DPA 4099s Used for Kathryn Tickell’s Northumbrian Voices

Kathryn Tickell with the DPA 4099V mounted on her violin

Musician and composer Kathryn Tickell has been using DPA 4099 instrument clip mics, supplied by UK distributor Sound Network, for her Northumbrian Voices project, which has been touring the UK.

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Northumbrian Voices is based on interviews and recordings made with family members and shepherd musicians from whom Tickell learnt tunes and songs. Three generations of musicians perform in a reflection of strong communities, their music and collective stories. Three violins, which are being played alongside such traditional instrument as Northumbrian pipes and melodeon, are being miked with DPA 4099Vs, designed specifically for mounting on violas and violins.

Tickell first encountered the 4099s playing violin for Sting’s A Winter’s Night…Live from Durham Cathedral concerts. “Durham Cathedral is not the easiest place to amplify acoustic music,” she says. “However, even in this tricky situation, and with a group of 30-plus musicians, the DPAs performed flawlessly.

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“I was interested to see how the 4099s would perform in the real world settings of my touring schedule of arts centres, concert halls and the other venues in which I usually perform. It was immediately apparent that the 4099s allowed the natural sound of the violins to be reproduced authentically while not limiting the level that could be given back to us in the foldback monitors.”

FOH engineer Julien Batten reckoned that before this tour, he’d tried pretty much every available violin mic/pic-up system in his work on the folk and acoustic music scene, without finding a good solution.

“After hearing great things about DPA’s new range of mics from other engineers, we thought we’d give them a try,” he recounts. “Straight away it was evident that this mic was a cut above the previous clip-on that we’d been using. Instead of a ‘scooped’ sound, the 4099s not only have a smooth high end and powerful lows, but also a strong, well defined mid range which I have been missing from all the other mics I tried. Without reaching for the EQ I had a sound that was pretty much what I wanted. Also, due to the hyper-cardioid pattern, there’s lots of level before feedback, and I’m not re-amping all the rest of the stage sound through the violin channel.”

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All considered, Batten is confident in his new miking solution, feeling he no longer has to choose between high sound quality and high volume. “With the 4099s I can have both!” he says. “Now I just need to work out how to clip a set on Kathryn’s Northumbrian pipes and I’ll be happy…”

“Realism of tone and ease of use have always been my main requirements for any amplification solution,” concludes Tickell. “With the 4099s I feel we have the very strongest first link in the amplification chain. I use the extension lead so that I can move about on stage and the whole set up is simple and discreet. I also love the fact that it attaches securely to the instrument without the need for screws, fixings or Velcro.”

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