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DPA Microphones Plays That Funky Music with the Al McKay Allstars

15 May 2015

Legendary guitarist Al McKay and his band, the Al McKay Allstars, are traveling the world, performing with a collection of DPA Microphones’ d:facto Vocal and d:vote 4099 Instrument Mics. Selected by the group’s longtime FOH Engineer, John A. Baker, the mics are the perfect audio complement to the funky style of music the group performs.

A five-time Grammy Award-winner, McKay is a guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as former lead guitarist for the American funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, McKay has writer and producer credits for the hit songs September and Boogie Wonderland.

As an ode to his earlier career, Al McKay Allstars is a 14-piece ensemble that performs a set dubbed “The Earth Wind & Fire Experience” at major jazz festivals throughout the world. Baker’s first interaction with DPA Microphones was with the company’s d:vote Instrument Mics, which are well-suited to the group’s jazz and funk music. Initially equipping the horn section, Baker has been upgrading the rest of the band with DPA mics. 

“DPA Microphones first came to my attention through our horn player Luis Gonzalez, who had previous experiences using the products,” said Baker. “DPA mics have a very good reputation in the industry, but, for me, hearing is believing. We first used the d:votes on the horn section during a sound check for a show in Japan and it was such a dynamic difference from what I was used to hearing. 

"I always thought the horn section sounded great, but something about the d:votes just made them sound even better. The d:vote has a twofold effect-first, it is sonically more dynamic, which was immediately noticeable by the entire band, and second, the mics’ wireless capabilities give the horn players a greater range of motion on stage. Now, they are able to further enhance the dancing and movements in a manner that has elevated their live performance, which was already awesome to begin with.”

As a result of the clarity and presence that he got from the d:vote 4099s for the horn section, Baker was curious to see how DPA’s d:facto Vocal Mics would work with the McKay Allstars’ dynamic singers. “DPA microphones are very intuitive, which is almost counter-intuitive for a seasoned engineer,” he explained. 

“After a little finessing, I was able to get the exact sound I wanted. I just removed the previous EQs and compression, and then it was a whole new ball game. They really sounded incredible. We basically just plug them in and let them do what they’re supposed to, and the results are incredible. There’s just something about the way that DPA’s microphones are constructed. We will definitely be using them for every stop.”


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