Front of house engineer Kenny Kaiser and monitor engineer Marty Beath added the recently introduced DPA 4055 kick drum microphone to the toolkit deployed in support of The Killers’ current “The Killing the Mirage” concert tour, joined by other DPA models that include 4099 CORE instrument mics, 4011 cardioid condensers and d:facto 4018 vocal mics.
Before solidifying their kick drum mic choice, Kaiser and Beath tested out three configurations. “We had a plate mic, a ribbon mic and then the new DPA,” explains Beath, “and we were swapping between them, listening to what we could get out of each combination. Because the DPA is linear, you have to shape it, but that’s great because that’s what you want — to have control and not be dictated by the voicing of the mic. So, I think it’s fantastic for this drum, but it will also translate across multiple drum kits.
“It can handle the SPL, no problem whatsoever, and we’ve pretty much maintained our normal placement. We’ll probably experiment as we go along and get more comfortable with it, but so far, it’s mind-blowing.” Kaiser also notes that the mic’s voicing is one of the key standouts for the pair. “The overall design of this [mic] answers that famous line of optimize or compromise,” Kaiser explains. “The compromise for us is we have a very loud stage, so being able to design everything around that is huge.”
On the rest of the drum kit, the pair utilizes 4099 CORE instrument mics for toms and under the cymbals along with 4011 cardioid condensers on snare top and bottom as well as on the hi-hat. “I’ve used the DPA CORE technology on lots of other acts and thought that it would be the greatest solution for [The Killers’] kit because it is so small,” Beath says. “We try to under-mic the cymbals because of the spill from the wedges, so we get a lot more isolation…and can control the stereo image more.”
The d:facto 4018 are deployed for backing vocals. Working front of house, Kaiser’s main concern was loudness and trying to manage volume. “I’m typically about 75 feet off from front of house,” he explains, “and I’m at 96 dB(A) with the PA off with just the wedges — it’s loud,” adding, “it’s simple to prove the rejection from a d:facto. You turn it 90 degrees, 180 degrees, and there’s nothing. You scream into the back and there’s nothing. It’s tightened everything up, and there’s no bleed — it’s amazing.”
The Killers closed out the U.S. leg of the tour in October 12 and is now making stops throughout South America, New Zealand and Australia.