Dashboard Confessional Brings Sennheiser Mics on Tour

Jan 5, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Chris Carraba, who records and performs as Dashboard Confessional, is on the road promoting his latest album, A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar. On tour with the expanded band lineup, front-of-house engineer Mike Fanuele reports that Sennheiser's Evolution Series of microphones and wireless monitor systems are helping bring the singer's emotional songs to a larger audience. The tour is hitting mid- to large-sized venues nationwide.

"Chris is a really dynamic singer. He sings from a whisper to an all-out scream," said Fanuele. "When you have a singer who is literally whispering into the microphone but you've got a rock drummer behind him, it can cause some serious problems." Switching over to Sennheiser's new Evolution E 935 cardioid vocal microphone has been equal to the challenge, said Fanuele. "I tried a bunch of microphones before the E 935. The monitor engineer and I are pretty thrilled with how it performs, both sonically for Chris' voice and for not picking up a bashing rock drummer behind him."

Fanuele has been mixing Dashboard Confessional for two-and-a-half years and, as an experienced recording engineer, also worked on the new album. He reveals that the Neumann KMS 105 vocal mic that the singer has been using for his solo acoustic gigs also proved to be the best choice for recording when it was auditioned against other studio vocal microphones.

"Chris has some frequency range issues around 2.5 to 3.5 kHz, and when he really belts it out, those other microphones couldn't handle it," he explained. "The KMS 105 held the sonic characteristic and was definitely the best at handling that. We ended up using it for about 75 to 80 percent of the vocals on the record."

For the stage show, Sennheiser's new Evolution E 903 also offers a tight pickup pattern and excellent off-axis rejection, noted Fanuele, making it ideal for the band's guitar/keyboard player. "He sings backups on about 50 percent of the songs, and that microphone is fantastic—absolutely brilliant—for that application. It's really direct and really punchy-sounding, but the brilliant thing is you lose about 85 percent off-axis.

"I don't have to worry about any bleed from the other instruments onstage, which is a huge benefit. One backup vocal mic is pointing at his guitar amps. The mic at the keyboard sits next to the drum riser. The off-axis rejection of the E 903 allows me to keep those microphones in the mix and not have bleed from the two Vox guitar amplifiers that he has behind him or the cymbals, which are right next to the keyboard amp."

The Vox guitar amps are close-miked with Sennheiser's new supercardioid pattern E 609. Fanuele is also using Evolution E 604s on the toms and a 421 on the kick drum, which is supplemented with an additional subwoofer shell.

The bandmembers are all using Sennheiser Evolution 300 Series wireless monitors. Fanuele reported that the tour is also carrying a full monitor package, including wedges and sidefills, provided by Audio Analysts, which is also supplying its proprietary Alto front-of-house system in those venues that require it.

For more information on the mics, visit www.sennheiserusa.com. Visit Audio Analysts online at www.audioanalysts.com. For more touring news, visit mixonline.com/live_sound_tour_profiles/index.htm.

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