Duo Entrusts DPA Microphones to Deliver Authentic, Transparent Sound for “The Journey Continues”
CHICAGO ― Recording Engineer, Producer, Musician and Mixing Engineer Dontaniel Jamel Kimbrough is no stranger to the production of gospel music, having worked alongside worship artists such as Kirk Franklin, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Byron Cage. His most recent project involved American gospel musician Todd Dulaney’s newest album, “The Journey Continues,” which was recorded live at Calvary Church in Naperville, Illinois. Producing a live album always presents its own challenges, and Kimbrough’s aim, whether recording in studio or live, is to capture voice and instrumental audio as naturally as possible. Starting with an authentic sound source is often key to producing a clean and natural recording.
For Kimbrough, this meant calling on several solutions from DPA Microphones, including the 4099D Instrument Mics and 2011C Twin Diaphragm Mics, as well as the brand’s new 4055 Kick Drum Microphone. “The first thing I noticed about DPA mics was how they translated the source,” Kimbrough explains. “The recordings sound as natural and unprocessed as possible. After the lead vocals, the drums are probably the biggest focus of any recording. You really want to hear that beat. What makes a drum stick out is the quality of the recording. DPA has never let me down when it comes to a great recording, and this project was no exception; everything turned out crazy good with the DPAs.”
Supplied by Chicago-based professional AV production company, Sven Pro, the majority of the DPA solutions were used for Dulaney’s drum kit ― such as the 4099s on snare and toms. “What I like about the 4099s is the transparency; they remind me of a classic mic, but without the color,” Kimbrough adds. “They’re one of the best mics we’ve ever used on snare and toms. I love that you can hear every ghost note on the snare. The mics pick up all the frequencies right where the meat of the snare lives, around 350-450 Hz. With most other mics, we would have to bump the frequency to feel and hear that, but that’s not necessary with the 4099s.”
With the sound of the drums at the top of Kimbrough’s priorities, he rounded out his drum miking with the new DPA 4055 Kick Drum Mic, as well as the 2011C Twin Diaphragm Mics for the hi-hats and as left/right overheads on the cymbals. “The new 4055 is also super transparent. It has a great presence and thump, which is what we all kind of look for in gospel music,” he explains.
One of the first things anyone thinks about with gospel music is the tonality of the vocals, which is why it was crucial for Kimbrough to select a microphone that would highlight both Dulaney and his backing vocals. “We opted to use the DPA 2028 and d:facto™ 4018 Vocal Capsules with Sennheiser wireless systems, which made everything so easy,” Kimbrough says. “With the d:facto, you can just switch the mic off, and quickly swap capsules. I used the same ones in the studio and on-stage to maintain a consistency in the recordings. These solutions are great for any application. All the capsules are linear and transparent; you hear every frequency because nothing gets washed out.”
Kimbrough is equally impressed by his experience with Sven Pro, which provided support throughout the live event. According to Kimbrough, having a solid relationship with Sven Pro has been key to connecting artists with the audio world. “Sven has never let me down; the company is great at bringing musicians and producers together and connecting us with brands that help elevate our creativity,” he says. “Communication is everything in any relationship and Sven goes above and beyond. With their help, we’ve even been able to hold Billboard’s No. 1 spot on past productions.”
With “The Journey Continues” set to release this summer, Kimbrough looks forward to sharing the album’s impeccable sound with the world. “I’m excited for you to hear Todd’s vocals,” he finishes. “The ultimate goal with mics is to get transparent sound, which allows you to do whatever you want to do with the end result. These DPA mics have all been ridiculously good for that.”
As an engineer, producer and musician, Kimbrough has earned numerous GRAMMY®, ASCAP, Dove and Stellar awards and nominations, and was named Gospel Music Touch Awards’ Producer of the Year in 2014. Kimbrough also prides himself on being the music director at Calvary Church ― one of the largest multi-ethnic churches in Illinois, where “The Journey Continues” was recorded. A longtime collaborator of Dulaney’s, Kimbrough has helped the musician create multiple chart-topping hits, with runs lasting as long as six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel list.
A former professional baseball player turned gospel musician, Dulaney first joined the recording industry in 2011 with his breakthrough album “Pulling Me Through,” which earned a Top-50 spot on the Billboard Gospel charts when first released. He subsequently released it on digital platforms in 2013, taking the album to No. 23. His 2016 album, “A Worshipper’s Heart,” hit No. 1 on that same chart, earned a spot on the Billboard 200 and received a GRAMMY® Award-nomination for Best Gospel Album. Dulaney’s subsequent albums ― “Your Great Name” and the live “Anthems & Glory” also pulled in No. 1 accolades, and he is currently touring in support of “The Journey Continues.”