Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Mixing vet Randy Faustino specifies Sennheiser for ‘American Idol’
With a background of mixing live performances by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Jeffrey Osborne and Tower Of Power, Mark Faustino’s move to the demanding world of live musical programming for television was natural. In recent years, he has worked on the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Rock Star” and many others. In 2007, Faustino formed Creative Sound Solutions, with Gerald “Butch” McKarge and J. Mark King, that handles music mixing for “American Idol,” one of the most consistently high-rated programs in TV history.
Since Sennheiser introduced the MD 5235 dynamic capsule for its flagship SKM 5200 handheld wireless microphone system, Faustino has used it wherever possible because of its transparency, reliability and ease of mixing. At Faustino’s request, all 2008 “American Idol” contestants use the Sennheiser MD 5235/SKM 5200 combo. When a wired vocal microphone fits the bill, Faustino prefers the Sennheiser evolution series e 935 dynamic mic for the same reasons. When doing overdubs or group prerecords, Faustino uses a pair of Neumann TLM 49 large diaphragm studio condensers.
“What I really like about the Sennheiser MD 5235 dynamic capsule in combination with the SKM 5200 transmitter is its immediate presence and warmth, even without any EQ,” Faustino said. “It ends up being a lot less work than comparable models from other manufacturers. When we have to use other mics, because of artists’ contractual obligations, we always end up using more EQ than we normally do to the MD 5235.”
Of course, vocals can only sound as good as the band that supports them. For this reason, Faustino prefers to capture musicians with Sennheiser’s evolution series of instrument mics. In addition to a Sennheiser e 906 dynamic cardioid on guitar cabinets, Faustino uses a range of Sennheiser evolution series mics for the drums, including the e 604 for toms, an e 602 II on kick drum and the e 914 for hi-hats and overheads.
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