A recent live performance by trio Surreal Players and Mino Cinélu recorded in the Dolby Atmos spatial audio format at the Nowa Miodowa concert hall in Warsaw, Poland saw sound director Tadeusz Mieczkowski deploy a variety of microphones from DPA, including 4006A omnidirectional, 4011A cardioid, and 4015C wide cardioid models.
Mieczkowski started this immersive project by identifying the direction of the production, spending time exploring the acoustics of the famed concert hall, which were designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, director and chief designer of noteded acoustical consulting firm Nagata Acoustics. “I try to create a vision for my recordings,” Mieczkowski explains. “Before rehearsal, I walk around the venue and listen to the ratio of waves reflected off the floor, walls and ceiling to those coming directly from the instrument. Only then can I choose what kind of microphone I need and know the best placement for the instrument and mic; maintaining acoustic harmony is crucial.
“This performance was an acoustic project featuring a piano, cello and percussion instruments,” Mieczkowski says. “Since this recording was made in Dolby Atmos 5.1.4, we were given additional space to use overhead microphones, as they add another dimension to the recording. In this case, I went with the DPA mics primarily for their sound, reliability and quality. A good microphone is one that transmits sound waves as faithfully as possible so that we can direct the microphone to match the source signal. The DPAs have amazing warmth and fidelity for rendering space and sound.”
Mieczkowski has found success with DPA mics for immersive recordings, noting that the “directional microphones like the 4011 are ideal. Their naturalness, fullness and elasticity of sound allow you to maneuver the positioning of the instrument. The acoustic design of the mics also makes the off-axis pick-up sound very natural. This makes it possible to get the expected sound of the instrument at the microphone stage without having to do work in post. Additionally, DPA pencil mics cope very well with all kinds of interferences that lights, cell phones and other systems can cause.”
Mieczkowski has also employed the brand for projects that include multiple albums for Polish Jazz Singer Anna Maria Jopek, which featured jazz artist Pat Metheny, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and musician Makoto Ozone. For these works, he incorporated a variety of DPA mics for the string sections as well as 4011s to record guitars. Makoto has specifically noted that his collaboration with Jopek had “the best sound” when Mieczkowski captured it with DPA microphones.
“I value DPA microphones for their durability. They have a very high reliability factor, and I love their small size, ease of installation and aesthetic appearance. They also make an excellent base for any surround recording. When it comes to immersive projects, the better the microphones, the fewer problems―and the more enjoyable they are to use. Owing to this, I will always recommend DPA to those looking to record in Dolby Atmos,” he concludes.
Surreal Players is a Polish duo comprised of jazz pianist, composer and arranger Krystian Jaworz and cellist Magda Pluta. Together with percussionist Mino Cinélu, the trio crafted original compositions based on island folklore that combined jazz, folk, illustrative and experimental music to create a communicative and expressive performance.