As one of the only performing arts centers of its caliber in the area, Hult Center for the Performing Arts regularly welcomes audiences from as far away as Portland, Oregon and the California Bay Area. In the venue’s 2,447-seat main hall, viewers can enjoy shows by Hult’s resident companies, which includes the Eugene Ballet and Eugene Symphony, as well as established touring artists, Broadway musicals and comedy shows. In the second, 495-seat hall, Hult Center provides up-and-coming acts with a space to perform, hoping to catalyze new artist growth and development.
Since opening in 1982, the Hult Center has prided itself on offering exquisite audio for each act that comes through its doors, no matter how large or small. To accomplish this mission, the venue entrusts General Manager Jeff Weinkauf, who pulls from his years of theatre sound design experience to provide solutions with crystal clear, authentic audio. A longtime user of DPA Microphones, Weinkauf credits the brand’s reliability, durability and natural sound replication for its prominence in the industry.
Since starting at Hult Center, Weinkauf has incorporated several DPA solutions, including the 4060 and 4061 Miniature Omnidirectional, 6060 Subminiature Lavalier and esteemed 4099 Instrument Mics. Continually impressed by the long-lasting quality of DPA’s mics, Weinkauf also recently added the brand’s 2011 Twin Diaphragm and new 4055 Kick Drum Microphones to Hult Center’s lineup. “Durability is absolutely key to our business,” says Weinkauf. “The demanding conditions and daily use can prove difficult for some microphones, but DPA mics stand up to our day-to-day demands. That durability and reliability is extremely important to us. Once we invest in a premium tool, we need it to deliver consistently and DPA mics provide a level of consistency unheard of with other brands.”
Built to provide that same reliable and natural sound quality, DPA’s 4055 Kick Drum Mic is filling an important role for the theatre. “The 4055 has not disappointed,” Weinkauf shares. “We had been using the previous industry kick drum mic; once we introduced the 4055, we could hear an immediate difference. I can put it in a kick drum and hear the natural sound of the instrument―every boom and effect. The audio team reports that they feel like they actually hear the drum now, as opposed to an effect placed on the drum. This is especially rewarding when you have a great instrument, knowing you can hear its natural sound, and not the mic.”
Weinkauf has found that these same results can be expected from the six 4099 Instrument Mics that the Hult Center utilizes, most prominently on two Steinway grand pianos. “I’ve always liked how transparent, natural and phase coherent DPA mics are,” he says. “After we added the 6060s, we started looking for something to mic our grand pianos. We initially tried the most expensive mics and esoteric solutions from around the world, but nothing ever captured the piano and presented it in a way that felt natural. It was during this process that we came across the 4099s. As soon as we put them on the piano, we knew they were exactly what we were looking for.
They’re great multi-use microphones that we throw on almost anything, like guitars or violin, but we especially love it for piano. They’re easy to use, very ergonomic and fit in transparently―both visually and sonically. Our sound engineers have even told me that they use far less equalization and processing in general now that we have these mics. The 4099s are consistently true to what you’re miking.”
Weinkauf particularly appreciates DPA’s transparent and accurate sound reproduction when miking orchestras like the Eugene Symphony, for which he relies on the 2011 Twin Diaphragm Mic for strings. “Because of the 2011’s natural translation, it takes less time and manipulation to get the results we want. Our instruments are more truly represented,” he shares. “Our workflow is ultimately faster, thanks to having the right mic, the correct placement and good gain structure.”
Already a DPA supporter for many years, Weinkauf happily awaits any new mic releases that come from the brand and plans to continue implementing its solutions at Hult Center into the future. “When I reach for a DPA product, I know it’s going to sound like the instrument I’m miking,” he adds. “I don’t have to do a lot of work to make it sound good, which makes for a nicer listening experience. After growing up running audio, I know what I’m going to reach for most of the time. DPA is the first microphone brand that I grab consistently. This is becoming even more prominent as we build out our mic locker at Hult Center.”
The Hult Center for the Performing Arts prides itself on strengthening and supporting the more than 700 artistic performances that come through the Oregon area each year. Throughout July, attendants can enjoy a series of shows from the Oregon Bach Festival, workshops and performances by the Missoula Children’s Theatre as well as comedic acts, such as those from Emmy- and GRAMMY®-nominated comedian, writer, radio contributor and actor Tig Notaro.
Photo Credit: Dan Olybrych with Hult Center for the Performing Arts