For the past 15 years, Ken Travis has been impressing theatre audiences with his innovative sound designs for some of Broadway’s biggest productions. With a distinguished Broadway resume that includes Newsies, Jekyll & Hyde, Scandalous, A Christmas Story, Memphis, Barefoot in the Park and Steel Magnolias, Travis continues to rely on a selection of DPA Microphones to create a big, cinematic sound. With the flexibility to capture all of the grandeur of the great white way.
Travis was first introduced to DPA by an industry colleague in 2002. Since then, he’s used a variety of DPA mics – including the company’s d:screet™ 4061 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphones and d:fine™ 4066 Omnidirectional Headset Microphones.
When Travis was chosen to design the sound for the hugely successful Broadway hit, Aladdin, he once again turned to DPA. For Aladdin, Travis relies on DPA’s d:screet 4061 and recently switched to the new d:screet 6060 CORE Subminiature Microphone for the cast. In the orchestra pit, Travis turns to DPA’s d:dicate™ 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Microphones, d:dicate™ 4011 Cardioid Microphones and d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Mics.
“The human voice and head are very complicated so it’s great to have a microphone like the d:screet 4061 that works so well. We recently switched to the new d:screet 6060 CORE mic for our genie as it is smaller and seems to shed the sweat even better. I really hate seeing microphones on the actors, so I work with costume and hair to hide them as best I can.”
Prior to using the d:screet 4061’s on Aladdin, Travis worked on Rain, a musical by Michael John LaChuisa, where it rained the entire show. “I ordered ‘waterproof’ microphones from a company and placed them on the actors alongside a DPA d:screet 4061. We never ended up using the competition for the production since the DPAs held up so well in that extreme environment. I knew I could trust them moving forward. The d:screet 4061 has been great with regards to moisture and makeup.”
For orchestras, Travis relies on the d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphone to provide clear and natural sound. “When I design a new musical, I have my set selection of microphones for the orchestra,” Travis says. “On a recent production of Last Days of Summer, the band was onstage and the bleed between the wind section and the strings was problematic. I used a d:vote 4099 mic with the violin mount and it solved all issues and the musicians loved the way it sounded.”
Travis will continue to use DPA mics for his upcoming projects, including Ever After at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and Life After at The Old Globe in San Diego. Although the productions couldn’t be any more different, the versatility and flexibility of DPA’s mics will allow him to use them for both productions with the utmost confidence.