Oprah & Deepak's 21-Day Meditation Challenge Finds Enlightened Sound with DPA Microphones
Music for the TV mogul and alternative medicine practitioner's latest venture recorded using d:dicate(TM) 2011C Cardioid and d:vote(TM) 4099 Instrument microphones
For co-producers and composers Rich Tozzoli and Scott E. Moore, recording the music for this production proved to be as much of an adventure as the challenge was for the listeners. Featuring over two hours of original compositions across many genres with multiple musicians, the duo needed to create a unique and natural sound for each song, and it had to be as enlightened as each day's meditation. To do this, they consistently called upon DPA Microphones d:dicate(TM) 2011C Cardioid Microphones and d:vote(TM) 4099 Instrument Microphones.
Now available as a CD and as an online download, the 21-Day Meditation Challenge is an interactive transformational three-week guided meditation journey hosted by Winfrey and Chopra. At the start of each session, Winfrey introduces the focus of the mediation and Chopra then leads listeners in a mantra that explores one self-discovery topic, with a unique soundtrack for each meditation. The selection of instruments for these segments included a 100-year-old cello, an 1830s double-reeded flute known as a flageolet, Tibetan singing bowls, a vibraphone, vintage analogue synthesizers and vintage acoustic guitars.
"We approached the project very much like a film score," says Moore. "Each piece had to be a specific, organic and beautiful cinematic experience."
In order to ensure each song was true to the sound of the instrument and performance, while still sensitive enough for the nature of the relaxing music, Tozzoli, the primary engineer, relied on his DPA 2011C compact twin diaphragm cardioid microphones and d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones.
"I chose the DPA 2011C for this project because it has low noise and incredible clarity," explains Tozzoli. "We recorded in various studios and also at a gorgeous remote lodge-like home on a lake, so I wanted to make sure I didn't have any ambient noise because it was just the bare instruments in the mix. The fact that the 20011C is cardioid is also a big reason for my selection as I needed the recordings to be very focused on the sounds directly in front of me. The 2011C provided me with that nice, narrow path. It's just a beautiful microphone."
"It was absolutely heavenly to hear my 1930s Martin acoustic guitar captured with every nuance of that special tone for which those guitars are so cherished," adds Moore.
Tozzoli and Moore carried a mobile rig - comprising both types of microphones and a Millenia HB-307 pre-amp - to each location. Tozzoli credits the compact size of the DPA mics as being perfect for mobile rigs and said the combination of DPA and Millenia products was such an ideal solution for this project that even the artists took notice. "All of the musicians commented, literally across the board, on the sound in their headphones and said it made them perform better," says Tozzoli.
"I'm new to DPA Microphones, but when I set them up to record in my studio all I could say was 'wow,' " adds Ray LeVier, drummer/percussionist for the 21-Day Mediation project. "They're just so good at reproducing exactly what you put them up against. You get the exact same sound back. There's a clarity and a focus about the mics that is just apparent to everyone who hears them, whether they're a musician or not."
In order to ensure that the sound was as natural as possible, Tozzoli used Altiverb reverbs, which is a recording of the actual sound environments of historical buildings and structures around the world, as opposed to signal-processed simulated reverbs. For example, an ancient Indian temple provided the perfect deep and multi-dimensional reverberations for recording the flageolet and other delicate instruments. In addition, he relied on Sonnox Reverb and Eventide Space to help achieve the lush audio experience.
"The combination of DPA Microphones and these other elements created this incredible atmosphere for which the musicians could make their music," continues Tozzoli. "One challenge we had, musically and technically, was to keep the soothing and lush music continuous after Deepak's voice dropped out and before it came back in. The DPA mics literally, without question, helped us make such beautiful music that we could balance the bare instruments and have it carry one clear message."
The 21-Day Meditation Challenge features a wide variety of musicians, including Moore on electric and acoustic guitars; Tozzoli on guitars and keyboards and LeVier, on percussion and vibraphone. Other featured artists on the project include Akua Dickson, who played the 100-year-old cello; Andy Munitz on violin; Laura Josephson on the flageolet and various other flutes; Kristen Hevner-Wyatt on acoustic piano and Bruce MacPherson on analogue synthesizers. David Ondrick performed vocal chanting tones and played Tibetan singing bowls.
The Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Challenge: Miraculous Relationships is currently available on CD, in two forms: the original guided meditation challenge and the simple music and mantras version. It can also be downloaded from Chopra's mediation website: www.chopracentermeditation.com or from Winfrey's OWN Network website: www.oprah.com/own.
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