The annual TED Conference is heard by thousands of people through live audiences, simulcasts, webcasts and recordings, and millions more through online video engines.
To provide the ultimate in sound quality for presenters and performers at TED2014, technical team from McCune Audio/Video, the symposium’s sound services company, relies on DPA Microphones’ classic 4088 Directional Headset Microphones and d:screet 4060 Omnidirectional Microphone.
TED2014 marks the second time that DPA Microphones is part of the audio setup for the conference. The McCune Audio team used the same selection of mics at last year’s event because of the high-quality audio of both mics and comfortable fit and feel of the 4088, each requests from production crew workers and presenters, respectively.
“For years, the post-production crew was trying to get us to reduce the amount of room acoustics we were hearing in the recordings,” says Nick Malgieri, McCune’s Head of Audio for the TED Conference. “Because of the live PA system in the room, there was a slap-back echo always happening in the voice. We really used some pretty extreme processing paths with our previous mics just to try to help us get ahead of the issues.
“Once we switched to DPA 4088s, the added isolation let us really scale back on the processing. The sound was so much better that the post-production crew asked us to deploy ambient mics to capture the energy of the venue. That led us to the d:screet 4060s, which we use to pick up a lot of the stage noise from the props and scenery on set, such as chalkboards during presentations, a fire organ for a pyrophone performance or a target being hit by an archer.”
The versatility of the DPA mics also plays an important role in the audio support at the TED Conference, which hosts 12 90-minute shows over the course of five days. Throughout each of these individual productions, Malgieri and his crew need to mic as many as 10 separate presenters speaking for up to 18-minute segments each. In these instances, the audio team uses the 4088s. The shows also incorporate other types of presentations, such as musical, theatrical or dance performances, or magical acts, which require the 4060s.
“The technology setup for this show is very important because of the high turnover and the way the show is actually produced,” explains Malgieri. “We are doing three shows a day, with only an hour or so to reset between them, so we need high-end gear that can keep up with the constant demand and rigorous use.”
As one of DPA’s most popular products, the 4088 is ideal for a variety of performing and vocal presentations. It is designed for acoustically demanding live performance environments, where background noise and feedback is a concern, and boasts the same open and natural sound qualities of the company’s other legendary microphones.
Originally designed for use with wireless systems in theater, television and close-miked instrument applications, the d:screet 4060 capsule is highly unobtrusive. Because of its small size, this tiny condenser mic exhibits an exceedingly accurate omnidirectional pattern, and therefore does not need to be aimed directly at the sound source to achieve quality pickup.
As the technical specialists of record for the TED Conference since it began, McCune Audio/Video provides live sound, projection and video production services for the event. Over the course of its 82-year history, McCune has been involved with some of the nation’s top events, including the final Beatles concert – held at Candlestick Park, the Monterey Pop Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Playboy Jazz Festival. They have also supported a variety of speeches for every sitting U.S. President since John F. Kennedy.