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The Trondheim Soloists Deliver High-Quality, Amplified Sound with DPA Microphones

A switch to DPA d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones has allowed the orchestra to bring out the natural sound of its acoustic instruments on the live stage

OSLO, NORWAY, APRIL 12, 2013The Trondheim Soloists, one of the most exciting classical ensembles currently performing on the international stage, has invested in 20 DPA d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones to ensure that its amplified sound reaches the highest level of quality possible. The microphones were supplied by DPA’s Norwegian distributor, Lyd-Systemer AS.

“Quality is key to everything we do, and we never reduce our standards with regard to our musical performance,” says Steinar Larsen, managing director of the orchestra. “Over the last five years, we have applied the same principle to our live performances and have made a significant investment in both time and money to ensure that our amplified sound is of an equally high standard. Our decision to buy DPA d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones is an extremely important part of this process.”

Established in 1988 by Norwegian violinist Bjarne Fiskum, the Trondheim Soloists began as an ensemble for training young string players and rapidly earned an international reputation for its energy and warmth. Under artistic director Øyvind Gimse, the ensemble has achieved five Grammy Award® nominations in three years. It has also undertaken major collaborations with artists such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Leif Ove Andsnes, Jon Lord, Ian Hunter and Antony & the Johnsons.During the last five years, the Trondheim Soloists has been working with producer Asle Karstad in order to improve the quality of its amplified sound during live performances.

“Pop and rock bands always tour with a specific live sound engineer and I saw no reason why we shouldn’t do the same,” Larsen explains. “Asle has an excellent reputation and came highly recommended, so Øyvind and I approached him and asked if he would become our producer for all amplified concerts.”

Karstad felt that to capture the true sound of the Trondheim Soloists on stage, he needed to get the microphones much closer to the instruments than would normally be the case in a recording setup. The Soloists were using 20 DPA 4061 Miniature omnidirectional Microphones for their live amplification, but, after experimenting with the sound, Karstad decided to switch to DPA d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones. These new mics reject unwanted noise, due to their supercardioid characteristics, while still capturing the true voice of the acoustic instruments.

“During our experiments we noted that, when amplified, resonating instruments tend to show ‘runaway’ behaviour in the mid and lower frequencies,” explains Karstad. “To control this behavior, we make acoustic ‘fingerprints’ of the instruments and their groups, and apply that information when amplifying. By doing this, we can get very close to a natural sound.”

Measuring and tuning the sound system is also an integral part of Karstad’s approach. He tunes the system for every venue and concert to ensure a flat frequency response. Initially, Karstad wanted to stick with the DPA 4061 Miniature Microphones, rather than switch to the DPA d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones, which he felt were too sensitive to changes in position and direction and because of their cardioid characteristics.

“To me, the DPA 4061 Miniature Microphones give a more even timber from an ensemble,” he says. “However, when the soloists were performing with louder rock and pop bands, we needed the d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones to provide an increased isolation and gain before feedback. As we are constantly getting better at controlling mic positions - and because we are playing more and more concerts with pop and rock acts where we need the isolation from other sound sources - we decided to invest in the d;vote 4099s. I have to say that I am very happy with this decision as the microphones are performing flawlessly.”

The Trondheim Soloists usually play a classical repertoire, but they also collaborate with a wide variety of artists in both live and studio settings.

“These collaborations include working with Morten Lindberg, head of record label 2L,” adds Larsen. “Morten’s recordings have received 14 Grammy Award® nominations, six of which involved the Trondheim Soloists. We believe that playing with the best artists from many different genres will help us develop the quality of the orchestra. We are also very experienced in the studio, and our most profiled recording projects to date are two releases on Deutsche Grammophon with Anne-Sophie Mutter – Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Bach’s Violin Concertos.”

ABOUT DPA:

DPA Microphones A/S is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphones and microphone solutions for professional applications in studio, broadcast, theatre, video/film and sound reinforcement environments. All DPA microphones and components are manufactured at the company’s purpose-built factory in Denmark.

For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com.