Industry Feed

Case Study: PBS’ Austin City Limits utilizes DPA Microphones

Contributed Content / Press Release

As the longest-running music television series in history, Austin City Limits is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. The PBS Austin production got its start in 1974, with Willie Nelson performing on the very first episode, and has since helped Austin, Texas establish itself as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” One of the most notable pieces of the show’s history is its connection to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which takes place each October.

Unlike the festival, which hosts thousands of attendees across eight stages over two consecutive weekends, the TV series presents up to 20 performances each year from Downtown Austin’s historic, 2,800-seat Moody Theater. Among the most recent artists to take the stage at the iconic venue was the GRAMMY-winning duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who performed with the Austin Symphony to kick off Season 49 of the show. Leading into production for the new season, Audio Supervisor Randy Reynolds decided it was time to modernize the show’s audio solutions, turning to DPA Microphones to deliver a new level of innovation.

With the Rodrigo y Gabriela performance, Reynolds selected DPA 4099 Instrument Microphones for the 26-member symphony and 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid Microphones for percussion. “DPA has quality, modern microphones with exceptional sound, which makes a huge difference in a production like ours,” he said. “Austin City Limits and its performers are very interested in providing people with a unique experience. I think we really did that, and it had a lot to do with our partnership with DPA. The microphones are well-made; they hold up and are the easiest things in the world to set up. We had no issues with any of the microphones and it was a very smooth process for us right out of the box, which is super rad and appreciated.”

As someone who has been involved with hundreds of live performances, Reynolds values a microphone that truly lets the artists’ voices shine. “I think what makes DPA microphones special is that they have a very flat response that emphasizes the player and the passion they put into their music,” he says. “That’s the draw for me with DPA―the performer and the performance are what’s highlighted the most. That really enhances the experience.”

Reynolds also explained that while the venue does provide performers with access to its microphone locker, many of the more established acts will come with the solutions they prefer to use. “One of the goals of Austin City Limits is for the shows to be completely artist-driven,” he said. “We don’t tell them what gear to use, what songs to play or even how long to play. We’re just here to support them, to ensure they have the best performance possible. We put a lot of effort into working with the teams to get the sound they are looking to achieve; one aspect of that is to provide the highest quality equipment, like DPA microphones. Since adding it to our gear list, there have been many artists who are super stoked to see the brand on our riders.”

As a kid growing up in Houston, Reynolds watched the Austin City Limits television show for many years before fulfilling his dream of joining the production, where he has now been working for nearly a decade. A long-time DPA user, Reynolds knew from the start that he wanted the brand to be a part of the in-house systems update and continues to look for groundbreaking ways to produce great shows for great artists.

Recognized by Time magazine as one of the 10 most influential music programs of all time, Austin City Limits appears weekly on Austin’s KLRU/PBS with a wide variety of musical styles and genres. In addition to performers like Loretta Lynn, B.B. King, Bonnie Rait, Chris Stapelton and Brandi Carlile gracing the stage, Austin City Limits has earned prestigious accolades such as a Peabody Award and the National Medal of Arts. Additionally, the show’s iconic venue―the Moody Theatre―has been enshrined as a Rock & Roll Landmark in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Austin City Limits Season 49 begins airing October 7 with 14 episodes.


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