Once, Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Best New Musical, relies on DPA Microphones’ 4060 Omnidirectional Miniature Microphones to provide a transparent sound in a small, discreet capsule.
Based on the 2007 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, Once takes place on a set designed to give audience members the illusion that they are watching a true event unfold, making them feel as though they are right on stage with the actors. The natural sound DPA 4060s have aided in giving this impression.
With such specific requirements, Once Sound Designer Clive Goodwin turned to the DPA 4060 for its excellent sound and ability to provide an intimate sound in a large Broadway theater. To achieve this, Goodwin hides the DPA 4060 in the actors’ hair or beards, with the microphones in close proximity to the mouth, where possible. He also hides a 4060 in the concertina, and each of the ukuleles and cajons, as well as two in the accordion. By equipping each actor and musician with the small capsules, Goodwin ensures that audience members are visually unaware of any amplification happening behind the scenes.
“My main consideration in selecting a microphone was the sound quality,” says Goodwin. “To me, the DPA 4060s have a transparency and clarity that is missing in many other mics of this type. They have a sound that is closer to a large diaphragm microphone than a tiny body mic, and they accurately transmit the sounds of the instruments and the actors’ voices. This is important, because you have to start with a good source, such as the DPA 4060, because the audio just gets degraded through other gear after that.”
Supplied by Masque Sound, the new microphones are being used with Sennheiser wireless systems. Designed for use with wireless systems in theatre, television and instrument applications that use close microphones, DPA’s 4060 miniature microphones are exceedingly accurate and highly unobtrusive. Because of their small size, these tiny condensers exhibit a precise omnidirectional pattern and therefore do not need to be aimed directly at the sound source to achieve quality pickup.
As Once is staged in a 1,000-seat theater, Goodwin’s ultimate goal was to make every audience member feel close to the stage. With very few sets or props involved in the production, he knew that the best way to draw people into the performance was through sound.
“One of the factors we considered when selecting microphones for the production was making the actors’ voices sound natural,” he notes. “Our show isn’t as loud as you might expect it to be; I wanted it to sound as natural as possible. I also wanted to retain the sense of intimacy that we had in the small theatres where we did our workshops.
This way, the audience would be drawn into the production, rather than just listening to the music. Our aim was for them to listen closely and be drawn into the story that unfolds. And, it seems to be working, as people are leaving the theater with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes. I think the DPA 4060 plays a significant role in this.”