Fiorella Mannoia, one of Italy’s most famous female singer and songwriter, has switched to DPA Microphones‘ d:facto vocal microphone for all her live performances after being introduced to the microphone by sound engineer Marco Dal Lago.
Dal Lago, who has worked with Mannoia for more than eight years, is respected in the Italian music industry and has worked with numerous famous singers and bands including Üstmamò, Litfiba, Negrita, 883, Jovanotti, Francesco Renga, Gianna Nannini, Lucio Dalla and Elisa.
As his reputation rests on his ability to deliver a great live sound, he wasn’t prepared to recommend DPA’s d:facto vocal microphone until he had thoroughly tested it.
“I was aware of DPA’s reputation for creating high quality microphones because I’ve been using their products for years,” he explains.
“But the d:facto vocal microphone was new to me and before I gave it to Mannoia I wanted to be sure it was right for both the venues we were playing and for her voice.”
To confirm this, he borrowed a demo unit from DPA’s Italian distributor M. Casale Bauer and ran some tests with stage engineer Stevan Martinovic.
“We positioned the d:facto in the place where Mannoia would normally stand and put another (dynamic cardioid) microphone next to it. We set both mics with similar gain and volume and asked the band to play without vocals so that we could hear the results. Even though the d:facto is a condenser microphone, the sound it picked up from the stage was less than half that gathered by the other microphone. I have to say that really impressed me – I never thought it would deliver such a great result.”
Dal Lago was also impressed by the clarity the d:facto delivered over a wide dynamic range.
“Mannoia has a wonderfully warm voice that is rich in the low frequency range,” he explains.
“The d:facto vocal microphone delivers a very ‘analogue’ sound, with hardly any proximity effect, which is perfect for capturing the full intensity of her voice. What’s more, its clean bass response and ability to deal with low frequencies ensures that her lyrics are delivered with real clarity and intelligibility. This is very important as Mannoia’s lyrics are a fundamental part of her songs.”
Mannoia first tried the d:facto during a series of concerts at the Auditorium della Musica in Rome, which were held in memory of the superstar singer and composer Lucio Dalla who died in 2012.
“She was very comfortable with it and really liked the way it enhanced every detail of her voice,” Dal Lago says. “It allowed her to sing with great expression and her voice sounded really natural because there was no colouration – all you got was the sound of a fantastic voice. She liked it so much that she now won’t use anything else – in fact she is even using it for studio work because it delivers such a great sound.”
Dal Lago and Mannoia have two d:facto capsules in their permanent collection – one with a d:facto adapter for Sennheiser wireless systems and the other with a d:facto adapter for Shure. They have used them in many different venues and spaces around the world, from theatres to open air festivals, and continue to be impressed by the results.
“What I really like about the d:facto is how little EQ I need to add when I mix,” Dal Lago adds.
“It’s a tiny amount in comparison to other microphones, and that makes my job so much easier to do. I’m also a big fan of other DPA microphones, in particular the d:vote 4099 instrument microphones, which I have been using for many years on all kinds of instruments, especially strings and drums. They have a wonderfully neutral sound and are very robust and reliable. I like the way you can easily attach them to just about any instrument without having to worry about them slipping or doing the instrument any harm.”
Dal Lago and Mannoia are currently finishing an extensive tour that began in November 2014 and culminates in the Arena di Verona in September 2015. Although she has been creating music for more than 40 years, Mannoia still undertakes between 60 and 80 performances a year and her concerts are always sold out.