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Timeflies Select DPA Microphones

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US-based pop duo Timeflies have used DPA Microphone's d:facto Vocal Microphone as they undertook their first headline European tour. The mic selection was recommended by London-based Sound Engineer Mark Portlock.

Portlock came to the attention of Timeflies' manager Jared Glik after he mixed Front of House for U.S. SKA pop act Misterwives and he said that the microphone choice was important to the success of the band's tour. In total, there were 16 venues on the agenda, ranging from 200 to 1200 capacity. In addition, in some of the smaller venues, the PA was often flown close to the stage, making it more challenging to deliver consistent 'produced pop' with 'sugar sweet' compressed vocals and clean intelligible rap.

Mark Portlock explained: "The microphone choice was crucial as the band was exclusively on IEMs. The first challenge was to achieve a constant and stable level from the vocal, which is not as easy as it sounds when the artist (Cal Shapiro) is moving around directly beneath small PA systems, in the crowd and occasionally jumping from the DJ table. Cal also loves to cup the mic when he raps and he frequently sings off-axis and points the mic out over the crowd. The d:facto™ Vocal Microphone was the ideal choice for him because it gave me great pattern control, while the coloration on the mic from ambient noise was much sweeter sounding and natural than other high-end vocal mics."

Due to a tight budget, Portland used in-house consoles for the tour and invested in a stage package that included radio mics, IEMs, DIs and power distribution, all supplied by West London rental company Encore PA.

Portlock continued: "The show audio comes predominately from the DJ set up comprising Serato-based stems played back and mixed live by multi-instrumentalist Rob Resnick who also plays guitar, percussion and piano during the show. Unlike a lot of pop shows, there are no lead vocals on the stems – it's all live. The only exception was Katie Sky's vocal on the global hit, Monsters. This anomaly was rectified at the second sold out London show where Katie delighted fans by making a surprise guest appearance to deliver the hit live herself."

As Timeflies is a pop act, Portlock treated the microphone differently to a normal rock vocal. He said: "First, there was plenty of EQ to stabilize the sound between Cal's rapping and singing. Then there was a lot of compression and make up; sometimes up to 20:1 with 12db with the vocal slamming hard into the compressor throughout much of the show. Two reverbs, pitch change and delay were also added and heavily equalized, then applied in layers to achieve the dynamic and right up front 'poppy' vocals required, while the harder edged rap vocal sat further back in the mix allowing the live tracks to provide the dynamic range in the show. It was a little backwards, I know, but the band and management loved the results."

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