Earthworks & The Crowded House Tour -
Thursday, 3rd June 2010
28 mics on stage?all Earthworks
Known as The Crowdies to its fans, the rock band Crowded House is ramping up for a new tour whose European leg kicks off in Newcastle, England on May 18th before coming Stateside on July 12th. In addition to performing popular hits such as ?Don?t Dream It?s Over? and ?Something So Strong,? Crowded House will launch a new album? Intriguer?in mid June, so fans everywhere can expect lots of fresh, new music. From test and measurement to miking the guitars, this tour relies heavily on its microphone arsenal?all of which are drawn from the catalog of Milford, NH-based Earthworks.
Angus Davidson is the FOH Engineer for Crowded House. With a background that spans thirty years of live and studio work, Davidson won an Entech award for Engineer of the Year in 1997 for his work on Crowded House?s Farewell to the World tour. Further, his resume also includes several world tours with the British progressive rock band Supertramp and he also heads up the live sales efforts for Avid?s Venue Series consoles in Australia and New Zealand. With a track record like this, it?s safe to say Davidson knows the live sound business.
For the new Crowded House tour, Davidson reports that Earthworks High Definition Microphones are everywhere. ?We?re presently using twenty-eight mics on this tour?all of them various Earthworks models,? notes Davidson. ?I first met Earthworks company representatives back in 2008 when I purchased the PM40 PianoMicTM system as well as the DK25/L drum kit microphones. I first used these mics for an Avid Venue road show throughout Australia and New Zealand and have been using them ever since. If you count the PM40, which is presently out on an orchestral project in Australia, we have a total of twenty-nine Earthworks mics currently in use.?
For the Crowded House tour, Davidson is using Earthworks? DK25/L drum kit microphones (a 3- microphone package optimized for drum set miking) in conjunction with two DP25/C High Definition snare microphones and four DP30/C High Definition tom microphones. Combined with an SR30 High Definition microphone for the hi-hats as well as two SR40 High Definition mics for drum overheads; it becomes quite clear that Davidson really likes the sound of Earthworks microphones for capturing the drums.
?The Earthworks mics are a great solution for drum miking,? Davidson reports. ?I use the new 40 kHz SR40?s in a classic X-Y pattern for the drum overheads and they deliver extraordinary depth of field and stereo imaging. The super fast rise time of the diaphragms results in stunning transient response and clarity.?
Davidson also raved about the Earthworks DP25/C and DP30/C microphones. ?These new DP25/30 drum mics are spot on when it comes to massive headroom and an uncanny ?openness? that belies their proximity to the drums,? he says. ?With every show being recorded through my Venue Profile console to Pro Tools HD, we have a pristine signal that we can do anything with later in the mixdown process.?
In addition to an extensive drum kit microphone setup, Davidson also deploys Earthworks SR30 microphones in a wide range of applications, including miking guitar cabinets and the Leslie tone cabinet for the organ. Further, he uses an Earthworks M50 when taking acoustic sound measurements. Particularly noteworthy, he also has six Earthworks 40 kHz SR40HC High Definition Microphones with custom-designed windscreens for vocal use and is particularly fond of their performance.
?The new SR40HC?s are the best, flattest and ?tightest? sounding vocal mics ever,? Davidson said. ?No hype in the high mids means you can make them sound however you want. Off-axis response is superb and they have bucket loads of headroom. I developed the idea of a conventional windscreen and the guys at Earthworks had a prototype made for me to try out in less than a week. I?ve never heard such definition and punch in any other vocal mic I?ve previously used.?
Before turning his attention back to the demands of the tour, Davidson offered these final thoughts. ?It?s not often that the FOH and Monitor guys agree 100% on the choice of microphones. To be able to select one brand to do every job on stage is unheard of! It is a testament to the quality of these Earthworks mics that we can?t find one chink in the armor. Are we happy with their performance? We?re way beyond happy!?