Mic Clinic for The Art Institutes – Nashville

November 22, 2010

Public Speaking…….(words that can send shivers down your spine).  So, what’s the best way to get over this….do it more!!  Heather Sturm at the Art Institutes in Nashville called and asked if I would put together a Live Sound/miking clinic for her 10 Audio students.  I said…yyyyes I can.

But I wasn’t about to do this alone.

So, I asked a good friend and live FOH engineer Mark Harmon to come in and assist me.  Mark has worked for Hal Ketchum, Delbert McClinton, Sara Evans (monitors), Carolyn Dawn Johnson, and now Jerrod Niemman. His experience ranges from small clubs to arenas and I thought he could provide some great insight on that.  I also went down the hall at Soundcheck and asked my fellow neighbor Lee Moro with Meyer Sound if he would speak as well.  Lee is also a FOH engineer who has worked for Norah Jones, Blue Man Group, and Michael Buble.

I started out by giving the class a tour of Soundcheck Rehearsals and then I informed them of the recent FCC frequency issues and the selling of the 700 megahertz range.  I talked a bit about wireless and then mentioned that we had some new drum mic  products coming out.  I brought my drum kit in but left the kit un-miked.  I was going to let the students do that.

I first turned the mic over to Mark who talked about his many years of experience in love sound, starting in the analog days and the sometimes immediate transitioning into the digital mixing realm.  Mark had 2 days to learn to mix on a digital board before being thrown out on the board.  He also talked about his simplistic approach to sound and how changing a mic placement 1 inch can make a huge difference.

Next, I turned it over to Lee who brought up the fact that attitude can play a big role on how far you go in this industry.  He also spoke about experimentation and that he always had a “mystery channel” at every gig.  He would ask the venue what was in their mic collection and put an extra mic on something simply to learn about what that mic can do.

After they finished, it was time for some fun.  I had the class come over by the kit and listen to it before any mics went up.  I explained that they should know what sound they are miking so it can be best represented out front.  I brought out a set of the new mics – The Beta 98AMP for toms, the Beta 91A for kick, and the Beta 181/C for overheads, and a few others.  They miked up the kit and then returned to their seats.  Lee brought up each mic in the Meyer system and left the channel EQ’s flat.  The class was very impressed with this set of mics and their ability to get good sounds without reaching for any processing to start. We changed the overhead positions a couple of times, based on varying approaches to give them an idea of how that can sound.

We had quite a bit of fun and the pizza from Little Italy was great!  🙂

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Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Regional Manager of Artist Relations at the Shure office in Nashville, TN. He started at Shure in 1993 in Customer Service and joined the AR team in 1996. Ryan has over 30 years of performance experience playing drums and percussion in various groups and genres. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, watching movies, videography, and camping with his family. His Twitter handle is @ryan_smith1969.

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