Aug 1, 2003 12:00 PM

Grammy Award-winning engineer Larry Cumings started out mixing Tower of Power, but is best known for his 22 years of working with David Grisman. Cumings also handles the Strawberry Music Festival acoustic events, held over the Labor Day/Memorial Day weekends.

How do you deal with fast-paced, multi-act festivals?

The personnel on the stage are critical. At Strawberry, Tony Williams does a fantastic job organizing and deciding which inputs go where. Especially in band-after-band festivals, you can pre-EQ and we have some general vocal settings that work. On instruments, say, a Martin dreadnaught acoustic, I start with a 200-cycle highpass — where you get all that boom — and then notch it with a narrow Q. Mic selection is also important. For years, I've toured with Neumann KM84s, but I'm blown away by Audix SCX-25s, in terms of high output, tight pattern and good sonic quality in one package. On bluegrass-type group vocals, it doesn't have much proximity effect and is perfect.

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