DPA’s 5100 soaks up the sounds of South America
AUSTRALIA: DPA Microphones were used extensively by Australian artist, composer and lecturer, Daniel Blinkhorn, during his recent visit to Mexico and Cuba. Mr Blinkhorm travelled to the South American continent to capture environmental sounds for his latest eco-acoustic composition. He chose the DPA models having used them successfully in past on recording projects in Svalbard, Africa, Australia and Alaska.
‘I was keen to try the d:mension 5100 mobile surround microphone because I wanted to experiment with multichannel recording,’ explained Mr Blinkhorn. ‘Its compact and unique design, ease of use and lightweight yet robust nature, coupled with the calibre of its sound quality, meant that it ticked all the boxes and seemed the most suitable microphone for the task.’
The trip was planned around a residency at the Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CMMAS) in Morelia, central Mexico. He also spent time in the Yucatan Peninsula before heading to Cuba and the Canarreos Archipelago, which he circumnavigated by catamaran. The d:mension 5100 Mobile Surround Microphone was supplied by DPA’s Australian distributor, Amber Technology Ltd, and has now found a permanent home in Mr Blinkhorn’s field recording rig.
‘It has become indispensable,’ he continued. ‘One of the key reasons I wanted to use the 5100 was because of its uniquely lightweight, stout nature. DPA’s innovative design solution for arranging multiple mic capsules in a sleek, surprisingly portable and discrete array made using the unit very simple, so it was an absolute pleasure to work with. Once attached to the tripod it was effortless to manage, easily configurable and surprisingly simply to transport. It plugs into a recording unit via a Lemo multi-pin to six XLR cables and has colour-coded cabling, which is a very helpful pneumonic tool for remembering the correctly assigned channels.
‘At the heart of this trip was a desire to experiment with the multichannel possibilities offered by the d:mension 5100 microphone – and CMMAS was perfectly situated to assist in this,’ he continued. ‘After leaving Morelia, I also wanted to record in key sites in the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba. I was particularly keen to capture the sound of the endangered “black handed” spider monkeys in Punta Laguna, Quintana Roo, as well as Central American howler monkeys and jaguars in the ecologically diverse region of Sian Ka'an. In Cuba, I was offered an incredibly varied eco-acoustic soundscape, which was enriched by the music that resounds throughout Cuban culture. It was impossible not to approach my time recording the manifold melodic activities associated with everyday Cuban life.'
The Yucatan region is renowned for its high humidity, 'not that the extreme humidity impeded the mic’s functionality in any way,' he furthered. ‘It’s safe to say that it can operate under very extreme conditions and its ability to cope with higher than usual levels of wind was also commendable. I positioned the unit at the front of a catamaran under full sail around Cuba to excellent effect, and the many coastlines encountered offered plenty of need for the windjammer to attenuate wind noise, resulting in some excellent, clean recordings.’