ASHLAND, OR – As the Sound Department Manager for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), Joshua Horvath is part of the team responsible for producing up to 11 different shows in three theatres daily from February through October. To ensure uncompromising sound quality, Horvath chooses high-quality, durable microphones that he knows can handle the hectic pace and frenzied changeover schedule. The solution: a collection of DPA Microphones.
The OSF produces Shakespeare, classics, musicals, plays with live music and new works in its three spaces, the Angus Bowmer Theatre, a six hundred seat wide proscenium theatre, the Thomas Theatre, a 300-seat multi-configuration theatre and the flagship Allen Elizabethan Theatre, a 1,200-seat outdoor-proscenium theatre. During the season, Horvath utilizes 20-30 DPA 4061 lavaliers, ten 4066 headsets and eight 4099 Instrument Mics.
“Before becoming the sound department manager at the OSF, I was a freelance sound designer/composer and music producer based out of Chicago,” says Horvath. “As a designer, I always asked for 4061 lavaliers for the actors if it was a large-scale musical. I knew that if I had a 4061, the input going into the console wouldn’t take much work. The 4061 captures the performer’s voice perfectly with little adjustment. In addition, I first heard a pair of 4099 Instrument Mics on a grand piano in a studio session in Chicago. I loved how transparent they were and how you really didn’t need to do much EQing, to truly hear the quality of the microphone.”
“My goal was to incorporate DPA mics at the OSF and we have been using them for well over a decade.”
Almost every day, the Bowmer and Thomas theatres have two different shows each. “We go from one play to another play with a band onstage or a Shakespeare to a thirty-person musical with a seven-person pit,” adds Horvath. “We chose DPA for its dependability, clarity, transparency, size discretion and ease of placement. DPA’s 4099 mics clip onto the instruments so the placement is the same every time. It’s our Swiss army microphone that we use in our orchestra pit. The 4099 can work on anything and fit anywhere. We often have to hide microphones on instruments and on stage. The transparent sound and the low profile of the 4099 is perfect for almost any scenario.”
At the OSF, Horvath uses the 4061 lavalier mics for the actors in more traditional musicals.
“We used them in Hairspray and a play with music, Cambodian Rock Band, last season,” he adds. “I haven’t found any lavalier that works the way the 4061 works. Straight out of the box, it has a nice warmth and clarity. You can see it on the channel EQ. When using the 4061, you’ll see a flatter EQ because it just captures the sound you want. We love the low profile of the 4061. Our actors really appreciate how small they are and how light and effortless it is to wear the lavs. The small profile helps our actors feel like they are not wearing a microphone. Many of our guest sound designers ask for the 4061.”
Horvath uses the 4066 headset mics for musicals that need a little more output. “Typically, our rock and hip-hop musicals need to have flexibility and high gain before feedback,” he says. “The 4066 gives you that awesome clean and transparent DPA sound quality with lots of headroom. I love how easily you can manipulate the headset. I see us always using DPAs; they have become a standard in modern theatrical design. Every sound designer that comes through wants DPA.”
The OSF 2020 season begins February 28, with a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Angus Bowmer Theatre. For more information, visit: https://www.osfashland.org/2020.