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Tech News (more headlines) 12-21-2000

Clean Vocals For Static X: Neumann Kms 105 Outperforms All Others For This Heavy Band

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Email: llieske@sennheiserusa.com
Website: http://www.sennheiserusa.com
OLD LYME, CONNECTICUT: Just because a band is heavy doesn't mean that their music should be hard to listen to.

That's the philosophy shared by Wayne Static, lead vocalist for the Los Angeles-based alternative metal band Static X, and the group's production manager and front-of-house (FOH) engineer, Bruce Reiter, when it came to choosing a vocal mic.

"We tried every mic out there," Reiter remembered. "We were using a number of different products for a while, but nothing that really stood out. I met Rob Treloar, assistant product manager for Neumann, at a radio show that the band was doing in Boston. Rob was out visiting the sound engineer for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. We got to talking about sound engineering and he mentioned that he hadn't had a heavy band use a Neumann microphone yet. I said that I was interested in trying one out."

With Static on vocals, leading an ensemble that includes heavy guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and some programming, Static X is described as intense alternative metal. The band appeared alongside the likes of Incubus, Methods of Mayhem, Godsmack, Pantera and legendary rocker Ozzy Osbourne during last summer's Ozzfest 2000. Static X plans to hit the road once again next spring to promote the release of their second (as yet untitled) album, a follow up to Wisconsin Death Trip.

Reiter said that after a week of using the Neumann KMS 105, Static was sold on the product. "We tried it out, and for once Wayne was blown away," he said. "He is extremely familiar with how each show should sound. I think what makes this mic attractive to him is the clarity in the top end."

The Neumann KMS 105 supercardioid microphone was designed for especially demanding sound reinforcement environments. Minimizing popping and wind noise, the microphone is ideal for both live sound reinforcement and studio settings. Having a maximum SPL capability of 150 dB, the KMS 105 easily handles even the most demanding vocal situation.

Having been touring for over 12 years, Reiter has worked with a number of heavy metal and hard rock bands, including Slipknot, Slayer, Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Social Distortion, Rancid, Stabbing Westward and Killing Joke. One of his key goals in mixing a concert effectively is making the sound seem loud without being excessive. "A lot of people mix concerts around 110-120 dB; I try to keep the volume below 104 dB," he said.

For vocals, Reiter prefers a true, natural sound, which the Neumann KMS 105 delivers. "It sounds so much more natural than anything else that we have tried. For me, it sounds like a natural voice rather than a voice that has been colored by a microphone. Wayne's voice is definitely not colored in any way by this microphone."

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