WBGO, Jazz 88.3 FM (www.wbgo.org), broadcasting from Newark, New Jersey, recently acquired a pair each of Sennheiser’s MKH60 super-cardioid/lobar short shotgun, MKH50 super-cardioid and MKH40 cardioid microphones.
A confluence of events led to the Sennheiser purchases, according to the station’s operations director of the past three years, Brian McCabe. In October of last year, WBGO broadcast the opening night of Jazz at Lincoln Center in conjunction with NPR. “NPR brought MKH40s for the voice work for the hosts. I was impressed, as was my staff, by the sound of the MKH40s and how good they sounded for voice work.”
As McCabe points out, “We do jazz. And Sennheiser microphones lend themselves to acoustically produced music. We’re rarely miking an amplifier. We’re miking an instrument. And just about 95 percent of our gigs include a piano.” He reports that freelance mix engineer, Duke Markos brought along some MKH50 mics to try on piano at one show. “I didn’t feel right with my mix engineer having to bring his microphones. When we’re hiring him, we should have our own mics.”
For the past two years, he continues, on the first Friday of every other month, WBGO has broadcast “Starry Nights,” a live jazz performance held at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space (which replaced the old Hayden Planetarium), under the Hayden sphere. “It’s a big, boomy room. We like to mic the crowd with ambience mics, so we use a shotgun for that. We were renting, on occasion, Sennheiser MKH416s. They did the job and sounded great!”
As McCabe observes, those applications might eventually change. “In six months we might use them on the snare or we might use them on toms just to see how they sound. Every gig is different – every musician, every stage, every time.”
For more information, visit www.sennheiserusa.com.