Internationally renowned recording engineer and lecturer Akira Fukada made an enormous impact at the New York AES Convention in 1997 when he unveiled the Fukada Tree seven microphone arrangement – a totally new technique for recording orchestral music in surround sound for subsequent broadcast or CD release.
Developed to resolve some of the problems engineers had encountered when trying to record spatial environments with traditional omni-directional microphones, the Fukada Tree clarified microphone positioning and also incorporated directional microphones for main and environmental sounds.
Akira Fukada originally developed the Fukada Tree while working for Japanese state broadcaster NHK, but since 2011 he has been CEO of his own company, Dream Windows Inc., that consults on a wide range of music recording, special sound design and audio issues. From the outset, Mr. Fukada specified DPA microphones as best suited to his Tree arrangement because they offer a rich bass and high frequency sound that doesn’t blot during the recording process. These were supplied by DPA’s Japanese distributor Hibino, with whom Mr. Fukada has subsequently presented a number of seminars and workshops explaining the Fukada Tree.
“I insist on using DPA microphones because I like the transparent feel they deliver,” he explains. “When recording piano, for example, they give me the clear attack sound and the beauty of reverberation when the sound attenuates. Their wide dynamic range and rich bass vigorously catches the expression of an orchestra, while for string ensembles recorded in a studio, they capture the rich overtones and give a better feeling of air.”
Since first announcing the Fukada Tree arrangement, Akira Fukada has made a number of positioning modifications to improve front localization, but his choice of microphones remains constant and continues to be DPA.
He says: “The LL/RR microphones on both sides are intended to pick up the orchestrated sound expanse and a smooth sound envelope covering the front and rear sections of the hall. However, I don’t use LL/RR microphones for small music ensembles. My arrangement incorporates DPA 4011A directional microphones and DPA 4006A omnidirectional microphones from the Reference Standard Microphone Series. The configuration of the tree can vary depending on the hall's acoustic characteristics, while the intervals at which the microphones are placed can also change to conform to the size and formation of the orchestra.”
Ken Kimura, DPA Microphones’ Regional Sales Director, Asia Pacific, says: “Following the upgrade and release of our finest Reference Standard Microphones, and given Mr. Fukada’s requirement for the best audio equipment, I’m very pleased to see that he continues to rely upon our 4006A, 4011A, and 4015A mics for his recording sessions under Dream Windows Inc.”
In recent months Mr. Fukada has used DPA microphones and The Fukada Tree to record a number of prestigious projects including capturing Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 with the Saito Kinen Orchestra, directed by Seiji Ozawa.
“I also use DPA microphones for projects that don’t require the Tree,” he says: “Recently I used a DPA 4006 on a Decca Tree stereo configuration to pick up string ambience in a studio setting. I also use a DPA 4015 wide cardioid ORTF for piano, and if I am recording acoustic guitar I like to use a DPA cardioid 4011 XY. For me, DPA microphones are indispensable because they suit any musical instrument and provide all the accuracy that I need.”
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphones and microphone solutions for professional applications in studio, broadcast, theatre, video/film and sound reinforcement environments. All DPA microphones and components are manufactured at the company’s purpose-built factory in Denmark.
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