Baghdad, Iraq â€“ September 2010â€¦ While success with oneâ€™s microphones in the studio is certainly importantâ€”after all, this is what sells recordsâ€”success on the road can be far more daunting. The rigors of pro touring often wreak havoc with sensitive electronic equipment. Now combine the usual drops and bumps with hot, 120-degree conditions and dust that can only be found in harsh desert locales such as Iraq, and you begin to gain an entirely new appreciation for the performance characteristics and build quality of oneâ€™s microphones. Such is the case with the Seattle, WA-based band Candlebox and their experience with Earthworks microphones.
With rock and blues influences, Candlebox consists of vocalist Kevin Martin, Peter Klett on guitar, Scott Mercado on drums, Adam Kury on bass, and Sean Hennesy on guitar. The band recently completed a grueling Middle East tour where they performed for U.S. troops in the State of Kuwait, Bagdad and Al-Basra, Iraq, plus a few other locations. In addition to searing heat and dust so thick that it permeates just about everything, the band even encountered some mortar fire that forced them to â€œmoveâ€? a lot faster than they might have otherwise chosen to. Through it all, their arsenal of Earthworks microphones performed flawlessly, as Carlos Novais, FOH Engineer / Tour Manager for Candlebox described.
â€œOn this tour, I used Earthworksâ€™ SR25 cardioid microphone with the accompanying KickPadâ„¢ optimization curve on Scott Mercadoâ€™s kick drum,â€? reports Novais. â€œThis mic, combined with a P30/C Periscope cardioid microphone for the snare drum, four DP30/C Drum Periscopeâ„¢ Cardioid Tom Mics for the toms, one SR25 for the hi hat, plus a pair of SR30 cardioid microphones for overheads created an incredible mic setup for the drums. I also used an SR25 as a vocal mic for Adam Kury.â€?
â€œThese microphones were terrific,â€? Novais continued. â€œIraq has a really brutal climate and not once did we encounter any issues with them. When I received the mics, I did an A-B comparison of with other live sound microphones. I was really impressed with the wider and more uniform frequency response of the Earthworks mics and I love the fact that I donâ€™t encounter phase cancellation issues when using multiple microphones together. These mics have excellent rear rejection characteristics, which eliminates unwanted sounds and they handle the fast attack transients of the drums beautifully. I was very impressed with their performance.â€?
Novais has also used Earthworksâ€™ PM40 PianoMicâ„¢ on tour with pop/rock vocalist Vonda Sheppard. â€œI first worked with the PM40 back in February and March on Ms. Sheppardâ€™s European tour,â€? said Novais. â€œThe PM40 is fast and easy to use, and right from the start, it sounds great. Thereâ€™s not even a fraction of the adjustments typical of positioning conventional microphones required to get a natural piano sound. Between the PM40 and the mics that I used with Candlebox, Iâ€™ve become a real Earthworks fan.â€?
Candlebox drummer Scott Mercado is equally enthusiastic about Earthworks microphones. For the bandâ€™s latest studio endeavor, Mercado used the Earthworks DK25/R drumkit recording system. â€œI used the DK25/R for our new album Into the Sun,â€? Mercado confirmed. â€œFor me, being a trained drummer/percussionist who transitioned into the rock genre, itâ€™s really important that grace notes such as flams and ruffs be picked upâ€”regardless of the volume level Iâ€™m working at. The Earthworks DK25/R conveys all the subtle nuances of my snare work. Other mics just seem to get drowned out by ambient noise.â€?
Mercado elaborated on his experience with the Earthworks DK25/R microphone system. â€œWhen I was looking for the best mics to use on my drums,â€? he continued, â€œthere were several factors I considered really important. I wanted mics that could accurately capture the deep resonance of the toms and had outstanding transient response across the entire sound spectrum. Equally important, I wanted the microphones to maintain a low profile on the drum. Most sound engineers are very surprised by the small size of the Earthworks microphones. They always assume theyâ€™re listening to a large diaphragm mic. These are the best mics on the market for drummers of all styles. Until I discovered Earthworks, I was never able to use a single microphone brand for my recording work.â€?
Both Novais and Mercado were equally impressed with Earthworksâ€™ customer/technical support services. Novais summed things up best by saying, â€œWhen I call Earthworks, I always get through to knowledgeable and helpful people. The company is really responsive and Iâ€™m honored to be part of the Earthworks family.â€?
For more information about Candlebox, visit the band online at www.candleboxrocks.com.
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.
Photo info: Image of Carlos Novais (left) and Scott Mercado (right) with two of their Earthworks microphones. Photo by Kevin Martin.