Woodstock, NY (April 13, 2004)–Joan Baez has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, and is currently playing to packed houses across the country. At front-of-house is Woodstock-based engineer George Cowan, who reveals that he’s packing an all-Sennheiser/Neumann line-up of microphones to accurately capture Baez and her four-piece band not only for the audience but also nightly archival recordings.
In the spotlight front and center is a Neumann KMS 105 wired vocal mic, which Cowan is using for one very simple reason. “I got it because Joan has a beautiful voice,” he said. “I’m a great fan of hi-fi, especially on the vocals, and it really works well on her voice.”
Each show is being recorded for the archive using a 17-inch Apple G4 Powerbook running Digital Performer, a pair of MOTU 828 digital interfaces, and a Yamaha console. “I put Joan through a Focusrite mic pre,” added Cowan, “and coupled with the KMS 105 it sounds really great.”
Baez is on tour with a four-piece band. Erik Della Penna (guitar and lap steel), Duke McVinnie (guitars and vocals), Graham Maby (bass), and George Javori (drums and percussion) are all being miked with Sennheiser Evolution Series wired microphones, according to Cowan.
“We’re using all the Evolution Series stuff on the drums,” he reported, “like the e602 on the kick, e604s on the toms, and e903s on the snare top and bottom.” Cowan is using e609 Silvers on the guitars and an e935 on the backing vocals with the Evolution 300 wireless monitoring system for Joan and Graham Maby.
This is not Cowan’s first time on the road with Sennheiser and Neumann microphones. “I was front-of-house engineer for the Joe Jackson world tour all last year, and we used pretty much the same mics on that tour as well,” Cowan explained. Cowan mixed 100 shows on the Joe Jackson Band’s world tour before signing up for the Baez tour in October of last year. Monitors are being mixed by Jason Raboin.
Baez is touring the U.S. until mid-April and again in June before heading to Europe in July, returning for more dates in the U.S. in August. Cowan, who also has 60 studio album credits to his name, is an old hand at the touring business, having spent 1998 through 2002 on four world tours with Natalie Merchant, performing over 600 live shows and 40 television and radio dates.
Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is the acknowledged world leader in microphone technology, RF-wireless and infrared sound transmission, headphone transducer technology, and most recently, in the development of active noise-cancellation. Sennheiser Electronic Corporation is the U.S. wholly-owned subsidiary, with headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut.