Sound Mixer Chris Durfy Shares his Sound Secrets

DurfyGroup

“Even after extensive testing of many other competing formats, I’ve always stuck with Lectrosonics, because of the fantastic build quality, the compact size, especially of the newer transmitters, and their reliability.”

Atlanta, GA ( January 12, 2016) — Chris Durfy, an Atlanta-based production sound mixer for feature films, scripted series, commercials and documentaries, is currently a work on “Stranger Things,” a new supernatural original drama series for Netflix starring Winona Ryder, which tells the story of a young boy’s disappearance, top-secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and a strange little girl. And with Durfy is his arsenal of Lectrosonics’ Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology, including SMV Transmitters and Venue Receivers and the recently introduced Venue 2 Receiver.

Durfy was first introduced to Lectrosonics equipment on The Mansion, a reality home improvement competition series that premiered on TBS in 2004. “I got thrown into a rig with four or five UCR211 UHF receivers and UM200C body packs,” he recalls. “They were rock-solid receivers and transmitters. Since then, even after extensive testing of many other competing formats, I’ve always stuck with Lectrosonics, because of the fantastic build quality, the compact size, especially of the newer transmitters, and their reliability.”

Durfy’s sound cart currently includes a pair of Lectrosonics Venue multi-channel receivers with ALP620 antennas and amplifiers, feeding a Yamaha QL1 32-channel digital mixing console and an assortment of Sound Devices recorders and fader controllers. “I’ve recently had the pleasure of using the new Lectrosonics Venue 2,” he also reports. “It’s such a huge improvement over the original Venue, something our industry already considers the proven modular workhorse. With new features such as wide-band blocks, IQ filtering, lowered noise floor, Wireless Designer with built-in frequency coordination and—one of my favorite features—menu-driven antenna power toggling, you can be sure to see the Venue 2 on sound mixer’s carts all over the world soon enough.”

For run-and-gun shows where Durfy has to carry everything with him, “I’m using 411a receivers in my bag,” he says. “I’m primarily using SMVs for my transmitters, as well as for my booms; all my booms are wireless. I use the Sound Devices MM1 as my preamp and limiter, and feed that into an SMV back to me. I’ve also got some Lectrosonics HM plug-on transmitters and some UM400 transmitters that I still use that work very well.”

The trend for directors to film wide master shots, often with large casts, especially in reality shows but also on scripted productions, can be a challenge for today’s sound mixers. Durfy recalls, “Survivor’s Remorse was a very wireless-heavy show, with seven and eight cast members in every scene. Often it was shot in a way that we couldn’t boom it—three cameras all of the time, almost always a giant wide and two tight. We knew that’s what we were getting so we relied 100 percent on the SMV transmitters. At the end of the season I was told we did a great job; we got glowing reports from post. We made ourselves look good, even with those limitations.”

Durfy’s credits dating back over the past 15 years include reality television series such as Wife Swap (ABC), Top Chef (Bravo) and It’s Me or the Dog (Animal Planet). Some of his notable scripted series credits include Finding Carter (MTV), The Red Road (Sundance), Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime) and Teen Wolf (MTV). A long list of feature film projects, including The Good Lie, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, Single Mom’s Club, Scary Movie 5 and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, reflect the fact that Georgia has scenery that can stand in for a variety of locations.

Recalling the period when he first began using Lectrosonics equipment on The Mansion, Durfy says, “It was three months of learning the gear and finding out the secrets. There’s an Easter egg in the 211 and 411. That was an interesting find. If you hold down all the buttons and turn it on you can play Pong.”

About Lectrosonics

Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theatre technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. 

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