DPA’s new d:facto™ Linear Vocal Microphone, a.k.a. d:facto™ VL, which was officially launched at Prolight + Sound 2016, has already made its on-stage debut with Tool, Jess Glynne and Fun Lovin’ Criminals.
Front of House engineer Alan ‘Big Nobby’ Hopkinson works with all three acts and was one of the first live sound professionals to try out the new VL capsule for d:facto™, which was recommended by John Tinline, director of PA hire company, Encore. Hopkinson immediately put it to use on Tool’s recent tour dates in the USA, where it solved the problem of bleed from the drums interfering with the vocal feed.
“Tool’s singer, Maynard James Keenan, likes to stand upstage next to the drum kit,” Nobby explains. “Danny Carey (Tool’s drummer) is a very big man and he hits his kit very hard. As a result, I was getting more snare in the vocal channel than vocal. When we switched to the d:facto™ VL capsule, we were able to push a little more in dangerous waters. We did a month of arenas with Tool and the capsule gave me room to get more volume elsewhere.”
DPA’s d:facto™ VL capsule – already nicknamed ‘Very Loud’ by the live sound fraternity – has an extremely linear frequency response compared to the original d:facto™ Vocal Microphone, which has a 3 dB soft boost at 12 kHz. The new capsule has an isolation-optimized supercardioid polar pattern that is specifically designed to augment the human vocal range. As with the original d:facto™ Vocal Microphone, the d:facto™ Linear Vocal Mic combines the very best of cardioid and supercardioid directional characteristics. This ensures high separation and a complete focus on the sound source with minimum bleed.
“The VL capsule makes my job easier,” Nobby adds. “What do you want from a mic? You want to be able to turn it up, have it sound nice and not be unpredictable. That sounds simple, but I respect the research that goes into this and the people who build them.”
The success of the Tool gigs gave Nobby the confidence to use the new d:facto™ Linear Vocal Microphone with Fun Lovin’ Criminals in Europe and Jess Glynne on her worldwide tour dates. Nobby adds:
Jess chose the microphone herself. We went through an array of mics to find the one she liked best and she immediately went for the d:facto™, so we bought two. With the new VL capsule we’re finding that it’s a little less excitable and has a very nice smooth, mid/high mid, which is a positive for any vocal mic.
John Tinline from Encore PA is also impressed with the new d:facto™ Linear Vocal Microphone and has already invested in the new VL capsules, making Encore the first company in the UK to have them available for hire.
“For touring bands, the quality of the loudspeaker enclosures and the microphones are critical,” Tinline says. “We’ve addressed the speakers by stocking D&B, while for microphones we have chosen DPA. The d:facto™ Vocal Microphone has been part of our hire inventory since it was first released so it made sense to add the new d:facto™ VL capsules to our stock. They take the d:facto™ into completely new territory by solving the problems rock bands were having with crosstalk. Tool is a good example – they love the new capsule and that’s a band that likes to play loud.”
Nobby, who began working in live sound during the punk era, has had a long and illustrious FOH career. He has worked at the Astoria, The Marquee and the 100 Club in London and toured the world with artists and bands such as System of a Down, Joan Armatrading, Heather Nova, 30 Seconds to Mars and Rage Against the Machine.
“When I first started out, money was so tight that you had to make sure everything was working properly,” he says, “You also had to make sure it was very loud. PA technology in those days wasn’t new but it was still a bit Neanderthal.
Now we have much better equipment and many more choices. I’m an independent operator and always have been so I’ve never really had to tow a company line. This means I have the freedom to go with what works best.
DPA’s d:facto™ range (including the d:facto™ VL) is entirely modular, which means capsules can be swapped with any other d:facto™ capsule to suit different recording or performance requirements. Also, using DPA’s flexible adapter system, the microphone can be transformed from a wired version with a handle to a handheld wireless microphone capable of seamless integration with all leading wireless solutions such as Sennheiser, Shure, Sony, Wisycom, Lectrosonics and Line6.