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differently to how I would normally mix a show,” explains Jones. “Typically doing any other show be it theatre, rock ’n’ roll, or whatever, you’re creating a sound that you want to hear – or the people with the money want to hear. What I try to do on this show, because we’re trying to be as natural as possible, is I don’t mix the sound I want to, I mix the sound I believe. I quite often find myself looking at the band and asking ‘do I believe that’s natural’? And if not I can adjust it. “For example, I’m not putting a lead instrument miles on top because that’s unnatural [sounding]. I’m sitting it slightly down from that so it’s still leading but it’s still very believable.”

The DPA Factor

Te three-person musical group plays more than 10 instruments throughout the play including period-accurate woodwinds (including recorders, flutes, and a duduk), a hand drum and bell tree, as well as a lute, gittern, psaltery harp, and vielle (“a sort of five-string violin”, says Jones). “In terms of how we’re mic’ing it, we’re going as subtle as possible,”

explains Jones. “Derrick managed to use mics in ways they’re not really designed to be used. It’s innovative and creates a great sound.” “My first though was to use DPAs,”

says Zieba, who, following the success of the touring run of Anne Boleyn, set about finding ways to use the Danish microphones on the show’s eclectic array of obscure and fragile medieval instruments.

Te uses range from simple

applications such as a DPA d:vote 4099G clipped to the side of the psaltery harp, or the woodwinds being mic’ed by 4060s clipped to the players (a trick Zieba borrowed from a saxophone quartet he saw years ago), to the more inventive. “On the bells, for example, we’ve just taped a DPA 4061 on either side hard up against the flat, which does sort of create a PZM effect, which is quite nice,” explains Jones. “Between the pair of them it creates a really nice mix and we’ve got a little bit of panning just to open it up a bit.” For the vielle, with its thin gut

strings, a normal 4099V and clip kept sliding around. Zieba explains his

workaround: “I’m using a 4099V clip with a 4061, and that works beautifully because it’s within two centimeters of the f-hole and it produces a really natural sound.” Another instrument that took some additional thought was Arngeir’s lute with its curved back. Zieba: “It was more worrying to me, but we got a tip from a musician before we arrived that we could possibly use a 4099 violin clip with the addition of Blu-tack… well we’re using ‘white’ tack.” Lastly, there is the hand drum.

Zieba: “We were thinking of ways of mic’ing that drum and we thought initially about wearing the mic, but that was in the way, so we created our own PZM with a DPA 4061 taped to the side of the organ.” “Te idea is to keep it as discreet as possible, and from the first visual impact, not to be aware that there are any mics. Te 4099s are obvious when you know what you’re looking for, the 4061s certainly aren’t, and the naturalistic sound is such that you aren’t really looking for mics. “I could have created the same sound with Schoeps and Neumanns,

but there would have been these big things sitting there. I think you just have to think a bit outside the box.” “I’m incredibly happy with the way the show turned out,” expresses Zieba after the final run of dates. “Looking back on it now I can’t think of any way I would have changed it.”

Sound engineer and tour technician Rob Jones

June 2014 23

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