Seattle Music Relies on Sennheiser, Neumann Mics for Film Scores

Jun 13, 2007 4:16 PM


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Sennheiser MKH 40s in St. Thomas Chapel at Bastyr University in Seattle.

Seattle Music has facilitated major motion picture scores using St. Thomas Chapel at Bastyr University as an acoustical space, along with a complement of Neumann and Sennheiser microphones. The film scoring stage's credits include Brokeback Mountain, Mr. Holland's Opus and Daredevil.

"We have scoring mixers coming here who are attached to projects and composers," explains Seattle Music's David Sabee. "The composer writes the music and the scoring mixer makes sure it gets to the hard drive exactly the way the composer visualized it. We are the third party. We make sure everything runs smoothly for the mixer and that he has all of the tools onstage and in the control room to properly capture the composer's vision.

"Microphones are the one aspect of the record chain that are always a pleasure to deal with," Sabee adds. "All of our Sennheiser and Neumann microphones are on the essential list."

The facility owns three Sennheiser MKH 80s for use in Decca Tree configurations, as well as eight MKH 800s that are used in Decca Trees and as five-spaced omni microphones across the front of an orchestra. "Their extended frequency response provides a rich, deep field, and we've used them in the spaced-omni configuration a lot lately on trailers for Return of the King, Harry Potter and others," Sabee says. In addition, Seattle Music has six cardioid Sennheiser MKH 40s, which find frequent use as string section spots. Scoring mixers often use Seattle Music's six Neumann TLM 170s for capturing a wind section. Five Neumann M 150 Tube models are used for stereo and Decca Tree formats.

Seattle Music staff scoring mixer Kory Kruckenberg used three M 150s across the front in omni for L/C/R with two MKH 800s flanking those for wide pickup in the score for Scary Movie 4. All five microphones were evenly spaced at 11 feet in the air and about five feet from the orchestra. Kruckenberg placed two additional MKH 800s in omni mode 40 feet back from the orchestra in the hall as surround microphones. "Adding the 'wide' and 'surround' MKH 800s, which have a great extended frequency response, rounded the sound out nicely," Kruckenberg says.

Sabee also offers Neumann's KM Series modular small-diaphragm condensers. "You'll find the omni KM 130s in the deep mic position in almost every session at Seattle Music," Sabee says. "The KM 140 is undoubtedly the most accurate cardioid that we have in our mic locker. When we need a hypercardioid, the KM 185 does the job with minimal coloration."

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