Singer-songwriter John Grant has been using Shure KSM8 and KSM9HS vocal microphones on his most recent UK tour, in addition to PSM900 in-ear monitors from the manufacturer.
Grant was the frontman in critically acclaimed alt-rock band The Czars in his twenties and thirties, and after returning to the music business following a six-year absence, has enjoyed a more soulful renaissance as an electronica and orchestral-driven solo artist in his forties, with a string of successful albums to his name.
Following the release of Grant’s third solo album Grey Tickles, Black Pressure in Autumn 2015, he took to the road for a short tour of the UK and Ireland which lasted into early 2016. It was on these dates that he began using Shure microphones, as Ber Quinn, the tour’s front-of-house engineer, explained: “The difference once John started using the KSM9HS was startling. A voice as rich and detailed as John’s is deserving of the finest microphone; to be able to hear every subtle aspect of his performance is a joy.”
Now armed with a KSM9HS in Hyper-Cardioid mode, Grant himself said that the in-ear mixes have been ‘revolutionised’. Quinn continued: “Rejection of ambient noise is extremely important for us, as John uses a vocal processor onstage. The KSM9HS has been excellent in that regard, extremely focused, neutral and detailed. I’ve never once had to worry about feedback, even when using heavy vocal distortion.”
“It’s been nothing short of a revelation on John’s voice," added Matt Pengelly, monitor engineer for the tour, "tight and controlled with almost zero handling noise, but still with all of the detail and space that you would expect from a quality condenser.
Shure’s new KSM8 mics are used on backing vocals, and these have also proven popular with Pengelly. “The KSM8 is far and away the most neutral-sounding handheld dynamic mic I’ve heard. Spill that was once ‘fizzy’ in microphones we’d tried previously became more like added ambience in the IEMs,” he commented.
The PSM900 in-ears and Shure’s Wireless Workbench software, which manages all of the wireless tech in use on the tour, have provided Pengelly with comfort and peace of mind. “Being able to turn off the RF on PSM900 is a godsend, especially for festival changeovers,” he revealed. “I also love CueMode on the packs, allowing me to walk the whole stage, listen to the RF in situ and check everyone’s mixes. Wireless Workbench is another great tool, and saves additional stress on the night since I can do my co-ordination in advance and get an idea of the RF landscape, in addition to checking scans of other users.”
John Grant is now back on the road taking in several outdoor festivals over the Summer.