Sound Mixer for popular reality show on History network uses company’s d:screet™ 4063 Miniature Microphones.
Rado Stefanov, sound mixer for Counting Cars, a spin-off of the popular Pawn Stars program, has taken a unique approach to reality show recording and sound mixing. Instead of using a traditional boom technique, he relies on DPA Microphones’ d:screet™ 4063 Omnidirectional Miniature Microphones for both talent and ambient sound recording. Airing on the History network, Counting Cars chronicles the daily activities of Danny “The Count” Koker and his team at Count’s Kustoms, a car and motorcycle restoration and customization company in Las Vegas.

The show is typically shot in some pretty unique locations, such as the middle of the Nevada desert, where Danny test drives vehicles, or in his paint shop, where the staff spray paints them, making sound mixing pretty challenging. The traditional booming applications just wouldn’t suffice for this production as the mics would end up caked with paint or the action van would be unable to keep up with the speed of the vehicles. Stefanov’s “no booming” approach to mixing, which consists of the DPA d:screet™ 4063s and Zaxcom wireless transmitters and recorders, has proven to be the ultimate solution.
The DPA miniatures sound exactly like boom mics with the added advantage that I can plant them directly on the talent or vehicles’ engines and interiors,” says Stefanov. “This is especially helpful during the test drive scenes as I can not only record the dialogue of the driver and passenger, but also the hum and roar of the muscle cars or motorcycles that are on set. The main advantage of the DPA mics is that they have a high SPL, which means they can handle extremely loud sound sources and won’t distort when we go from very low dialogue to very noisy car and bike sounds.”

Due to Stefanov’s miking style, digital wireless capabilities are also essential to this production. “A lot of other mics have connection problems with my Zaxcom digital wireless system, but not the DPA d:screet™ Mics,” he adds. “DPA has an adapter that fits perfectly with my existing setup, so I don’t have to deal with rewiring the mics all the time, which allows me to focus all my attention on creating the perfect mix. It also helps the directors and camera crew, because I’m situated off the set and out of the way of their shot. I can’t think of a better way to record this show than with the DPA d:screet™ Mics.”
Since Counting Cars has such a distinct theme, the show also features some rather interesting sets. In one scene, the team might be in the shop building, buffing and painting the cars while in another, you may find Koker racing down the Nevada desert in the middle of the summer.

“Perhaps the best thing about the DPA mics is their ability to withstand the extreme conditions of our set,” continues Stefanov. “Not only do these mics continue to hold up to the heat, but they are the only mics that can be opened and cleaned to remove the paint and dust particles, from the desert, high-velocity sprayers and metal fabrication. This is especially ideal for the unique conditions of this show as it ensures the longevity of the life of my microphones.”

Currently in production for the next season, Counting Cars is produced by Leftfield Productions for ITV Studios, the production arm of ITV, plc, a Britain-based broadcaster. The show got its start after Koker, star of the show and owner of Count’s Kustoms, appeared on several episodes of Pawn Stars. The show’s supporting cast of characters/employees includes Kevin Mack, Koker’s best friend and right-hand man; “Horny Mike,” the shop’s airbrush artist with a knack for putting horns on everything; and Big Ryan, Koker’s nearly seven-foot tall project scout who is not to be confused with painter Ryan Evans; among others.


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