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DPA smooths Silk Road Ensemble setup

DPA’s wireless 4061 miniature microphones and 4088 headset help audio engineer Jody Elff keep The Silk Road Ensemble’s on-stage rotation running smoothly.

The Silk Road Ensemble, featuring the Grammy-winning classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma, combines Western instruments like the violin, viola, cello, and bass with such Eastern instruments as the shakuhachi, kamanchech, oud, pipa, and sheng. Yo-Yo Ma’s audio engineer Jody Elff has been the audio engineer for the Silk Road Ensemble tour for the past five years. The typical setup for the tour utilises a combination of up to 14 DPA 4061s and 4088s, all on wireless beltpacks, so that the musicians can appear on and off the stage easily for different pieces throughout the performance. “By using DPA miniature microphones on wireless systems, we are able to maintain very high quality micing that is also visually elegant,” Elff explained. “The mics simply attach to the instruments themselves and leave the stage when the piece is over. Additionally, the performance of the various DPA mics is exceptional. The frequency response and dynamic range are fantastic, and the mics reliably deliver an excellent picture of whatever instrument you have them attached to.” In addition to his work with the Silk Road Ensemble, Elff has worked as an audio engineer for artists such as Hall & Oates, Diana Krall, Smokey Robinson, and Laurie Anderson. “The first consideration, always, is to make the musicians feel absolutely comfortable on stage, so they feel free to perform as effortlessly as possible. If the musicians are comfortable, the audience gets a better show,” Elff explained. “The listening environment on stage in a typical performance could be chaotic due to the convergence of such a wide range of instrumental timbres. Carefully using the mics on each instrument to provide both on-stage reinforcement for the musicians via their stage monitors and selective reinforcement for the audience is literally essential to making this kind of contemporary ensemble possible.”