NH - Every summer nearly 40,000 bluegrass fans head to Ontario, California to
enjoy the Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival. John Holder, owner of
Blue Ridge Sound, was hired to mix sound for the 3-day festival, which
celebrated its 40th year this June. John brought his Earthworks SR20
microphones along to capture it all.
has been using Earthworks microphones since 2009 after being introduced to the
microphones through a friend who was miking a choir with a pair of Earthworks SR20
cardioids. "I had been reading about Earthworks microphones for years, and
one day a friend of mine, Myron Surber, had a church gig and was having
problems getting a good choir sound and also couldn't make them loud enough.
So, he took a pair of Earthworks SR20 cardioid mics and placed them in front of
the choir. It made them sound huge, almost like the Mormon Tabernacle
this dramatic experience I purchased a handful of Earthworks FM360s
for a festival gig and used them on banjo, fiddle, guitar, dobro and whatever
was needed. I was also using some Earthworks SR20s. In addition to using these
mics on instruments, I also used a single FM360 for a vocal mic, where everyone
would stand around this single mic and sing. The FM360 can pick up a lot of
voices around it because of its wide polar pattern and flat frequency response.
In addition, we can crank up the sound extremely loud and it still sounds good,
and with no acoustic feedback.
also works with award winning bluegrass band 'Balsam Range' and decided to
incorporate the Earthworks FM360 into their performances. "Balsam Range is
currently using a single FM360 for their acapella pieces on every show they do.
On weekends when Blue Ridge Sound has several festivals going on, I take the
SR20s with me, and my other engineers take whatever mics are left over. For any
show that I am doing, Earthworks are my go-to mics."
Range previously used a different brand of vocal and instrument mics and we
decided to upgrade the mics for their live show," explains Holder.
"When we plugged in the Earthworks SR40V
vocal mics, they immediately heard the difference in their in-ear monitors, as
well as what I heard in the house sound system. The SR40V is like having a high
definition vocal microphone. It is like the comparison between a standard TV
and a really good high definition TV. With the SR40Vs, we hear incredible
detail in the sound with tons more gain, and the feedback rejection on the
back is also great."
Range has been using Earthworks SR40s and SR40V vocal mics for nearly two years
on their tours, and they just finished recording an album using the Earthworks
mics in the studio slated for an October, 2016 release. They used SR40s on
dobro, mandolin, fiddle, guitar and upright bass. Mountain Home engineers Scott
Barnett and Van Atkins raved over the tonal qualities they were getting while
tracking this album."
some engineers prefer microphones with a colored sound, Holder prefers
Earthworks microphones for their uncolored sound and accuracy. "They are
very transparent and very responsive at all frequencies," explains Holder.
"If you have a really good PA system, you don't have to use much EQ at
all. It's awesome; you just turn the mics on and let them go. These mics always
accurately reproduce whatever the instrument sounds like."
most memorable experience using Earthworks mics was when I was doing monitors
for Tony Rice with Mountain Heart. Tony has some of the best ears in acoustic
music field and has a reputation for being extremely particular over his
sound. That night, he was playing into an Earthworks SR20 and all of a
sudden he turned around and looked at me, and I immediately thought he wanted
something that he was not hearing. Then Tony walked over to me and said 'Hey
pal, it sounds great, can you turn it down 1dB.' This was probably the
highlight of my career. Later, he told his front of house engineer, Eric
Wilson, that this was the best monitor mix he had ever had."
year I was hired to mix sound for the Huck Finn Jubilee in Ontario, California,
and naturally I took my SR20s with me for all the instruments. They really came
in handy when I had to mix the Soggy Bottom Boys (the headliners) following a
great, but rather loud, set by Leftover Salmon. The crowd was really cranked up
after Leftover Salmon played, so I turned the PA to "stun" for the Soggy
Bottom Boys. They sounded like a record! Stuart Duncan, the fiddle player, came
off the stage and told Josh Trivett of Moonstruck Management who was in charge
of the talent for the festival, 'I don't know who your front of house guy is,
but that was one of the best mixes I have ever had.' The SR20's are like studio
quality mics that really behave themselves in extremely tough situations!"
nearly eight years mixing sound with Earthworks microphones, Holder is quick to
recommend the brand for a variety of applications. "I always recommend
Earthworks mics to others," says Holder. "Anytime someone asks about
the mics I use, I tell them about Earthworks. Whenever I do to a show and bring
out the Earthworks mics, the guys drool and say, boy I wish we had these mics
because they sound so great and amazing. Whenever I am asked, 'If money is no
object, what would I buy?' I always say Earthworks, as these are my go-to
mics. I also recommend Earthworks podium mics and their PianoMic system to
positive experience with Earthworks stretches beyond the microphones as well.
"The people at the Earthworks factory are great to work with. They are
always up for new ideas and feedback on how their products are performing in
the field. Earthworks' is very hands on as far as companies go. I really like
that. You can call Earthworks and always get someone on the phone to talk about
any questions or issues you have on anything. They are great!"