Shure KSM11 at MIKA’s End of Summer Concert
The Special End of Summer Concert coloured the Verona Arena with singer-songwriter Mika; born in Beirut, Lebanon, and raised in Paris and London. Among the many professionals who worked on the show, Massimo Barbieri, FOH Sound Engineer, had the opportunity to test the new Shure capsule KSM11. We interviewed him about the microphone set-up of one of the most memorable concerts of 2022.
Massimo tested the brand-new Shure capsule - the KSM11 - on one of the most spectacular stages in Italy, the Arena di Verona. He had received very positive feedback from Luca Morson, his esteemed friend and colleague, who had told him about this exceptional rejection of feedback and returns of the new capsule; knowing that they have to use the mic in front of the system for 2/3 of the duration of the concert, so they at least wanted to try it.
Massimo comments “In live performance I have always had Shure systems as my first choice, from the advent of Axient Digital onwards I would say that there is no equal system that has the same or better versatility and reliability. Let's say that I am a life-time Shure fan. The SM58 for example in my opinion is the best price quality microphone on the market and has been for decades. When I started working with Mika, he had been with a competing brand for years. I wanted to get him to try the KSM8 system (which I adopted for example at X-Factor Italia if I'm not mistaken back in 2014 with excellent results) because sometimes I lost a little presence with the previous microphone that was very sensitive to the position. After just one show with the KSM8, he didn't want to change mics until this gig to the KSM11.”
The KSM11 vocal performance test was easy because Massimo didn't have time to do many rehearsals with the artist. “In the early afternoon, I asked Massimo Faggioni (Monitor Engineer) to mount the KSM11 as the main, and the KSM8 as the spare. I asked him to compare the gains between the two (we work in gain sharing; the input gain of the channels is done from the stage) and then I asked him to go into the middle of the stalls with both. With the KSM11 capsule I had at least 5 db more margin before feedback!
The test, where we tried the capsule with speech, to the concert where you used it for the performance, was useful for me to understand the difference in margin to the feedback, of course I still needed a test with the artist which took place at the dress rehearsal.
So I asked Mika to do the general test with the new capsule, and this confirmed that I had a big advantage in terms of level: no hint of feedback even when passing in front of the system, and no typical 'flicker' caused by the drums returning to the microphone.
He fell in love with it immediately. He was very happy that he didn't have any problems and also about the "natural" rendering of the microphone.
Massimo continues: “The capsule features I most appreciate are undoubtedly the amount of indentation, which is significantly less than any other capsule. I listened back to the voice track from the multitrack recording, and it is really impressive how "clean" it is. Also, Massimo Faggioni called me on the intercom several times during the dress rehearsal to tell me how good the sound was, even in headphones. Obviously, the cleaner you are, the better mix you can make.”
“Mika wandered all over the tribunes, he sang standing on a piano in the middle of the stalls, he passed and re-passed in front of the system, and I didn't have the slightest problem. The features of Axient Digital are definitely the exceptional sound combined with a very solid transmission system that never made me miss a single syllable, even in the somewhat critical conditions we encountered around Europe.”
“I personally don't really like microphones that have a very characterised timbre, especially on the highs. I prefer to give character with EQ, and in this I found the KSM11 helpful, as it has no particular "ridges." I was already a lover of the sound of the KSM9 that I had adopted in my time with Antonella Ruggiero, Irene Grandi and others. This KSM11 reminds me a bit of it in the dense and not very "coloured" sound, however, having a cleanliness of signal that I had never experienced before with any capsule.”
|KSM11||Premium cardioid condenser microphone for vocals optimized to accurately present artist vocals for digital wireless live sound productions.|