Natalie Merchant’s long-time audio engineer, George Cowan, utilizes DPA Microphones d:facto vocal microphones both on tour and in the studio.
Cowan also deploys a combination of the company’s d:vote 4099 instrument microphones for a live string quartet and d:dicate 4011A cardioid and 4006A omnidirectional microphones for the musician’s recent recording projects.
Cowan was first introduced to DPA Microphones while engineering at Bearsville Studios near Woodstock, NY. It was there, in 1989, that he met Merchant and the two have been working together ever since. For Merchant’s current tour, the singer added a new element, a string quartet, which requires proper amplification. Cowan turned to DPA to find a low-profile miking solution.
“I have mixed for a variety of live audiences, from stadiums to small clubs, so I know the importance of having a good microphone,” he says. “Based off my experience and the company’s reputation, I knew that DPA would be the best solution for close-miking the quartet as the d:vote mics allowed us to get an isolated sound on the string instruments, which can be difficult to do with other brands.
“The d:votes solved every problem we had and are great microphones for live music because they just sound clearer. We prefer a subtle attachment mic, and its unobtrusive design allows us to eliminate clutter from the stage.”
In addition to the 2014 summer tour, Merchant, Cowan and co-engineer Eli Walker were busy working on the 20th anniversary re-recording of the singer-songwriter’s hit album, Tigerlily which features new arrangements and sensibilities.