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February 2014

“If I’m a singer and I’m practicing eight hours a day, don’t tell me that two hundred dollars more for a much better microphone means anything” — Christian Poulsen, DPA Microphones

experience, are also used to that: I don’t need to train my voice to be loud and clear, like in theatre. I know there’s a microphone there.” DPA microphones have been

used by most of Denmark’s ‘Nordic Noir’ drama series. The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen use exclusively DPA mics. Nymand helped develop the lavalier mic which has been a mainstay for Danish TV drama. “We developed a specific

microphone for Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s Taxi (Taxa) and The Flying Squad (Rejseholdet) that is pre-equalised for the speech clarity and has a presence boost.” “I walked around to see what

all the recording engineers did when they placed the microphones on the chest or on the coat — of course, they all boosted the high frequencies to compensate. So we made different capsules to put on top of the microphones to compensate for that loss, so you could already have it acoustically from the mic.” The goal of DPA’s striving for

wider dynamic range and better frequency response isn’t just about producing better tech. It’s ultimately about searching for truth — the truth of a recording, or a scene, or a moment. “One of the first comments I got

after developing our 4017 Shotgun mic illustrates this,” says Nymand, “There was a very intimate scene of two people leaving each other, and the recording engineer told me afterwards he started crying during it, just from hearing the way the actor opened his mouth, without saying a word.” What’s next for DPA? Reliance on camera-mounted mics is often seen as the hallmark of the amateur, but it’s precisely this dearth of quality onboard mics that DPA aims to fill. “The video quality on even the

cheaper video cameras and good DSLR is so high, that they deserve good sound. And sound is difficult,” says CEO Poulsen. “We are working on some extremely interesting patented technologies where we are combining different things, with more microphone capsules in one microphone. We aim to have something in the next 12 months — both an interview type microphone and a camera mic.”

Cost vs quality: the eternal struggle Unfortunately, pushing the envelope at the top end also means pushing the price point. It’s a harsh reality of the business that in decision- making, cost often wins over

quality. Does Poulsen ever feel like he is fighting a losing battle? “I don’t question our price point, and I don’t question our quality. If you go to some of our important clients, if you go to Her Majesty’s Theatre in

London, and talk to the engineer who does Phantom Of The Opera, one of the most profitable piece of entertainment ever, he says “We could not do Phantom of the Opera in this theatre without DPA microphones.”

TVBEurope 33 The Business Case “If I’m a singer and I’m

practicing eight hours a day, don’t tell me that two hundred dollars more for a much better microphone means anything. It shouldn’t be an issue.” Ultimately, it’s the recordings

themselves that will argue the case louder than any pitch Poulsen could make. The industry is used to seeing crowds clustered around the latest 4K cameras. Will this year see the same for microphones too?

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