Chris Carraba, who records and performs as Dashboard Confessional,is on the road promoting his latest album, A Mark, a Mission, aBrand, a Scar. On tour with the expanded band lineup,front-of-house engineer Mike Fanuele reports that Sennheiser’sEvolution Series of microphones and wireless monitor systems arehelping bring the singer’s emotional songs to a larger audience. Thetour is hitting mid- to large-sized venues nationwide.
“Chris is a really dynamic singer. He sings from a whisper to anall-out scream,” said Fanuele. “When you have a singer who is literallywhispering into the microphone but you’ve got a rock drummer behindhim, it can cause some serious problems.” Switching over toSennheiser’s new Evolution E 935 cardioid vocal microphone has beenequal to the challenge, said Fanuele. “I tried a bunch of microphonesbefore the E 935. The monitor engineer and I are pretty thrilled withhow it performs, both sonically for Chris’ voice and for not picking upa bashing rock drummer behind him.”
Fanuele has been mixing Dashboard Confessional for two-and-a-halfyears and, as an experienced recording engineer, also worked on the newalbum. He reveals that the Neumann KMS 105 vocal mic that the singerhas been using for his solo acoustic gigs also proved to be the bestchoice for recording when it was auditioned against other studio vocalmicrophones.
“Chris has some frequency range issues around 2.5 to 3.5 kHz, andwhen he really belts it out, those other microphones couldn’t handleit,” he explained. “The KMS 105 held the sonic characteristic and wasdefinitely the best at handling that. We ended up using it for about 75to 80 percent of the vocals on the record.”
For the stage show, Sennheiser’s new Evolution E 903 also offers atight pickup pattern and excellent off-axis rejection, noted Fanuele,making it ideal for the band’s guitar/keyboard player. “He singsbackups on about 50 percent of the songs, and that microphone isfantastic—absolutely brilliant—for that application. It’sreally direct and really punchy-sounding, but the brilliant thing isyou lose about 85 percent off-axis.
“I don’t have to worry about any bleed from the other instrumentsonstage, which is a huge benefit. One backup vocal mic is pointing athis 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 microphonesin the mix and not have bleed from the two Vox guitar amplifiers thathe has behind him or the cymbals, which are right next to the keyboardamp.”
The Vox guitar amps are close-miked with Sennheiser’s newsupercardioid pattern E 609. Fanuele is also using Evolution E 604s onthe toms and a 421 on the kick drum, which is supplemented with anadditional subwoofer shell.
The bandmembers are all using Sennheiser Evolution 300 Serieswireless monitors. Fanuele reported that the tour is also carrying afull monitor package, including wedges and sidefills, provided by AudioAnalysts, which is also supplying its proprietary Alto front-of-housesystem in those venues that require it.