NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 2009: Ultra Sound Rehearsal Studios in New York City is, without contest, the most forward-thinking, well-appointed rehearsal space in the world. High-profile acts now make Ultra Sound a mandatory stop before heading on the road or to the recording studio. Each of its twenty-one rooms boast TEF-analyzed and corrected acoustics, the finest equipment and instruments, high-end boutique amplifiers, and audiophile sound reinforcement. Ultra Sound recently upgraded and extended its expansive line of Sennheiser and Neumann microphones for vocals, piano and acoustic instruments including guitar, violin, and mandolin.
One might wonder why Ultra Sound would purchase high-end microphones. Why not just load up the studio with old couches, average equipment and those generic microphones most rehearsal places offer? Why fuss? It’s just rehearsal, after all. Ultra Sound co-owner Gene Sinigalliano puts things in perspective. “The usual MO is that bands spend time in a rehearsal studio with mediocre gear before heading out on tour or to the recording studio, where the equipment is better because there (the thinking goes) it matters.”
“But given a choice between good acoustics, great equipment, superb microphones and excellent sound during rehearsal or during a show, which is ultimately more important? In a typical rehearsal space, it is a challenge to hear the mistakes that you’re trying to correct in preparation for the public performance. If you then go on tour with great equipment, everyone gets a crystal-clear impression of what could very well be an embarrassing, sub-par performance. Simply put, you were unable to properly prepare and rectify problems during rehearsal because of poor sound quality. Alternatively, you can perfect your craft in a well-appointed rehearsal studio with great mics and a sound system that have the intelligibility and articulation you need to make improvements. Then if the equipment isn’t so good on tour, the worst thing that happens is your fans wish they could have heard your stellar performance a little better.”
Sinigalliano makes a similar case for bands heading to the recording studio. “Pre-production lets you dial-in everything before you record at a fraction of the cost. Since Ultra Sound offers many of the same mics used by the best recording studios, pre-production will be very accurate for vocals and acoustic instruments.”
In their quest to offer the very best Ultra Sound recently upgraded from Sennheiser e 835 vocal mics to the professional-grade e 945. Each of the twenty-one studios now boasts e 945 super-cardioid dynamics for the lead vocalist. “Don’t get me wrong, the e 835 is a great mic, and we use it for backup singers,” said Sinigalliano. “But the e 945 has a more lush vocal sound with an incredible warm, natural response. It cuts through the mix without harshness and permits tremendous gain before feedback. Clients may also reserve a Sennheiser e 965 switchable polar pattern condenser mic, Neumann KMS 105 or Neumann KMS 104 microphone whenever vocal quality, tone and responsiveness is the priority over volume.”
Pianists will be happy to learn that the Ultra Sound offers world class Bechstein pianos including a magnificent C Bechstein Concert Grand. But, of course, no acoustic piano can compete with the sheer volume of Ultra Sound’s amazing amplifiers. To level the playing field, each piano gets its own dedicated sound system and mics. A Sennheiser e 914 supercardioid condenser “pencil” mic captures the high registers, while an e 906 dynamic conveys the depth of the bass. Where very high gain before feedback is needed, Ultra Sound adds the e 901 boundary layer condenser inside with the lid closed.
“The Sennheiser microphones capture the nuance, clarity, tonal complexity, gorgeous treble and rich bass of a Bechstein,” said Sinigalliano. “Our miked pianos prepare an artist for the kind of sound they’re going to get in the recording studio.”
For acoustic instruments Sinigalliano raves about the Neumann KM 184 pencil condensers that he says, “is the Holy Grail for capturing the rich tone, detail and the delicate nuances of acoustic guitar.”
Finally he explained why Ultra Sound purchases the finest microphones. “A distinguished sound engineer gave me this advice “Garbage in = Garbage out” so get great mics. He knew that the microphone was the most important factor because it captures the performance. If the microphone isn’t great you can’t have great sound. It just can’t be done. That’s why I choose Sennheiser and Neumann because my clients deserve the very best.”
ABOUT SENNHEISER ELECTRONIC CORPORATION Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Sennheiser’s pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
For more information, please visit www.sennheiserusa.com
PHOTO CAPTION New York City’s Ultra Sound Rehearsal Studios upgrades its contingent of Sennheiser and Neumann microphones and offers musicians the opportunity to rehearse on a C Bechstein Concert Grand miked with a Sennheiser e 914 and e 906 microphones.