Marc L. Waithe, Chief Audio Engineer at The Juilliard School.
New York, NY â€“ December 2010â€¦ With approximately 800 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music, The Juilliard School is recognized as one of the most prestigious performing arts conservatories in the world. Notable alumni include singer/actress Patti LuPone, pianist Van Cliburn, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, and composer/conductor Henry Mancini. As for ensembles, the resident Juilliard String Quartet is legendary. Itâ€™s all about performance at The Juilliard School and, when the performance requires live sound reinforcement, Earthworks microphones are a staple of the setup.
Marc L. Waithe, Chief Audio Engineer at The Juilliard School, has been using Earthworks microphones for roughly a decade. In addition to being responsible for live sound reinforcement throughout Juilliardâ€™s main performance spaces, Waithe also oversees system design, maintenance, mixing, and the training of staff, interns, and students for all aspects of the schoolâ€™s SR (sound reinforcement) requirements. Over the years, heâ€™s accumulated a sizeable inventory of Earthworks microphones.
â€œAt this point in time,â€? Waithe reports, â€œwe have over thirty Earthworks microphones. Our mic locker inventory includes the SR69, SR71, two SR77â€™s, six SR20â€™s, and seven SR30/HCâ€™s from the companyâ€™s Sound Reinforcement series. For use with drums and percussion, we also have Earthworksâ€™ CMK4 close mic drum system kit; along with four DK25L live drum mic systems. Our podium microphone is an Earthworks FM500, which the company is retro-fitting for me with a wire-mesh pop screenâ€”making a fantastic microphone even better. Completing the picture, we use the Earthworks PM40 PianoMicâ„¢ when piano amplification is required.â€?
Waithe discussed the various microphone applications he routinely handles and his reasons for using Earthworks so extensively. â€œWe handle a lot of instrumental miking when called for in the score,â€? Waithe notes. â€œSimilarly, we use the microphones for Juilliard Jazz, foldback applications such as operas, and a variety of special events. Earthworksâ€™ SR Series microphones provide incredible off-axis response, which enables me to mic the various performers without having to worry about their movement. This way, the performers arenâ€™t restricted by the microphone as they play or sing. The microphonesâ€™ extended frequency range captures every nuanceâ€”without compromising their artistry.â€?
When queried about one particular scenario where an Earthworks microphone really helps him address a unique artistic and technological challenge, Waithe focused on Earthworksâ€™ legendary PianoMic system. â€œThe PM40 PianoMic is one of my favorites,â€? he explained. â€œFor our big band jazz concerts, the piano is usually positioned next to the drums. Our PianoMic really helps bring out the clarity and beauty of the schoolâ€™s precious Steinway pianosâ€”without any compromises or hassles. The PianoMic system offers us the freedom to mic the pianos with the lids either up or down, and the fact that the system eliminates the necessity for microphone boom stands makes setup easier, more streamlined, and also enables us to maintain a consistent sound should the instrument need to be re-positioned.â€?
For mission critical applications such as those Waithe supports at The Juilliard School, quality customer/technical support services are essential and, here too, Earthworks receives high marks from Waithe. â€œThe company has been a pleasure to deal with,â€? he said. â€œEveryone is very friendly and responsive to my inquiries. Earthworks has a family oriented â€˜feelâ€™ to it that is also quite refreshing. I love the fact that I can speak directly to the COO of the company about their products.â€?
Before turning his attention to the business of the day, Waithe offered this closing assessment of Earthworks, â€œMany of the people at Juilliard are among the most discerning listeners in the worldâ€”particularly those involved in the classical and acoustic jazz programs. With good reason, they can be very wary of any amplification of the acoustic sound. The Earthworks microphones not only help me translate their musical visions transparently to the audience, they also enable me to expand the perception of just how good their instruments can sound in a live, amplified environment. I love these microphones!â€?
About the Earthworks PM40 PianoMic System
Designed for a wide range of applications where superior piano sound is essential, the Earthworks PM40 PianoMic System incorporates two random incidence, omnidirectional, 40 kHz High Definitionâ„¢ microphones with a unique support mechanism that straddles the pianoâ€™s harp for quick, efficient placement of the microphones. A touring version, the PM40T is also available.
About Earthworks, Inc.
Earthworks is a New Hampshire, U.S.A. based manufacturer of High Definition Microphones that is dedicated to quality and sonic excellence. Each Earthworks product is handmade with great care, meticulous attention to detail, and a strong emphasis on quality. Earthworks prides itself in making only the very best in professional audio equipment intended for mission critical sound applications. For additional information, visit the company online at www.earthworksaudio.com.