DPA Microphones ensures vocal clarity for Lorde’s Solar Power Tour

Since her first GRAMMY Awards performance, Lorde has entrusted FOH Engineer, Philip J. Harvey for her live audio needs. Currently, Harvey is wrapping up his work for the singer’s Solar Power 2022 Tour across the US, where a high-quality, comfortable and accurate audio solution was of utmost importance. Pulling from his experience as a self-taught audio technician working in clubs and on the road with bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood; Mumford and Sons; and My Bloody Valentine, as well as Jack White’s The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and Dead Weather, Harvey knew what brand would check all the boxes. He worked with audio provider Clair Global to select a number of instrument and vocal mics from DPA Microphones.

“With the recent addition of the new 4055 Kick Drum Microphone, the entire drum set is DPA,” Harvey explained. “We also have a 2011C Twin Diaphragm Cardioid on the snare top and 4099 CORE Extreme SPL on snare bottom, hi-hats, toms and under heads. On the conga and quinto, we have the 4099 loud SPL. Lorde herself, Ella, is on a d:facto 4018VL Vocal Microphone in silver nickel, then we also have five backing vocalists, and they’re all using 4488 CORE Headset Microphones. We started with 4488s from DPA after experimenting with 4088 Directional Headsets through Clair Global. As soon as everybody put them on, we were blown away with how comfortable they were. You can also really get that articulated boom in the perfect place.”  

Consistently providing the expected results, DPA has been entrusted by Harvey for Lorde’s live performances since 2017. “I love how natural and real her voice sounds with the d:facto,” he explained. “The flat response of this mic is a huge asset, and the bleed is completely palatable―unlike any other vocal mic I’ve experienced. That accurate response provides the solid foundation for colouring sounds in the mix any way I want, and it’s amazing! All five backing vocalists use the 4488s with wireless belt-packs, which is imperative because the band members are on the move and change stage positions for each song during the set. It was a challenge incorporating headset mics into a pop show, but the 4488s proved to be the best choice for clarity, fidelity and comfort, and are very easy to work with.”

Although this is the first tour in which DPA’s instrument mics are utilised, Harvey has been more than pleased with the results. “For me, it’s mostly the flat, accurate response,” he said. “The off-axis responses are so natural. My feeling is that if you always get the most neutral, flat pick-up of a sound, then you can colour it any way you want. If it comes in already coloured, then it can work against you. No other microphones have that aspect where the off-axis sounds good. The bleed is usable with these mics and that’s really amazing.”

Even when he’s not on the road, Harvey still finds himself relying on DPA solutions. Since the start of the pandemic, Harvey has been mixing livestreamed productions at TivoliVredenburg, a contemporary music venue in Utrecht, Netherlands. There, he utilises DPA’s 4099 Instrument Mics on many diverse productions, along with the 4006 Omnidirectional Condenser and 2006 Twin Diaphragm Omnidirectional mics for classical orchestrations and 4166 Omnidirectional and 4188 Directional Headsets for lectures and presentations. 

“TivoliVredenburg was my introduction to DPA microphones; using them for the first time was a ‘wow’ moment for me,” Harvey explained. “They work great for live sound and streaming, which means they are more than well-suited for the studio.” During the off season, he can also be found at Amsterdam Recording Company, where he hopes to incorporate DPA Microphones into his workflow. 

The US leg of the Solar Power 2022 Tour wrapped up on 1 October, with three additional stops in Mexico through 14 October followed by a run of festival performances in South America through 13 November. The tour will resume in New Zealand and Australia in February and March 2023.