The Renaissance Tour covered 56 dates (photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
USA - Fans flocked to cities across North America and Europe for a chance to see Beyoncé live during the Renaissance Tour: a 56-stop run to support her latest album.
Renaissance tour monitor engineer James Berry turned to DPA Microphones for a number of versatile solutions that would hold up rain or shine, including the new 2017 Shotgun Microphone.
“We did some beta testing with the 2017 and it ended up being a great crowd mic,” Berry explains. “The clarity and range of it was so full; we were able to cover more area with no distortion through the PA. I didn’t get any of that high-end distortion you hear with other shotguns. You can really ride it without getting any of that crunchiness you usually experience when the audience gets loud. I also didn’t have to high pass this shotgun as much as I do with others, which is rare.”
The 2017s were especially helpful for the live show recordings done at the Houston, Texas stops for the film. “We flew 12 2017s from the ceilings of the catwalk to capture the upper levels of the stadium,” Berry explains. “The small size of the microphones really helped to hide it within the camera platforms and front of house decks.”
Berry also deployed the 4017 Shotgun and 5100 Surround Sound mics for the crowd, as well as the 4099 Instrument, 4011 Cardioid Condenser and 4055 Kick Drum Microphones throughout the band. The team hung 4017 Shotguns on the ceilings and placed them in other areas around the floor. To capture the crowd’s full authentic energy while recording, Berry and the team had to work around the tour’s unique stadium set, which was very wide with a thrust down the middle. For this, sixteen 5100s were used in a chase sequence to capture the audience in front of the artist whenever she went on stage.
“We really took those 5100s through the ringer,” says Berry. “We had them outdoors the entire time, even in the wind and rain. When it’s downpouring, you’re not always going to want to tear down and collect all those mics, so we used the weather protection covers and windsocks, which didn’t affect the sound. It was still the same crystal-clear audio, and we never lost a mic in the rain, which is a win-win for me.”
While the audio captured by the surround mic was especially great for the film, the 5100 was initially selected as a crowd mic for Beyoncé’s in-ears. “A couple of the band members used this audio, but the feed was mainly for Beyoncé,” continues Berry. “She likes to feel the audience and be a part of it, so that was the main drive behind our setup.
“We placed the 5100s downstage to capture the audience in front of the artist and the 2017s on the far outside to catch the upper seating, and we achieved great results. In total, we had around 128 channels of audience mics for our recorded shows, which fed from the 5100s and the shotguns - it always provided a fullness from the crowd. There’s nothing like being able to trust your audience mic setup.”
Berry says DPA’s instrument mics provided an equally impressive level of sound and ease of use. The 4099s graced the saxophone, trumpet, trombone and flute, while the drum kit was outfitted with a 4055 Kick Drum mic and 4011s on snare
To control the DPA sound, the Renaissance Tour had five DiGiCo SD7 Quantums. A large DiGiCo Opticore Loop was also driven by DPA’s 5100s, with the second loop mainly featuring the audience mic setup. d&b audiotechnik GSL Series loudspeakers also projected the sound throughout the stadium.
For outboard gear, Berry had Waves on the computers and Universal Audio UAD on the band desk. The DPA 5100s and KLANG’s immersive mixing processor were used to create a fully engrossing experience for Beyoncé and the other on-stage musicians, who were outfitted with Wisycom in-ears.

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