David plays a variety of ethnic percussion, and his principle instrument is the cajón. Originally from Peru, this all-wooden box drum is played by slapping the front face with the hands, fingers, or sometimes various implements such as brushes, mallets, or sticks.
“For years I struggled to achieve a decent, faithful live sound on cajón with those popular models of directional dynamic microphones one encounters on-stage”, David explains. “Although directional dynamic microphones can be good, my sound always lacked articulation and ‘sparkle’; as greater mass and inertia of the moving parts in dynamic microphones (compared to condenser microphones) “smear” transient details.”
“Also, the sound character of my instruments would alter when placing directional dynamic microphones up very close, to minimise reverberant spill and feedback, because these microphones exhibit bass “tip-up” (known as the Proximity Effect). I’d spend ages during sound checks getting the engineer to adjust EQ settings for something sounding natural. On occasions, my cajón would end up sounding like I was playing a biscuit tin!”
After hearing good reports about DPA microphones, David contacted UK distributor Sound Network and was put in touch with Les Mommsen, Chief Technician at London’s Union Chapel – a venue that has won awards for the high quality of its sound reinforcement. Mommsen suggested a close mic solution that involved the use of two d:dicate™ 2011C Cardioid Condenser microphones
- one front and one rear – plus a d:screet™ 4061 Miniature Omnidirectional Condenser capsule
, which was used as a low level mixing option and positioned on the ‘sweet spot’ of the cajón’s rear sound porthole.