Country music star and EV mic endorser Neal McCoy, his band and crew had a typically busy touring schedule this past year, criss-crossing the United States with their trusty EV microphones in tow. Steve “Sonny“ Taylor has been Neal McCoy’s FOH engineer for over six years, during which time he’s mixed Neal’s show over 800 times. Sonny’s relationship with EV continues to go from strength to strength, both onstage and behind the scenes. Sonny commented:
“It’s really important that we can rely on our microphones night after night - consistent performance is a primary concern when you’re out on the road as much as we are. Similarly, working with EV is like being part of a family. As a manufacturer, EV has a genuine concern for the people who use their products: they are receptive to performance reports from the trenches, and they ensure we have what we need, when we need it. Sure, it’s a great thing to start off with a quality product, but being able to be part of an ongoing commitment to innovation just adds to that family dynamic - an extension of the band and crew family that develops over years of playing 100-plus shows annually. Working with EV also means looking beyond the conventions of mic’ing that are accepted by so many engineers - it’s all about the push/pull of product development and practical feedback.“
Neal McCoy and his band use RE1™ wireless systems with RE510™ premium vocal condenser capsules for the main and backing vocals, and beltpacks for all the guitars - a total of 11 systems. Neal McCoy is also currently demoing the new RE410™ capsule on his handheld. The drums feature an array of EV mics - N/D468™s on skins and RE200™ condensers on brass, with an N/D868™ on kick. A Cobalt™ Co4 dynamic mic sits by the snare top, and an N/D478™ multi-purpose mic takes care of the clave. RE200s multi-task as overheads. Similarly, Sonny multi-tasks the renowned N/D868 kickdrum mic on both the bass cab and one guitar cab. An N/D767a is used for talkback between the band and monitor engineer Norm Sida via in-ears.
Sonny filled in the details: “Neal’s longtime drummer Lynn Massey wanted a background vocal mic that could resolve that age-old issue - cymbal bleedover. But he also needed a mic that could be precisely fixed in position - he didn’t want to use a headset. So we needed a high-gain-before feedback solution, ideally with a positionable capsule, as found on the N/D468 instrument mic, which we had been using loaded with an N/D767a™ element. (EV microphone engineer) Bruce Schaefbauer listened to my suggestion when we met at the Minneapolis show, and, a couple of weeks later he had a prototype ready for me - an N/D967™ modified with a custom moving head. With that kind of high gain before feedback performance and tight pattern response, the issue is resolved. Similarly, (General Manager, EV & Telex wired and wireless microphones) Joel Johnson came up with an innovative solution for mic’ing the snare bottom - the new RE92L™ lavalier mic with external preamp - a high performance mic in a tiny package. The snare sounds a lot crisper and fuller now, and can be far more precisely positioned under the snare sweet spot that anything we’ve used before. Another example of this kind of experimentation? We use two N/D868 kickdrum mics on the guitarist’s boutique combo. They sound fantastic, allowing me to faithfully reproduce the amp’s warm tube sound in the mix with much more control over the lows and low mids. We’ve really personalized our mic setup in this sense, experimenting with various mics in various applications with great results, and also seeing our suggestions for improvements become real on the R&D end of things.“
Monitor engineer Norm Sida, who has worked with Neal McCoy for nearly ten years, added his own thought on working with EV: “I’ve been working with EV mics for a long time - from back when I worked for a production company - and have seen the various models evolve in step with both the demands of touring and technological innovations. The mics we use really represent the dedication of the people who design and engineer them using input from people like Sonny and me, who use them on a daily basis. That attention to detail makes a difference when it comes to a quick turnaround on modifications, or getting new models into our hands. For example, the EV guys brought us a couple of the new RE410 capsules for Neal’s RE1 handheld, just for the sake of experimentation. We haven’t taken it off since - it’s a little hotter on the highs than the RE510, and is an ideal compliment for Neal’s voice. I also really like the ClearScan™ feature on the RE1 - the day goes by a lot faster when you don’t have to search manually for a clean frequency - one button does it for you - which saves a lot of time in an all-wireless band like this. At the end of the day, perhaps the most important feature of our mics is their reliability. EV mics are tough - Neal often throws his handheld to me at the end of the set, and, when I don’t quite make the catch, the mics still make the grade the next night!“
Please visit his website at http//:www.nealmccoy.com