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Creating a Monitor Sound that Styx

Styx’s monitor engineer Evan McElhinney has been using Audix gear during the band’s current tour for its Crash of the Crown album.

Styx's longtime monitor engineer Evan McElhinney.
Styx’s longtime monitor engineer Evan McElhinney.

Las Vegas, NV (October 12, 2021)—Roadwarriors since the 1970s, Styx is back on tour, bringing its unique mix of rock, pop and prog to the masses as it tours behind its latest album, 2021’s Crash of the Crown. Along for the ride is the group’s longtime monitor engineer Evan McElhinney, who’s been using a passel of Audix gear every night—not just microphones but also the recently introduced TM2 Integrated Ear-Simulator (coupler) for testing IEMs.

Prior to each show, McElhinney has been using a TM2, a coupling device that allows measurement of the performance and frequency response of an in-ear monitor, feeding the TM2’s output signal into Rational Acoustics’ Smaart audio analysis software to ensure all band members’ IEMs are working as expected. “I know everything is working before Styx goes onstage, period,” he says.

Rise Against Returns to the Road

“Our drummer Todd Sucherman is an animal in all the best ways; he hits hard but is very consistent in both the power of his hits and where he strikes the drum heads,” says McElhinney. “He’s been an Audix guy since before I joined the crew. We have a D6 on the kick drums and another on his 20-inch ‘gong drum,’ which is next to his floor tom, while his D2s are for the higher-pitched toms and D4s for the lower ones. The i5s are on the snare and we even have an ADX51 on each of the hi-hats and another on the chime tree. Most interestingly, he’s been using the SCX25As — the lollipop mics — as overheads.”

Though the ADX51 and SCX25As are traditionally considered studio condenser mics, McElhinney praises their performance onstage with the band.

“What I like best about all Audix mics is their SPL handling,” notes McElhinney. They take whatever we throw at them without distorting, and yes, that includes the studio products. At the same time, the SCX25A is just so transparent. What goes in is what comes out.  And obviously, there’s nothing like a D6 for beef on a bass drum.”

For vocals, the Audix OM7 handheld vocal mic is the choice for Will Evankovich, who joined the Styx touring lineup after producing Crash of the Crown. “Will stands near the drum kit, at stage right where the big cymbals are,” explains McElhinney. “Any mic we put on him was just getting too much sizzle, until we tried the OM7. The cymbal rejection on it is just unbelievable, and it has really cleaned up that area of the mix.”

As he concludes, “All the band members are passionate, perfectionistic, and know exactly what they want from their gear, concludes McElhinney. “Audix helps me help Styx be their best.”