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DPA Microphones Capture Classical Pianist Helena Basilova

Producer Brendon Heinst utilizes 5006A surround kit with five factory-matched 4006A microphones to record "A Fearful Fairy Tale" on the TRPTK label.
Helena Basilova

Producer and engineer Brendon Heinst recently captured the hallmark sound of Dutch/Russian classical pianist Helena Basilova with a 5006A surround kit from DPA Microphones.

Fearing the microphones he already owned were too ‘bright’ for the task, Heinst contacted DPA’s Benelux distributor, Amptec, who recommended the 5006A surround kit with five 4006A omnidirectional microphones, which are carefully factory-matched within ±0.5 dB. Heinst positioned these next to the piano in the style of a traditional Decca Tree, but with different dimensions based on a variant of the Tree that he had perfected while studying for a Masters in Audio Engineering at Utrecht School of Arts & Technology.

“My experience of using the 4006As on this recording was so good that I was pretty much sold from there,” Heinst says. “The sound is very transparent and neutral, yet it’s surprisingly musical as well. There’s a certain natural relaxedness to them compared to the microphones I was previously using, and this wasn’t only obvious to an audio engineer. Basically, every musician we’ve recorded since has noticed the difference between my old microphones and the DPAs, and vote in favor of the DPAs.”

Based in Utrecht, Brendon Heinst is a co-founder of TRPTK, a production company with its own recording, mixing and mastering studio and record label. Established in 2014, the company is now operated by Heinst, Maya Fridman (who is also an artist on the label) and Ben van Leliveld.

“We believe that every artist deserves to convey their music in the best possible way and therefore we make no compromises when it comes to the quality of the equipment in our studio or our production methods,” Heinst says. “We don’t differentiate in genres, only in quality, although these days I work mainly in the field of acoustic music – from early music to contemporary classical, as well as a little bit of jazz here and there.”

Ralph Rousseau

Since investing in a 5006A surround kit for the Helena Basilova recordings, Brendon Heinst has used it for a number of other projects including a recording of Telemann’s long-lost “12 Fantasias for Viola da Gamba” featuring Dutch viola da gamba player, Ralph Rousseau.

“We recorded in an 800-year-old church here in Utrecht and went absolutely overboard with high-end equipment, including the DPA microphones,” he explains. “We also occasionally use DPA 4015A wide cardioid and 4011A cardioid microphones as spot mics because they blend perfectly with our 4006As, making the auditive gap between the close mics and the main mics almost non-existent.”

The recordings Heinst made of Helena Basilova are now available as an album entitled A Fearful Fairy Tale on the TRPTK label, along with many other high-quality recordings including Ralph Rousseau’s “12 Fantasias for Viola da Gamba.”

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