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Theatrical Sound Designer Kai Harada Feels at Home Using the Brand On-set for Venue’s Production of Marie, Dancing Still.
For the 5th Avenue Theatre, a venue that seats almost 2,200 patrons, having a fully stocked arsenal of microphones to rely on for its theatrical productions is of utmost importance. The Seattle-based theatre has found that dependability with DPA Microphones, which were recently deployed for the venue’s production of Marie, Dancing Still.
The 5th Avenue Theatre’s stock of DPA microphones includes 4061 Omnidirectional Miniature Mics, 4011 Cardioid Microphones, 4099 Instrument Microphones, and the newest addition, the brand’s 6061 Omnidirectional Subminiature Microphones. “We are happy to add DPA mics to our inventory whenever we can,” says Karen Katz, head sound engineer for The 5th Avenue Theatre. “Among high-end microphones, DPA is not only reasonably priced, but also provides the most clear and natural tone every time—they are beautiful sounding mics.”
For Marie, Dancing Still, a theatrical production based on dance and ballet, it was crucial for the sound design team at The 5th Avenue Theatre to implement a microphone solution that would stay in place. “The thin diameter of the 6061 lavaliers is impressive and made it easy for us to use a toupee clip to attach the microphone to the performer’s head, knowing it would remain secured throughout the show,” adds Katz. “With other mics, we often had cables falling out of the clips, but the low-profile 6061 mic provided us with ample flexibility and mobility for the dance-based production.”
When Marie, Dancing Still sound designer Kai Harada first arrived at 5th Avenue, he was pleased to find the venue’s inventory of DPA mics—having used a variety of the brand’s products over the years on various Broadway shows. “The theatre was already carrying a large complement of DPA 4061 lavalier microphones as part of its house inventory, but we needed to purchase additional microphones for the production of Marie,” he explains. “We chose the DPA 6061s knowing they would have a similar sonic signature to the existing 4061 stock, with the added advantage of being smaller in size. The sonic consistency between these mics is great; I might even say that I like the quality of the 6061s even better than the 4061s. We can use them all simultaneously and have a seamless, even sound throughout.”
Additionally, Harada enjoys using DPA’s instrument mic for acoustic bass applications—whether it’s for Marie, Dancing Still, or any other musical production. “I especially love the way the 4099 Instrument Mic sounds on acoustic bass, which really helped to create a lovely soundtrack for Marie, Dancing Still,” he adds, noting that the 4099 Instrument Mic was also used on violins throughout the production. “The DPA 4099 has become a staple of mine. When I need a close-mic solution for strings or percussion, it is my go-to microphone.”
For The 5th Avenue Theatre, a standout feature of DPA’s 6061 lavalier is its ability to be painted and disguised on the actors, whether in their hair or attached to a costume. “The paint took and held really well throughout the shows, and that’s a big deal. The worst thing you could do is put something on an actor and have the color transfer to the costume,” explains Katz. “We’ve used the DPA mics for many seasons of productions, and they continue to remain in impeccable shape. The durability and resilience of these mics is something that we really appreciate and enjoy.”
Katz (and The 5th Avenue Theatre staff) and Harada may come from opposite coasts, but one thing remains consistent—their mutual appreciation for DPA Microphones. The 5th Avenue team also plans to expand its inventory in the future as DPA releases new products, ensuring that the theatre will always have the latest and greatest DPA solutions in their arsenal of microphones.