Nashville-based pop rock band Hot Chelle Rae burst onto the charts last year with its double-platinum single, "Tonight, Tonight," off its sophomore album, Whatever. Since then, the band's intense schedule has taken them on an almost non-stop international tour with headline appearances in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Japan. Premium audio brands Neumann and Sennheiser have been along for the ride as Hot Chelle Rae's equipment demands have become increasingly sophisticated and their fan base multiplies.
Hot Chelle Rae‘s core members have been playing together for the better part of seven years and were born into Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter families. Just two years ago, the bandmates were touring in a van and a trailer playing 1,000-capacity clubs. Their single "Tonight, Tonight" helped rocket them to the top, coming in at number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts and number five on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 charts.
With a rigorous tour schedule that now involves buses rather than small trailers, the band routinely finds themselves opening for acts like Taylor Swift and The Script when they are not playing major headline dates themselves. The band has dramatically improved the audio quality of their live performance by utilizing a combination of Neumann KK 205 capsules and Sennheiser SKM 2000 wireless transmitters for their two primary vocal positions.
“We were looking for better clarity in our vocal performances," commented Zach Snyder, monitor engineer and production manager of Hot Chelle Rae. “We selected the Neumann KK 205 mic capsule because of its warm sound and super-cardioid pattern, which does a great job in rejecting ambient stage noise. Paired with our Sennheiser SKM 2000 transmitters, these capsules save us an incredible amount of time on sound checks since they sound great out of the box since they require very little EQ."
Snyder, who says he likes the frequency response of the KM 205 more than any other mic capsule he's used, expects to add a Neumann KK 204 capsule when the band adds a new keyboard player to its lineup in the near future. In addition to the Neumann KK 205s, Hot Chelle Rae maintains 16 channels of Sennheiser RF on stage: six channels on guitar, eight for wireless personal monitors and two for vocal microphones. Snyder says he plans to increase that number to 22 in the near future.
The transition to the KK 205 capsules was seamless and has been a measurable improvement: “They're really pumped and Ryan's [Follesé's] vocals come through extremely clear," says Snyder. "Also having the Neumann capsules have brought us tons of credibility with other engineers!"
The acoustic features of the KK 204 and KK 205 capsule heads are derived from the multiple award-winning wired Neumann stage microphones, the KMS 104 and KMS 105. The KK 204, with its cardioid pattern, ensures the best possible suppression of sound originating from 180 degrees to the rear, while the supercardioid KK 205 has greater directivity, and maximizes incident sound from the front as compared to sound from the rear. Due to the “single polar pattern design,” the polar patterns are very uniform over the entire frequency range and provide excellent resistance to feedback.
Ryan Follesé of Hot Chelle Rae relies on a Neumann KK 205 microphone capsule, coupled with a Sennheiser SKM 2000 wireless transmitter.