Broadway’s ‘Leap of Faith’ Deploys Digital Mics

NEW YORK: Leap of Faith, the newly Tony-nominated Broadway' musical, is the first Broadway production to utilize digital microphone technology, according to Neumann.

Greg Thymium of the Leap Of Faith woodwinds section plays into Neumann TLM 103 D digital microphone in the low position (unseen) and a Neumann KM 184 D digital microphone in the overhead position (photo: Cheryl Fleming). The musical, which features a score by eight-time Oscar,winner Alan Menken, features a dozen Neumann digital microphones in the orchestra pits. For Leap Of Faith, sound designer John Shivers and associate sound designer/mixer David Patridge specified Neumann digital mics on the brass and woodwind sections of the orchestra, which were then fed into a Neumann DMI before reaching the DiGiCo SD7 digital console.

Leap of Faith has two separate orchestra pits, both of which use the digital microphones. The pit below the stage and directly in front of the audience contains the woodwind section, which uses four Neumann KM 184 Ds as overheads and four TLM 103 Ds in a low position, approximately 15 inches off the floor and resting at a 120-degree angle towards the instrument. The other pit is situated below and to the rear of the stage and contains the brass section, which is miked with four TLM 103 Ds in a low position similar to that of the woodwinds.

"We had already specified the analog versions of these microphones when Masque Sound brought up the possibility of our using digital microphones on this show," Shivers recalls. "We jumped at the chance to use them since I am always interested in increasing the overall sound quality of the production. We didn't get a chance to A/B these against their analog counterparts in a controlled environment, but my sense is that there is an increased clarity and transparency to these microphones."

"These microphones exhibit an open, detailed sound," Patridge adds. "I think additional clarity is evident in the high frequency range and the microphones themselves require less EQ. As for the noise floor, it is non-existent: these microphones are absolutely pristine."

According to Patridge, "The pit can be a difficult area to access, and during sound checks, I often have to send somebody in there to ensure there is no shelving or padding on the mics. With the Neumann digital mics, I can control all these settings from software interface on the console, which saves time and gives my production team one less thing to worry about."

-- ProSound Network