We’re excited to bring you part two of our interview with the legendary audio engineers, Bruce Danz and Dave “Shirt” Nicholls from Summer Sonic 2014. If you missed part one of our interview with Bruce and Shirt, you can read it here.
It just so happens that you both like Audio-Technica, which makes everybody’s job easier, but who actually specs mics? Is that a team effort?
Bruce: Yeah, it’s a team effort.
Shirt: We’ve worked together for so long that Bruce knows that I won’t use anything else on a guitar than an AT4050. I don’t believe either would Bruce. I know that’s his first choice.
Bruce: When I first took this job with Avenged Sevenfold there was another front-of-house engineer. We used two mics on the guitar then, but he always had a 4050 and he wanted a [Shure] 57 as well. I mean a 57’s an okay mic. It’s been around forever and is pretty versatile for whatever you want to stick it on. But it’s not a 4050, and to get the different tones we want, it’s just a matter of moving the 4050 over the cone differently. As soon as Shirt joined on it’s like, we’re going to get rid of the second mic, and I’m like, of course. All our overheads are 4050s, high hats are 4033s, 4051 on ride, there’s an ATM450 on the snare bottom, the side address pencil mic.
Shirt: Actually instead of positioning it so that it’s pointing the capsule towards the bottom snare head we point it so the diaphragm is picking up across the snare head. And we found we like that much better.
Bruce: The phasing is real nice between the top and the bottom with that. It’s very smooth.
Shirt: To me, I need a thickness to the snare drum that [isn’t] uncontrollable. Snare drums can get really heavy at 200, 250. For me [the ATM450] just cleaned all that up without actually having to use any filters to get rid of it.
It sounds like 4050 is kind of the mutually agreed favorite microphone. Anything else that stands out to you guys about A-T or something that works great?
Shirt: I haven’t used another vocal mic other than that since I started working with Bruce, except for Marilyn Manson. Since I’ve been doing Slipknot and Stone Sour and Avenged.
Bruce: When he came onto Slipknot I was already there and we had had Audio-Technica already and were using the AE6100 wireless, and that’s when I kind of introduced him to that.
Shirt: And it’s fantastic!
Any advice for someone looking to get into audio, as a career?
Shirt: I would just say try to work for a good company that will put time into [teaching] a young guy or a young girl coming into it. Just get them to try to learn every part of the job, whether it’s being the patch guy, being a monitor guy, fly guy, or whatever. Just try and learn, listen to veterans, because some of the guys have been out there a long time, and they do know what they’re talking about.
Bruce: My biggest thing is whatever you’re going to do out there, whether it’s a monitor engineer, front-of-house guy, a patch guy, just attack your job the best you can and take pride in what you do. Show up for your work like that. I’m OCD about cleanliness and cables. I’ll take extra time. It takes a couple seconds extra. You make the time, and keep the world clean so when you’ve got to troubleshoot something you’re not sifting through a pile of junk, or tripping over cables to do your job. Take pride in what you do and make it look good as well as sound good.
We would like to thank Bruce Danz and Shirt for taking the time to sit down and chat with at Summer Sonic. Stay tuned to the Audio-Technica blog for more info and insight from industry pros.