Sunset Strip Music Festival 2013
Audix Mics Capture Controlled Chaos
Staging a music festival for 10,000 people, with two main stages and multiple side venues, is a large undertaking. Doing it in 28 hours in the middle of West Hollywood is insane! Now in its fifth year, the Sunset Strip Music Festival closes down the busiest street in L.A. for an all-out rock/rap free-for-all. Swinghouse Studios and Audix have been there from the beginning. Over 50 Audix mics were used across all stages at this year's event.
"We have about eleven hours to secure a block and a half of Sunset Blvd., build two of the largest outdoor stages allowed by law, and set-up the Whisky a Go-Go, The Roxy, and Viper Room clubs," explains producer Phil Jaurigui, owner of Swinghouse Studios. From 2:30 am to 1 pm, the Swinghouse crew has to secure this section of The Strip, install fencing, potties, security, and artist hospitality. Then they still have to erect two main and three side stages, and equip them with lighting, PA, and backline gear that must include amps, drum kits, and microphones. Phil explains, "Because of security and traffic logistics, artists can bring only their instruments. We have to provide everything else!"
"It takes about four months to plan, and requires me to work 37 hours non-stop. On the upside, over the five years that we've put on this show, I've gotten to know the Mayor, City Council, Fire and Police Chiefs, and I'm on a first-name basis with a lot of the local cops!" continues Phil.
Swinghouse has a long and successful relationship with Audix microphones, so they've always been the go-to choice for the Sunset Strip Music Festival. "Audix was the first mic company to work with us starting back in the 90s, and I've loved them ever since," says Phil. "My first experience with Audix was with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who rehearsed at Swinghouse. Anthony Kiedis used an OM5 and his sound really impressed me: easy to EQ with minimal feedback in a loud room. I figured, if Anthony sounds good while cupping the mic like a rapper and singing like a rocker at full volume in front of a floor wedge, these mics will work anywhere."
"I kept trying more Audix mics for drums and then found the MicroDTM Series," Phil continues. "Over the years, Audix and Cliff Castle have always generously provided us with new mics to try out, to the point where we're now almost entirely an all-Audix facility." The Viper Club stage at the Sunset Strip Music Festival was miked exclusively with Audix D-Series dynamic instrument mics (including MicroDs), ADX-51 condensers, OM Series vocal mics, and CabGrabberTM cabinet mic mounts.
"I really like the OM5 for vocals, especially for a blues or hard rock vocalist," says Swinghouse audio engineer Julian Higareda. "The bottom end is warm, not muddy, the high end is smooth, and it doesn't need much EQ. I like a warm vocal sound, and Audix mics really provide that. They sound great with in-ear monitors. For a singing drummer, I use an OM7. Its tighter coverage pattern minimizes bleed from the kit and, if the drummer swings the mic behind him, it doesn't become another overhead!"
Julian also uses MicroDs for snare, toms, overheads, horns, and congas. "I like using Micro Ds on drums. They have a lot of gain, good response, and they're compact. Audix mics work well for drums because they have a wide enough pattern to capture all parts of the drum, including the head and the rim. It's the same with the MicroDs, and the gooseneck clips allow me to quickly position the mics for the sound that I want and know that they won't move after that."
"Audix mics perform extremely well in high-SPL applications," adds Phil. "We don't normally apply input pads to them, and when we do, they still sound clear and bright without any distortion!"
By 6 am the morning after the Sunset Strip Music Festival, Swinghouse is required to make The Strip look like 10,000 screaming fans were not just partying and swinging from the street lights all day and night.
For more information about this and next year's lineup, visit: www.sunsetstripmusicfestival.com
Swinghouse Studios has been in business for over two decades. "We've been an Audix studio for 17 years. I like Audix because it's still Cliff. I get to talk to the guy himself. He's helped us with dozens of mics and we've bought about 150 mics in all. I based the whole sound of Swinghouse Studios on Audix. When Juliann Higareda came on board, I taught him that this is our sound: it's Audix."
Phil regrets just one thing about his long working relationship with Audix. "We loved using our SCX25As for bass cabs, horns, and guitars. Apparently other folks did as well, because they've all disappeared!"
For more information about Phil, Julian, and Swinghouse Studios, visit: www.swinghouse.com