Las Vegas Academy Of The Arts Tells A Popular Love Story With DPA Microphones
DPA Microphones’ d:screet 4071 Omnidirectional Miniature Microphone recently played a big role during the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts (LVA) production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, providing both leads with a comfortable audio solution. During the three-week run of the musical, students learned how to use the company’s high-end miniature microphone, exposing the theatre department to a behind-the-scenes, first-hand lesson in the simplicity of DPA’s products.
At LVA, a publicly funded magnet arts school, the curriculum is designed to teach students the focused skills of their chosen major as well as life skills such as time management and leadership, along with academics. An average academic year for the theatre program includes three or four main stage and two black-box productions, run nearly entirely by the students. Adjunct faculty member Eric McFall, LVA’s volunteer resident sound designer, has been an advisor of the theatre program since 2006. When he was presented with the chance to use DPA’s d:screet 4071 on the production of Aida, McFall jumped at the chance to expose the students to the benefits of using DPA mics.
“As an educational institution, we try to put professional products in the hands of the students as much as possible,” said McFall. “So, when the opportunity came along to introduce the students to DPA’s high-end microphones, I knew I had to take it. We take great pride in the fact that we challenge our students to perform at a level well beyond what they thought they could ever accomplish; we treat them like the professionals they will become. Owing to this mindset, all technical and performance operations for Aida were controlled completely by the students. The feedback they had from using the miniatures was extremely positive. DPA is known for being the best in the business, and the d:screet 4071 has proven that it is no exception.”
Small enough to be easily hidden without hindering the audio of a performance, DPA’s d:screet Miniature Microphones are a great fit for young professionals and industry veterans who enjoy working with mics that produce a crisp sound and maintain a linear dynamic range. “Right out of the gate, it was clear to my lead engineer, who has never had the opportunity to work with DPA before, that we wouldn’t need to be nearly as aggressive on the EQ as we typically are,” added McFall. “With the mics positioned so close to the performer’s mouth, we often run into issues with a nonlinear response. The 4071s, however, didn’t have any feedback problems and allowed us to find an EQ that sounded equally good at the high end as it did at the low end.”
In addition to the technical improvements noted by the lead engineer and students working behind-the-scenes, the aesthetic differences were also noticeable. “The performances are mostly funded by ticket sales, so we’re used to working with lower budget mics,” continued McFall. “I was impressed by the construction of the 4071’s — they are very well built and the cables are very easy to hide in the costumes.”
McFall began his career in the live audio industry doing corporate events and installation work before he later moved to the touring circuit, working with NETworks Presentations on national tours of Cabaret and Rent. In 2004, McFall took a position with Cirque du Soleil’s 'O' at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where he currently serves as a systems engineer when he’s not volunteering at LVA.
LVA’s theatre season for the 2015/16 school year includes Rent, Footloose, and Crimes of the Heart.
Photos: Lani Baroody
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