Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl on a Sennheiser MD431-II supercardioid microphone
Photo credit: Getty Images
The Foo Fighters will release of their new double album, In Your Honor in June, and follow up with a worldwide touring schedule. Onstage, they will be using Sennheiser mics. The tour, kicked off in May with a handful of U.K. and U.S. radio festival shows, features Sennheiser Evolution 600 and 900 Series microphones on drums and percussion, plus the Sennheiser MD431-II for lead singer Dave Grohl.
"I've wanted to try a 431 on Dave's vocals for a long time," reveals longtime monitor engineer Ian Beveridge. He comments that, "A lot of companies manufacture a spike in the mic response, but I wanted something that was totally flat. The 431 is the flattest vocal mic I've ever heard, even flatter than a lot of condensers. You can make it sound however you like. And it's amazingly smooth."
The MD431-II, which won out in an A/B test with another dynamic mic, offers good rejection, he notes, which is important with this particular band. "The Foo Fighters are an exceptionally loud band, and it's pretty reasonable when it comes to spill. It's pretty tight. It's a great mic, and pretty indestructible. I'm definitely a fan of that microphone. I knew it would be that way, but we'd never had a chance to try it before."
In addition to a kick and snare drum, Taylor Hawkins' kit includes a rack tom, floor tom and a gong bass drum. Beveridge reports, "We're using 900 Series mics on the drums and 600 Series on the hi-hat, ride and overheads. We're using a 902 and a 901 on the kick. The toms and kick are mounted internally with 901s, and we have three different mics on the percussion: the e614 on hi-hats, ride cymbals and overheads, the e908d for roto tom, and the e904 on the wood block and cowbell. Miking the toms from the inside is a little different, he admits. "We tried to do a bit of lateral thinking, trying to think outside the box. People did it years ago, of course, but it never sounded right. My argument was, you put a kick drum mic in a kick drum and no one complains about it sounding right, so put a kick drum mic in a tom."
"Putting a boundary mic in a tom sounds much better," he continues. "So I'm really, really happy with it. It's something I've wanted to try for a long time. And it works so well I'm not sure I should tell anyone! So we've got Sennheisers on everything on the drum kit apart from the snare top mic, which is something that Bryan [Worthen], the front-of-house guy, wanted to stick with." Hawkins also makes use of a Sennheiser HSP4-EW headset wired into the evolution SK300G2 bodypack transmitter. We're using the EM300G2 to pick up the signal."
So far, only one band member has adopted personal monitors, the rest of the band preferring stage monitors. "Chris Shiflet, the stage right guitar player, is using ears, the Evolution EW300IEM-G2s. I like them. I was totally impressed with the sound of them from the start and I've been having success with them ever since. We use them with a Pro Wireless GX4 antenna booster."
Beveridge, who was until recently mixing monitors for Green Day while the Foo Fighters were recording their new album, concludes, "I wish I could have taken some of these Sennheiser products to Green Day."
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