FOH engineer Spike Jones’ use of Sennheiser microphones goes back to the mid-1980s. “Since the early 1990s I have used Sennheiser on tour, though it’s not always possible when you are using house systems and venues do not supply them,” he said. Archive also encountered this problem, as they commented: “We were using any mics that the venues could supply and it was never satisfactory. I know what the band’s instruments and vocals should sound like, but there was always uncertainty whether the mics we found at the venues would reproduce them to a good enough standard.”
Jones knew that he had to resolve this problem quickly as Archive’s audience size grew. He approached Sennheiser directly, with the aim of getting a full set of the mics of his choice. The company was happy to help and, ever since, Jones has been happy that what goes into the microphones is what will come out. “Now we have consistency of the sound from source,” he said. “You cannot underestimate the importance of that to a sound engineer.”
For some time Jones has used e 901s, e 902s, e 905s, e 914s and e 604s on the drum kit, an e 902 on the bass guitar, e 606s and e 906s on guitars and an e 965, e 935 and e 945 on the band’s vocals.
“I use e 604s on toms because they are small; they don’t get in the way and can handle the low-end frequencies. The e 606 and e 906 are perfect for guitar and I think the e 935 is the best-sounding rock vocal microphone available. It’s ideal for Dave Pen’s vocals. Pollard Berrier usually uses an e 965, because its softer character allows me to get his vocals clearly over the loud band behind him,” added Jones.
Jones also uses Neumann KMD series digital microphones. “I have started using the KM 183 D and KM 185 D on drums, the KM 184 D and KM 185 D on guitars and bass, and the KMS 104 D on vocals,” he said. “The microphone software on the Innovason desk I’m using adds a new dimension to live sound engineering. The fact that you can change parameters of the digital microphone on the desk now means that you can change the sound to suit your needs. Previously, the only other option was to change the equalisation.”
The Sennheiser and Neumann digital microphones are designed to be used with a high-quality PA system and Jones is happy with his choice of a d&b J-Series system. “As long as you follow the guidelines and run the system digitally from source to speakers, you will experience a new level in sound quality,” he said.
Kevin Charnley agrees that there are definite advantages to using digital microphones. “I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to use the KM 84, KM 184 and now the digital version,” he said. “These bring extended frequency response with considerably less noise.”
Charnley is using Sennheiser’s ew 300 G2 wireless monitor systems for the entire band. “I’ve used them for years with many other acts and they have always performed perfectly,” he said. “As with all Sennheiser products they are totally reliable on the road.”
“Recently I was using the new G3 system with another client and found it to be even better, with some interesting new features – the ‘engineer mode’ on the belt packs being particularly useful. Archive also uses two ew 500 G3 wireless microphones, which have performed impeccably since they were introduced.”