The one-hour music program Live From the Bluebird Café , based in Nashville, features performances from some of music’s hottest songwriters in a variety of genres, including country, gospel, blues, Americana and folk, and also provides a showcase for up-and-coming performers. Audio producer Vaughn Skow, a longtime AKG supporter and a 20-year veteran of the Nashville music scene, relies heavily on AKG’s C 535 EB, CK 577 WR, C 414B-TL II and C 480 B microphones to mike the show.
“We usually have anywhere from three to five performers every week,” Skow said. “I typically use the AKG C 535 EB condenser handheld microphone for the vocals, which get split to the house console. The main concern is that while this microphone must sound good for me ‘on tape,’ it also has to work well for the house sound. With the C 535 EB condenser microphones and an artist with good microphone technique, I can make the performances sound like a studio recording. I run four AKG C 480 B small-diaphragm condensers in Omni in the four corners of the room and I place an AKG 414 B-TL II in Omni right smack-dab in the middle of the ‘round.’ So far, I’ve only mixed the show in stereo, but with that room mic setup, I could make a really cool 5.1 mix.”
Another production challenge for Skow is achieving the right sound for the performer’s instruments. “Some of the performers bring keyboards, even drums, percussion, bass, etc., yet most bring guitars,” said Skow. “For the guitars, I take a split off of the guitars direct, plus I always clip a mini-condenser lavalier mic to the guitar, usually the AKG CK 577 WR so that I can have an actual acoustic sound with very minimal unwanted bleed from the audience or P.A.” Skow finds that by using the mini-mic clipped to the guitar, sometimes even dropped inside, he can get good isolation on the guitar mics.
The show is shot to five D-Beta video decks, with four handheld cameras in the room shooting to Iso decks, and a deck running a live switch of the evening. Skow completes all of the final audio post-production remixes in his studio, Sunset Island Studios, a full-service tracking and mixing post-production facility.