When the smash hit musical Hamilton made its highly anticipated Broadway debut at the Richard Rodgers Theatre last year, Sound Designer Nevin Steinberg knew he was part of something special. As Hamilton gets ready to celebrate its one-year anniversary on Broadway, Steinberg continues to rely on a selection of predominantly DPA microphones to bring the sold-out audiences to their feet each night.
Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America. Pulitzer Prize, Tony-, Grammy-, and Emmy-Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda wields his pen to tell the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War, and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now.
This year Hamilton is celebrating its one-year Broadway anniversary, and Steinberg has been a part of the show since the beginning.
“I was invited to begin working with the creative team when the show was still doing readings and workshops in 2014, and through its critically acclaimed sold-out run at the Public Theater,” says Steinberg.
“The show is not new to me even though it’s relatively new to Broadway. Lin-Manuel and many members of the creative team were people I worked with on In The Heights about eight years ago, so it’s been wonderful to be able to collaborate with all of these incredibly talented individuals again.”
Steinberg is a long-time user of DPA Microphones and was introduced to them by his former business associates when he was with Acme Sound Partners.
“Tom Clark had a very good relationship with DPA and he was the first one to introduce me to DPA’s d:screet 4061’s,” adds Steinberg. “Since then, I’ve been a fan and I try to use them whenever I can. I think the product line is great and I’m always happy to find reasons to use them. DPA microphones are predictable, reliable and musical.”
For Hamilton, Steinberg mics up the cast almost entirely using d:screet 4061 Omnidirectinal Miniature Microphones. In terms of the orchestra, the show uses eight d:dicate 4011 Cardioid Microphones and five d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones on the string instruments (bass, violins and violas).
“With the d:dicate 4011s, there’s not a lot of coloration to the original sound,” says Steinberg. “I use them for spot mics, area miking over drums, guitar and just about anything else, because they seem to take to whatever instrument is in front of them in a very linear fashion. That’s one of my favorite things about the d:dicate 4011. The d:vote I think is just a great problem solver for close miking instruments that traditionally in a studio situation wouldn’t get a close mic. But because of the isolation requirements in an orchestra pit, we need to get very tight on some of these players.
“Frankly, one of the best things about these mics, besides the fact that they sound great, is that the musicians accept them very easily. They don’t mind attaching them to their instrument, the hardware is familiar and easy to use, and it’s a comfortable mount for string players. They seem to forget they’re there.”
Steinberg plans to continue to use DPA microphones moving forward.
“DPA is one of the top manufacturers I look at whenever I’m planning a new show,” he adds.
“We will be doing more Hamilton productions over the course of the next couple years and will definitely make use of DPA’s line. Typically, I look to DPA to solve a lot of my microphone challenges. I like that DPA is always trying new things. It’s exciting to hear that the technologies that I’ve become very familiar with are also being used in applications where it’s not necessarily theatrical, but the quality and the attention to detail carries over, and that is confidence building for me as a designer.”