86th Academy Awards Deploy DPA Mics

LOS ANGELES— As all eyes were fixated on the actors at the 86th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre Sunday night, audience’s ears were tuned to the musical accompaniments of the show’s orchestra, which performed remotely from Capitol Records.

Since the piano was positioned among the noisy percussion instruments, the show’s orchestra mixer and orchestra setup coordinator needed a way to isolate its sound. To accomplish this for the piano, the two used a combination of DPA Microphones’ d:dicate 4011A Cardioid Microphones and d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones. He also positioned a pair of d:dicate 4011E Hanging Microphones for the orchestra’s drum kit.

By using the d:dicate 4011As and d:vote 4099s, the duo was able to close the lid of the Steinway Grand Piano. An additional pair of d:dicate 4011Es were also applied as overheads for the drums.

“There’s a large orchestra and rhythm section, with percussion, so we wanted to isolate the piano in order to get a really good sound,” said Orchestra Setup Coordinator Dan Vicari. “We’ve been using DPA’s microphones during the Oscars for years, so we knew that this setup would give us really great sound.”

“Since we wanted to put the mics inside the piano and close the top, we needed broad microphones that provide brightness to the sound,” said orchestra mixer Tommy Vicari. “Usually when you dampen the piano by closing the top, the sound of the instrument becomes dulled. Since I had brass blowing toward the piano, and the strings coming the other way, I needed to shelter the piano. By using the DPA d:dicate and d:vote mics, we were able to get the clarity from the piano that we were looking to achieve, while still protecting the sound from outside noise.”

With the added difficulty of performing outside of the theater, the Vicari brothers also needed microphones with audio quality that could hold up to the transmission of the sound. This was necessary in order to provide the feeling of hearing live music.

“We were thinking of using either the d:vote or d:dicate, but we ultimately decided that the combination sounded the best for what we were looking to achieve,” said Dan.

d:dicate Recording Microphones have a directional quality that is intended for isolating sound. d:vote Instrument Microphones reject unwanted noise, which allow it to accurately capture the true voice of acoustic instruments.

The Vicari brothers have been working on the Oscars for more than a decade. A live sound engineer by trade, Dan also owns LAFX Recording Services, an audio equipment rental company for major recording studios. An award-winning sound mixer/engineer/producer, Tommy has worked on “Wall-E,” “The Help” and “Iron Man 2.”