Company’s ground-breaking d:fine™ In-Ear Broadcast Headset Microphones allowed 14 politicians and a presenter to hear and be heard on live television
A live televised debate ahead of recent national elections in the Netherlands saw 14 of the country’s top politicians wearing d:fine™ In-Ear Broadcast Headset Microphones in order to perfectly capture and broadcast every word spoken. Targeted at broadcast hosts and guests who use in-ear monitors to communicate with their producers backstage or to hear foldback from people interviewed outside the studio, d:fine™ In-Ear Broadcast Headset Microphones combine the exceptional sound quality of a DPA microphone with a state-of-the-art in-ear monitoring solution.

For this event, they were the prefect choice because all the politicians on stage needed to be able to hear each other speak, while presenter and host Rob Trip needed an in-ear solution to listen to and communicate with producers backstage.

Against a backdrop of populism, nationalism and anti-European sentiment, this year’s Dutch elections were seen by many as an indicator of how votes might be cast in the forthcoming elections in France and Germany. The day before the election, an estimated two-thirds of Dutch voters were still undecided and the televised debate was therefore considered vital by all parties as they tried to secure votes.
DPA’s d:fine™ In-Ear Broadcast Headset Microphones were chosen by Dutch news channel NOS, which broadcasted the debate to an audience of over two million people. NOS and United, the company responsible for the broadcast audio mix, took advice from long-time DPA user Hendrik de Winter of Winter Audio Service. He recommended the d:fine™ and the microphones were duly sourced from live broadcast specialists Ampco Flashlight Rental. A total of 16 headsets were supplied – one for each of the 14 politicians, one for Trip and one spare. Among the politicians taking part were Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party, Jesse Klaver of Groen Links (the Green Party), Alexander Pechtold of D66 (Left of Centre Liberal Democrats) and Sybrand van Haesma Buma of CDA (Christian Democrats).

Rogier van Ganzewinkel, Ampco Flashlight’s Project Manager, says, “The debates took place in the central hall of the Dutch Parliament building in the Hague. This is a venue with notoriously poor acoustics, so on-stage monitors were not an option. We chose d:fine™ In-Ear Broadcast Headset Microphones for two reasons – sound quality and aesthetics. DPA headset microphones are often used on Dutch television, so we had no doubts about their sound quality. In terms of aesthetics, the headsets worked well because they were so small and discreet, plus they fit any head size and can be used by people wearing glasses and earrings.

Van Ganzewinkel adds that everyone was impressed by the quality of the in-ear monitor, which is an integral part of the in-ear headset’s design. By combining two parallel systems, DPA has successfully eliminated the need for separate in-ear monitors and headset microphones. This solves the irritating problem broadcast studio hosts and guests face when they have two sets of components and wires to deal with. It also offers a solution that is simple to fit, comfortable to wear and unobtrusive for both the host and the viewer.

“The in-ear headsets worked perfectly and there were no sound issues,” says Van Ganzewinkel. “The presenter and the politicians were very pleased because they could hear all the off-stage directions and talkback. They also commented on how comfortable the headsets were and how quick and easy they were to fit.”

The Dutch elections took place on March 15 and when all votes were counted Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right, liberal VVD party once again took charge after winning 33 seats and becoming the largest party in the Netherlands’ 150-seat Parliament. The pre-election live debate is available here.


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