Earthworks Mics Hit the Road with Kamasi Washington

12
Earthworks Mics Hit the Road with Kamasi Washington

Benjamin Adamson has toured the globe as a musician, production manager, front of house, and monitor engineer. Currently, Benjamin is running front of house duties for Kamasi Washington. From Bonnaroo to Glastonbury to Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kamasi Washington‘s tour has taken Adamson around the globe to a variety of venues, and Earthworks microphones have been along for the ride.

Adamson learned about Earthworks from Mark Corben, the Front of House Engineer for Gary Clark Jr. and quickly took to the condenser microphones on stage. “I told Kamasi about the Earthworks PianoMic because he needed a microphone to pick up the natural qualities of the piano, have high gain before feedback, and also be easy to set up for the big festivals’ quick change over times. My main focus, initially, was to use the PianoMic and from there we started using more Earthworks mics. The more Earthworks mics I use on various instruments and vocals, the more I am digging it the sound.”

The PianoMic has become a key element of their touring rig, as the microphone’s quick setup time allows Adamson to get a consistently great sound with limited time to set up during the short changeover between acts. “I love the Earthworks PM40T PianoMic because I can get it loud without feedback and it sounds really clean, natural, beautiful and crystal clear. I can set up the PianoMic in almost no time when we do festivals with only 20 to 25 minutes to set up in a changeover between acts. I feel very confident in using the PianoMic because I know it will always perform beautifully. Because our band has a loud stage volume, I use the PianoMic in conjunction with the Helpinstill piano pickups so I can get the monitors loud enough. At front of house I use the low frequency section of the Helpinstill and the rest of the frequency range from the Earthworks PianoMic.”

Adamson now uses Earthworks microphones for a variety of applications and instruments for Kamasi Washington’s touring setup. “Earthworks microphones have been really great for our drums, instruments and vocals. On drums, I am using a pair of SR25s for overheads and a P30/C on hi-hat. I love the P30/C on toms I also love the P30/C & SR30/HC on alto & soprano sax. I am using the SR30/HC on Patrice Quinn, our lead female singer. It sounds really, really nice on her. I am also using QTC40s for recording at front of the house, in addition to using the M30 for measurement in setting up the sound system.”

While at the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco this past August, Patrice Quinn, Kamasi’s lead singer, used the Earthworks SR30/HC for the first time, and Adamson recalls how well the microphone captured her voice. “This was the first time she had used the Earthworks SR30/HC and she sounded crystal clear and you could really hear the nuance in her voice. This mic captures her essence, as she is a real subtle, nuanced singer.”

Adamson used the Earthworks P30/C on soprano sax for the first time when Kamasi Washington performed in studio on ‘Charlie Rose: This Week’ on PBS, and was very impressed with the microphone’s performance. “Because of its wide pickup pattern this mic really captured the warmth and tone of the instrument. In the past I’ve had to use two mics to really capture this instrument. The soprano sax has a really sweet tone to it and it is difficult to capture that, and the P30/C does a very nice job of it.”

Beyond his duties at the front of house booth, Adamson is also recording an album as producer and trumpeter under his stage name, Madd Galaxy, and brought Earthworks microphones into the studio. “On my album I am using a single QTC40 drum overhead and/or room and a kick drum mic, which gives me the whole spectrum of the drums. It is natural & punchy and everyone is really loving the sound. It also really simplifies mixing!”

“As a musician, I want to hear the sweetness and nuance of instruments. Other microphones get the frequency of the instruments, but do not necessarily capture the nuance and sweetness. When using Earthworks mics on drums, the cymbals don’t sound brash. Our drummers use handpicked, really nice Zildjian cymbals and it is great to hear all the nuance, timbre and detail of these cymbals, in addition to the other elements in the drum kit. For festivals I use one overhead SR25 mic over the drummer’s head and one SR25 over the bell of the ride cymbal. This has helped simplify the composition of this complex music.”

Adamson concludes with his experience with Earthworks as a company: “I enjoy working with the people at Earthworks, they are really positive, upbeat, and very knowledgeable. Their people are really bright, love what they do and are very eager to pass on their knowledge to help in any way they can. This kind of mentality is contagious. I love using the Earthworks microphones. They are really clean, very natural and bring out the essence of what’s really happening, which is what we really want in a microphone.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here