Rising stars The Band Perry is touring with a selection of Shure microphones, under the direction of trusted engineers Earl Neal (front of house) and Justin Beckstead (monitors).
The Band Perry’s calling card is the sweet vocal harmony between brothers Reid and Neil and their big sister Kimberly.
For most performances, an SM86 is Kimberly’s vocal microphone while Reid and Neil use Beta 58As, but the band has also recently opted for Shure Super 55s on some songs. In addition, the band will occasionally use KSM9s for vocals.
“We initially chose the Super 55s because of their look, but I really like what the mics sound like,” explains engineer Earl Neal. “The capsule sounds good, especially for acoustic-driven music.”
But depending on the venue or the stage configuration, he can swap Shure microphones, changing frequency responses without sacrificing quality. “For some recent opening slots, we had limited stage space – the vocals were sitting 10 feet from the drums. So we brought out the KSM9s on supercardioid just to tighten things up a bit.”
Neal is no stranger to mic swapping, though some decisions have been stranger than others. “Probably the oddest thing I’ve ever done was use a wireless vocal mic as a hi-hat mic,” he says. “I was mixing with Aerosmith, and Steven [Tyler] used to shove his vocal mic near the hi-hat and say, ‘That’s what I want the hi-hat to sound like.”
Neal tried all manner of mics, EQs, and compression before deciding to give the Hall of Fame frontman exactly what he asked for. “Finally, I put the wireless vocal mic back there, mimicked his channel, and he was happy.”
Justin Beckstead has been a fan of Shure’s in-ear products for years. He recalls, “When the Shure [PSM] 600 came out, that was a great leap forward from the existing technology.” Now, with The Band Perry, he’s using the PSM1000, and is pleased with features like CueMode, which allows monitoring of up to 20 different channels on one bodypack.
“I use the CueMode if we go out on fly dates, and we have a limited number of packs and units. It’s very helpful, because you not only monitor the mix; you monitor the frequency that it’s on. So if they’re taking hits, you’re hearing it.” Beckstead is quick to add, “Although, that almost never happens with the PSM1000.”
The ability to monitor so many channels from his own bodypack provides added flexibility, allowing Beckstead to roam the venue as necessary. “I’ll walk all the way to front of house, or out into the stands,” he says.