The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) took place at the Rotterdam Ahoy in The Netherlands last month. Presented by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and hosted by Nederlandse Publieke Omreop (NPO) and Nederlandse Omroep Stichting NOS and AVROTROS, under the leadership of ESC Head of Production Erwin Rintjema, this year marked the 65th edition of the event.
Postponed from 2020, the 65th ESC was coordinated under the direction of a team of experts with decades of experience. Among them were ESC Head of Broadcast Sound Thijs Peters and ESC Head of Venue Sound Jeroen ten Brinke, longtime, consistent users of the DPA brand.
The show’s design team was further supported by Ampco Flashlight, the official technical supplier for lighting, rigging and audio, which provided one-hundred 4088 Directional Headsets and 40 d:facto™ 4018V Vocal Microphones from DPA Microphones for all of the show’s vocal performances.
“I have over 25 years’ experience as a live sound engineer and designer, and I have been using DPA since it was B&K; the d:factos are great-sounding mics,” says ten Brinke. “It was an honour to work on Eurovision, one of the world’s biggest live television productions. It was wonderful to find that there was no doubt from anyone within the production as to which mics to use.”
For Peters, who has 30 years’ experience running sound for the Dutch National Radio & Television Services, “taking care of the Eurovision Sound Contest was a unique experience,” which was further compounded by the unique COVID-19 protocols in place this year. In terms of the microphones, Peters noted that “they matched best with the needs of this production.”
Due to the pandemic, the Eurovision team was extra cautious about hygiene. As a result, the production invested in 120 separate d:facto microphone grids to ensure each singer would have their own, for an added level of health safety. “The microphone were also cleaned between changing the grids,” adds Peters. “Though this required more work than in the past, and the addition of two crew members, we were happy there were no issues from screwing the grids on and off the microphones so frequently.”
The DPA d:facto 4018 mics are available in an extremely linear version (4018VL), as well as one with a high-end boost (4018V), which was used for the ESC. The modular nature of the d:facto enables users to switch the adapter and capsule, making it the most flexible vocal microphone on the market. Based off DPA’s studio solutions, the d:facto also brings a true recording sound to the live stage or broadcast studio.
Additionally, the company’s classic 4088 Directional Headset Microphone has long been an industry standard. It offers an open and natural sound for both spoken word and vocal performance applications alike, earning it a top rank for Broadway and other theatre productions. “I use the 4088 headsets on almost every show because the look good and remains on position,” says ten Brinke.