What do professionals working within the theater and /or live performance think about miniature microphones?
A Q&A session with Jim van Bergen, Sound Designer, Production Sound Engineer, Mixer
1. What qualities does a mic need to have in order to function well in your daily work?
A mic must sound good, be consistent and be durable. From DPA, I'm expecting absolute sonic neutrality and consistency in durable manufacturing from the products, so I can use them on live productions where failure is not an option.
2. What is the environment like during a performance?
It’s constantly changing! When touring, you go from cold to hot environments, from entirely dry to total humidity in a few hours. In addition, even when working on the same studio or theater stage daily, the mic may see similar response when it sits in a dry lock-up until going on to a sweaty actor for several hours. We work very quickly, on shows that need absolute top quality and reliability.
3. What is important to you when you are choosing a mic for your production?
When I am choosing a mic to work with, I need the sound to be accurate and consistent and the products to be both durable and flexible. More and more shows are using headsets
(or 'boom' mics with a lavalier
on the end of small wire, near the mouth) and those rigs require even more customization to fit an actor's head, be colored to match their skin tone, and take some serious punishment. Capsule design and sonic signature is tantamount, but after that it's about ergonomics of the housing, mounting and wire, paintability, replaceable caps (with customizable EQ curves) and the ability to last under some challenging environments, whether it's a really loud stage volume, difficult weather or rough handing by a musician or performer. At the end of the day, I need the sound to be perfect, no matter what! There are no second chances in live production.