Pictured in the Music Mix Mobile West truck at the Walt Disney Concert Hall are (l-r) Frank Filipetti and Mark Linett before the performance of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels. Photo by David Goggin.
Los Angeles, CA (January 16, 2014)—Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Frank Filipetti employed more than 30 Sanken microphones to record a recent performance of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels – The Suites.
The L.A. Philharmonic marked the 10th anniversary date of the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall by performing the orchestral work by composer Frank Zappa. Conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen led the L.A. Phil, joined by L.A.-based director James Darrah and the Los Angeles Master Chorale with Grant Gershon. The ensemble also included a cast of soloists featuring soprano Hila Plitmann, and a band that included Ian Underwood of the Mothers of Invention, Scott Thunes, who also played with Frank Zappa, Zappa Family Trust “Vaultmeister” Joe Travers, and Jamie Kime of Zappa Plays Zappa.
“From a recording perspective, we had 160 microphones on stage, and managed to capture an extraordinary evening with the Music Mix Mobile West truck,” explained Filipetti. “My main orchestral sound came from six Sanken CU-100Ks—three in an LCR tree above the conductor, and three in the rear in LCR. These mics have a phenomenal response, incredible low end, and a texture in the top end with such sweetness they capture that very high air in a very warm way.”
In total, Filipetti employed more than 30 Sanken microphones, including dual-capsule CU-44X condensers on the orchestral double bases and cardioid CU-55s for the entire woodwind section, drum overheads and the extensive percussion section.
“The CU-55s are small and unobtrusive,” continued Filipetti, “but they have a wonderful low frequency response while still providing super quick transients. You get a lot of air without harshness, and the low end is really nice and deep. Because they are small, they are easy to place and are unobtrusive. The brushed bronze finish works out quite well for orchestral sessions because many conductors and directors don’t like to see a lot of microphones onstage and the 55s tend to blend in with the instruments.”