M80s for Red Rocks DVD & Vintage Tubes for New Album at Ardent Studios
Pictured with a new TELEFUNKEN U47 at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN, is Todd Park Mohr recording “100 Years of Robert Johnson.” Photo by Anthony Scarlati.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters were the first group to embrace the M80 dynamic microphone from TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik, now a favorite stage mic for bands such as Green Day and ZZ Top. For the recording of their new album, “100 Years of Robert Johnson,” the band chose a selection of TELEFUNKEN large diaphragm condenser tube mics, including the U47, AK-47 MkII, ELA M 260, and the stereo AR-70.
The band recorded the new album with producer Chris Goldsmith and engineer Jimmy Hoyson. “For my voice, the new TELEFUNKEN U47 is the best,” said Todd Park Mohr. “I have a low,
kind of powerful voice and there’s something about the way that microphone handles the thick end of my voice that’s really wonderful. It’s definitely a vintage sound but it has a beautiful high end as well. It’s a very balanced microphone — very flat, but hi-fi.”
Formed in Colorado, 1986, Big Head Todd and the Monsters consists of Todd Park Mohr (guitars/vocals), Rob Squires (bass/vocals), Brian Nevin (drums/vocals) and Jeremy Lawton (keys/steel guitar/vocals). While recording in Memphis, the band invited special guests B.B. King, Charlie Musselwhite and Ruthie Foster to join a grand collaboration for blues and rock fans around the world.
“I was very impressed with the sound of all the new TELEFUNKEN mics,” commented engineer Jimmy Hoyson. “The U47 has great clarity and body, a worthy successor to it’s vintage namesake. The AK-47 MkII was our go-to mic for acoustic guitar – good clarity and low end, and not mid-range heavy in the 500-700 Hz frequencies I like.”
The band recorded in Ardent’s large Studio A, which has ample isolation areas conducive to recording all instruments at once. “I was really happy with the clarity and low end of the ELA M 260 on acoustic piano,” added Hoyson, “and the stereo AR-70 is a terrific room mic — clarity in the high end and warmth in the low end without sounding ‘honky’.”
“I was also impressed with the solid construction of all the TELEFUNKEN mics, including the power supplies, the cabling, the cases — great job all the way around technically. And I’d like to add that the rooms at Ardent have a World Class sound, and there’s a great, professional staff that that takes care of you technically as well as personally.”
BHTM drew from their recent concept tour with David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm, playing the music of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson. The band has completed a DVD of their recent sold-out show at Red Rocks in Boulder, CO, where their original Beta version TELEFUNKEN M80s handled stage vocals.
“We started using the M80s three years ago as Beta models,” said Jeremy Lawton, keyboardist for the band and producer of the previous “Rocksteady” album. “The M80s have a better low end focus than the common vocal stage mics, making them more predictable and easier to control.”
“We’ve heard it described as an extremely smooth vocal sound from engineers and those who listen to the front of house,” added Big Head Todd himself. “The M80 also has great rejection with a nice proximity effect. I sing really close on mic, and as a guitar player I like having a mic than enable me to hear my voice over everything else.”
To see Big Head Todd and TELEFUNKEN in action at Red Rocks, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXo-ACXBSp8)
To learn more about TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik, visit: http://www.t-funk.com