Earthworks, manufacturer of High Definition Microphones™, announced that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD) is continuing to support the release of its latest album, How Big Can You Get?: The Music of Cab Calloway, on the road, bringing Earthworks’ High Definition Microphones™ along for the ride. The high-voltage swing outfit, which plays everything from large halls to outdoor venues, relies on the Earthworks PianoMic™ at each of its gigs to capture its unique Honky Tonk tone.
How Big Can You Get?: The Music of Cab Calloway was recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios at Hollywood and Vine and is BBVD’s musical tribute to the master of swing, Cab Calloway. The group’s elaborate touring ensemble includes a nine-piece instrument section consisting of horns and percussion; having so many live instruments on stage can present unique challenges to live sound engineers–particularly around instrument bleed and feedback.
Thankfully, these are challenges that the Earthworks’ PianoMic™ gracefully overcomes, according to BBVD tour manager, Brian Stanley: “Live sound reinforcement on a piano has always been a challenge because there is always so much noise onstage and a lot of noise rolling off the P.A. back onto the stage. Once we started using the PM40, we found we were able to run with the volumes we wanted to run at; the tone was amazing and it sounded like a piano. We didn’t have to work to get it to sound that way–you just put the mic in the piano and go.”
“Before, we’d have to do drastic EQing and there were definitely compromises in terms of gain before feedback,” Stanley continues. “You would either get it to sound good at a low volume, or get a good tone but with a lot of feedback. Gain before feedback is a very important consideration for us, because this is a loud show–we want to run at hot levels and not lose the tone we are after.”
The PianoMic™, which was last year’s winner of the Mix Foundation’s TEC Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement in the Microphone/Recording Technology category, makes it nearly effortless to achieve extremely high quality results while miking a piano–one of the more technically demanding instruments to capture given its vast frequency range and complex acoustical nature. It easily mounts inside with no stands or booms, utilizing two specially designed random incidence omni microphones which have a near perfect frequency and polar response compared to conventional microphones.
Joshua Levy, pianist for BBVD, commented on his experiences with thePianoMic™: ”After almost giving up on our search for a system that would let us get a decent piano sound in both monitors and front of house, we found the Earthworks PianoMic™ and were truly amazed! It lets us dial in a remarkably natural sound with plenty of gain and little fuss, night after night, in even the most challenging settings. We love it!”
Scotty Morris, BBVD’s lead vocalist, had this to say about Earthworks microphones: “My first encounter with Earthworks mic’s was the PM 40 PianoMic. The first thing that struck me was the evenness of tone I was able hear in my In-Ear monitors. Then, when I walked the hall at sound check to see if it was an illusion, I was totally amazed with the fullness and range we were getting in the cavernous San Francisco symphony hall.
My second encounter was with the drum package. Again, amazing clarity, but what was the biggest feather in the giant audio hat was that I was able to run ALL of the drums without EQ in my In-Ear monitors, and received such a clear picture of the kit with NO glaring sub frequencies to interfere with the great tone of Kurt’s drums. It literally cleaned my ear mix right up, leaving me more audio headroom then I thought possible in my In-Ear mix.
So, now I get to my Microphone, the SR40V. Well, the joke I have with Brian our front of house engineer is “So that’s what flat sounds like”!!!! It cleaned my mix up even more, and the way it naturally compresses my vocal is a revelation! I was already thinking about my thank you letter to Earthworks in the middle of the set, the first night I used the SR40V. So here it is. THANK YOU! You have improved my quality of “live”.”
Since 1994 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has toured virtually nonstop, performing more than 1,200 concerts on stages around the world. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy appeals to all age groups, and their talent can be seen on the stages of the world’s biggest and best music festivals, night clubs, county fairs, symphony shows, black tie events, and wineries. As testament to their class, stylishness, and versatility, the band has been called upon to perform at some major entertainment events and behind-the-scenes parties including the Grammy awards, Billboard Awards, Espy Awards, and the opening of the Getty Center Museum, the halftime show at the 1999 Super Bowl and Orange Bowl. Additionally, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has been called on to play private events for President Bush (both of them) and President Clinton. Most recently, BBVD performed during two recent national television performances: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Dancing With The Stars.