MusicXChange Ghana records and reinforces with DPA
GHANA: MusicXChange Ghana is a not-for-profit organisation that works to preserve the country’s music scene by providing musicians with a recording platform while also serving local communities with music therapy and education projects. Federico Masetti, the CEO of MusicXChange Inc has been using a range of DPA microphones as part of his organisation’s work.
‘During my last year at the Berklee College of Music, I took a three-week trip to Ghana as part of a study abroad programme, but also to follow my father’s work in the country,’ Mr Masetti recalled. ’ My father is a doctor and was working on a humanitarian project to help build a non-profit hospital in Kumasi, Ghana. I wanted to find a way to further his efforts and utilise my passion for music to help the people of Ghana. That’s where the idea of MusicXChange first came about. MusicXChange aims to provide free high-quality recording opportunities to local artists in economically disadvantaged communities, and support different kinds of music therapy and music education programmes in their local communities.’
The portfolio of DPA mics that Mr Masetti brought to Ghana comprised the d:screet 4080 miniature cardioid microphone lavalier, d:dicate 4017B shotgun microphone, d:dicate 4011F cardioid boom mic and d:facto vocal microphone. These were employed for a variety of applications, such as recording interviews, providing reinforcement for local concerts and for facilitating recording sessions with local artists. As traditional Ghanaian music is performed outside, MusicXChange opted not to record any of the artists in a studio.
‘For the outdoor recording, I used the d:dicate 4011F in an ORTF configuration along with the d:screet 4080 lavalier,’ explains Mr Masetti. ‘The music was often accompanied by dancing, but we only had to worry about making minor adjustments in the placement of the musicians so that it would result in better sound. It was very interactive recording work to create the exact setting that represents the music and the DPA mics always did a great job in capturing the audio.’
The d:dicate 4011F’s 20dB pad switch, embedded in the centre of the unit’s XLR connector proved useful in an outdoorl environment. ‘That helped us because the microphones were closer to the sound source and sometimes the signal was coming in too hot. Not being in a traditional studio, I needed more options, so the extra gain control on the microphones was a very big help. Also, the freedom to set up the sound configuration however I liked was pretty neat. If I wanted to do a 90-degree ORTF or a 120-degree ORTF I had the flexibility to do so,’ said Mr Masetti.
The MusicXChange CEO continued by discussing the d:screet 4080, which he utilised for recording interviews as part of a documentary he’s putting together, describing it as ‘the smallest microphone, very easy to set up and very reliable’. He stated: ‘It was important for us to get a good interview sound without being disturbed by the wind, which sometimes was bad because we were in the field most of the time. The d:screet 4080 gave me high-quality studio sound without any problems.’
The live concerts staged by the not-for-profit were held in Tamale, Obuasi, Accra and Aflao. ‘We created a partnership with the local communities and interacted by providing free musical events, accompanied by some conversation about the project,’ noted Mr Masetti. ‘We used the d:facto vocal microphones during these events and during a performance by Dela Botri, a master musician of the Ghanaian flute. It gave us great audio and complemented the sound from Dela Botri’s flute because of its extremely linear off axis frequency response.
‘In Ghana, the people really believe in the power of music and eventually, I would like to see MusicXChange in many different countries around the world,’ he concluded. ‘I see us continuing to use DPA, as we will surely continue the work that we started and, most importantly, make sure that it becomes a sustainable practice that can empower others.’