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Keaton Henson takes DPA mics to Meltdown festival

The reclusive singer-songwriter's FOH engineer, FOH engineer, Mark Portlock, deployed the d:facto vocal mic for a rare live performance.

British folk musician, songwriter, poet and illustrator Keaton Henson made use of DPA microphones for his performance at James Lavelle’s Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre, London, on 16 June.

Along with his FOH engineer, Mark Portlock, Henson – an enigmatic figure who rarely performs live owing to his debilitating stage fright – decided against playing any entrance music for his appearance at the festival, creating a still, empty backdrop for his delicate vocals – something Portlock says meant he initially struggled to find a microphone that would provide “enough clarity to reproduce all the highs, lows, sensitivity and detail” in the singer’s voice. He eventually chose DPA Microphones’ d:facto vocal mic.

“Keaton need[ed] a live mic that gives consistent frequency response no matter whether he sings right into the mic or not. The d:facto’s frequency response is superb on- and off-axis, and you can hear every word and note, soft or loud, that Keaton sings,” says Portlock (pictured right). “Keaton loves singing with this mic.”

“We also used DPA mics on the strings,” he adds, “the d:vote 4099s on viola and violin and the [d :dicate] 4011A and [d :vote] 4099 double micing the all-important cello close…

“For this gig, Keaton played the piano, which I miced up with a stereo pair of 4011As and 4015As for ambient mics. It was up there with the most natural piano sound I’ve ever heard.”

Henson’s latest album, Romantic Works, is available to buy on CD and download now.