Renowned producer/engineer George Massenburg visits Boston’s Berklee College of Music twice a year as an Artist in Residence in the Music Production and Engineering Department.
Working with Berklee’s Rob Jaczko, Chair of the Dept., Massenburg teaches in real recording sessions with students and shares his vast knowledge of recording, as well as bringing new technology and gear.
“Allison Brown was also in residence, with our string department,” explained Rob Jaczko. “She is a gifted banjo maestra from Nashville, so we set up to record a student bluegrass ensemble she is producing. We are very familiar with Sanken mics here at Berklee and when I heard about this new CU-55 mic, it was a great opportunity to try them out during George’s visit to our studios.”
Berklee is in the midst of a massive studio expansion project, building ten new facilities in Boston with designer John Storyk, who also designed Berklee’s new facilities in Valencia Spain.
The new spaces includes a scoring stage, two additional large tracking rooms, a 7.1 Euphonix mix-to-picture room, a mastering suite and a series of production studios.
The college currently has 13 studios operating 22 hours/day, 7 days/week including two SSL tracking rooms, an SSL Duality mix room, three API Legacy studios and an Avid Icon console already in operation.
“When George arrived, we first used the CU-55’s on piano,” Jaczko explained. “Then we moved to drum overheads and percussion. We loved the sound of acoustic guitar with this mic, and because they are small and side-address, they work very favorably when getting them into tight spots.”
The CU-55 houses a side-firing 16mm capsule with a resonant chamber like the top of the line Sanken CU-44x, which has been tuned to create a perfect cardioid pattern and is omnidirectional below 50 kHz. This new generation microphone is flat at 90 degrees, flat on axis, with very little proximity effect.
“The CU-55s really excel when recording piano,” added Jaczko. They give you a really solid, warm image of the piano, with a nice clear midrange. The sound is very articulate, yet the top end was very pleasant, very extended. It’s an overall superior music microphone.”
The CU—55 uses the same diaphragm material as Sanken’s remarkable CU-100 and CUW-180 mics. Ideal for acoustic instruments like guitars, cello, harp and piano, the CU-55 can also handle the explosive levels of big brass and pounding tympani’s.
“We have a number of Sanken mics in our locker,” said Jaczko,” including the amazing CO-100K omnis. “What we really like about the company is that they have a very musical approach to their microphone design.”