Robert Scovill at his Avid Venue D-Show console, after a Tom Petty
and the Heartbreakers show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
By Clive Young.
Robert Scovill’s a busy guy. Though he spent much of 2010 on the road mixing FOH once again for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, he’s best known as a six-time TEC Award winner with more than 3,000 live event mixing credits under his belt, including work with Matchbox Twenty, Prince, Rush, Def Leppard and Alice Cooper. When not behind the mixing desk, he serves as Senior Market Specialist for live sound for Avid, so like I said: busy guy. While he’s known for his pristine mixes, it’s no secret that every good mix starts with good mics, so I asked him what are some of his favorite ‘Go-To’ microphones.
“Go-to mics eh? Okay, well, currently my go-to mic on vocals is a bit of toss up between these: The Telefunken M80, The Heil PR35 for dynamics and the Neumann KMS150 and the Audio Technica AE3300 for condensers. I’m hearing some pretty good vibes from some trusted ears on the new Earthworks vocal mics; I have yet to try them, but will do the first opportunity that comes my way. That said, the four mics listed are stellar in my opinion.
“As for instrument mics, guitars, drums and so on, I LOVE the voicing of the Heil PR30 for electric guitars and I hear it works well on piano too. I like the Earthworks piano miking system, especially for closed-lid piano. That said, I’m also very fond of the Audix SCX25 for piano—especially for rock piano.
“I still find myself on the Beta52 for kick drum, but am very impressed with the Heil PR48; there’s a fantastic balance of bottom and snap in that mic. As for toms, I still can’t beat the 421 but it’s impractical for live sound because of its size. Frankly, I’m still kind of searching for the right combination of placement stability and sound quality—but I keep landing on either Shure SM98s or Sennheiser e904s. I still get a lot of use out of my Rode NT4 for Overheads. There is something sweet in the mid range and low mids of that mic. Also, when that mic is used as a primary source for drummers ear mixes, I hear drummers proclaim “that sounds just like my drum kit!” Good endorsement… if it’s a good sounding kit that is.
“J Pencil condensers? Still living with KM184s or anything KM100 series. Oh, and guess what? I still use SM57s for a lot of instruments. For live recording of ambience and audience, I’m a big fan of the Neumann KMR81 shotguns in conjunction with the Neumann TLM103. On Petty this year, I’m recording surround ambience and am using the DPA 5100. As for reference mics for FFT, etcetera, I’m still using my old Earthworks TC30Ks
“For wireless mics, well, the whole Heil line is making me rethink what works and what doesn’t on certain applications. He’s got a pretty cool approach going. I love his wireless retrofit of the PR32 on to the Shure RF systems. It is one sweet sounding wireless. I’m a recent convert to the Telefunken M80; it’s a very elegant sounding dynamic.”