Milford, NH â€“ June 2010â€¦ Recognized the world over for the spontaneity and creativity of his live performances, pianist/vocalist, and songwriter Bruce Hornsbyâ€™s music draws from a blend of classical, jazz, bluegrass, and rock influences to form a musical signature that is uniquely his own. Whether heâ€™s performing solo, with Christian McBride and Jack DeJohnette as The Bruce Hornsby Trio, or with his band, the Noisemakers, the multi-GrammyÂ® Award winning artistâ€™s piano-centric sound is highly identifiableâ€”thanks, in part, to Earthworksâ€™ acclaimed PM40 PianoMic System.
Wayne Pooley has served as Bruce Hornsbyâ€™s recording/mixing engineer and producer since 1991. The architect of all things technical for Mr. Hornsby, Wayne handles everything from engineering in the studio to mixing FOH (front of house) when on tour. As is well known in professional audio, miking a piano is one of the most challenging tasks all audio engineers must routinely wrestle with. On that note, Pooley discussed the circumstances that led to his deployment of the Earthworks PM40.
â€œMiking a piano can be very difficult,â€? Pooley acknowledged. â€œThe point of origin for the instrumentâ€™s sound is very broad, so any microphone is challenged by the fact that some of that sound is direct while some of it is off axis. The instrumentâ€™s sound reaches the microphoneâ€™s capsule from all directions and this further contributes to the complexity of the process. Reflective sound and proximity effect play huge roles in the overall mikeâ€™d piano sound. While small diaphragm condenser mics frequently have good transient response, many lack a full bodied character. By contrast, large diaphragm condenser microphones may offer greater fullness, but they frequently lack the presence, or clarity, of a small diaphragm condenser mic.â€?
Whatâ€™s so unique about the PM40,â€? Pooley continued, â€œis that it exhibits excellent transient response for a more articulate sound from the pianoâ€™s top end while also possessing the warmth and full bodied character of a large diaphragm condenser mic. Just as important, you donâ€™t get that overly â€˜boomyâ€™ proximity effect typical of many large condenser microphones. The PM40 is a very well balanced microphone that does an excellent job of accurately presenting the pianoâ€™s acoustic footprint.â€?
When he first encountered the Earthworks PM40 in the fall of 2009, Pooley was initially looking to improve the piano sound for Bruce Hornsbyâ€™s studio efforts, but quickly discovered its potential for the touring side of their efforts. â€œMiking a piano for a recording project is very different from live performance,â€? he explained. â€œIn the studio, the piano lid is usually open, whereas in live performance, the lid is more frequently closed as a means of better isolating the instrumentâ€™s sounds from its surroundings. The PM40 strikes a great balance between both studio and live applications, so I envision us using itâ€”or more likely, the new PM40T touring versionâ€”on many of our future projects, both live and studio.
Pooley emphasized one of the PM40â€™s advantages in live sound applications, â€œBruce frequently appears on early morning TV shows or other programs where thereâ€™s very little time to prepare the piano. For events such as an NBA game, where he performs the National Anthem, we frequently have less than a minute to be ready. By having the PM40 installed inside the piano, we can roll the piano into place, make the cable connections, and be ready to go. If we had to place microphones on stands, weâ€™d never make it. Having the microphones pre-positioned is a huge benefit that ensures weâ€™ll get the sound we want.â€?
As he prepared for several upcoming events, Pooley offered this parting thought about Earthworks and the PM40. â€œIâ€™ve been using an Earthworks M30 High Definitionâ„¢ Measurement Microphone for several years, so I was well-versed with the companyâ€™s excellent reputation in the industry,â€? he said. â€œWhen I first inquired about the PM40, Earthworks National Sales Manager Mike Hurwitz was extremely responsive and answered all my questions. Though Iâ€™m a relative newcomer in terms of my experience with this particular microphone, Iâ€™m very optimistic about the PM40â€™s attributes and am confident it will be an invaluable tool for capturing the sound of Bruceâ€™s piano for a wide range of projects. In my opinion, Earthworks has another winner on its hands.â€?
For additional information about Bruce Hornsby, visit his website at www.brucehornsby.com.
About the Earthworks PM40 PianoMic System
The Earthworks PM40 incorporates two random incidence, omnidirectional, 40 kHz High Definition Microphones with a frequency response ranging from 4 Hz to 40 kHz. With their extraordinary impulse response and extremely short diaphragm setting times, they are ideally suited to perform within the pianoâ€™s highly diffused sound field (multiple direct and reflected sound sources). Equally significant, these microphones exhibit no proximity effect (change in LF levels), regardless of their distance from the piano strings or soundboard. The result is a remarkably consistent piano sound across the entire range of the instrument.
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.