Audio-Technica microphones are used for WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour’s live broadcast, hosted by Michael Johnathon. Photo by Bob DeMattina. (This photo is property of WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. Unauthorized use, alteration or reproduction of this photograph is strictly prohibited.)
Host regards AE6100 as “the best vocal microphone ever built”
Listeners tune in to WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour for performances by artists like Roger McGuinn and the Blind Boys of Alabama—acoustic music in its purest, clearest state, thanks to the show’s extensive use of Audio-Technica microphones.
Produced at Lexington’s Kentucky Theater and hosted by folksinger/songwriter/author Michael Johnathon, this live-audience radio show is broadcast on 444 radio stations in 28 countries to an estimated one million listeners each week.
“What we have done with WoodSongs is create a network of partners that share our dedication to being the best and having the finest products for acoustic music in the world,” says Johnathon, citing partnerships the program has with Deering Banjos, Behringer Amps, D’Addario Strings, Intellitouch Tuners and Levy’s Leathers, which makes leather guitar gig bags.
“Every company associated with the show is the absolute best at what it does, and Audio-Technica is no exception. Virtually every single instrument used in the show is acoustic, and only A-T microphones have the quality necessary to convey how good the performers and their instruments are. If you have the world’s best banjo, or guitar, or drum, why would you use anything less than the world’s best microphones on them?”
Johnathon is particularly fond of the AE6100 hypercardioid dynamic microphone. “It’s the vocal microphone that every singer on the show uses,” he explains. “It’s simply the best vocal performance microphone ever built, anywhere in the world. And every singer we’ve had on the show seems to love it as much as I do.”
Kevin Johnson is the program’s Technical Director and Chief Engineer. He runs down the key A-T microphones he uses weekly on the show and what he likes best about them:
AT4033 — “We use them for a variety of things, including crowd mics. But they really shine in an X-Y stereo configuration on bluegrass artists. It gives a bigger stereo image and really updates the sound.”
AT4041 — “A great acoustic instrument microphone. Guitars, mandolins, fiddles — it can handle them all. And like all A-T microphones, it far outperforms its price.”
AT4047 — “The 4047 is the sweet member of the 40 Series family. Where the 4033 is very in-your-face realistic, and the 4050 is flatter-sounding, the 4047 is especially good on harsh vocals and very flattering to female vocals. Warm, natural and sweet.”
AE6100 — “This one just blew me away. I’d been a Beta 58 user for years and was used to seeing clones of them. But the AE6100 is no clone — it’s more intimate sounding, warmer and it sounds like a studio microphone. An amazing accomplishment.”
AE2500 — “Another great technical achievement, and very practical. You can take this dual-element microphone and put it on a 20-inch jazz kick that has no sound hole and make it work. It’s also great on stand-up bass. It can capture the low end and the thump. In bluegrass, the bass is the drummer.”
PRO 35ax — “This clip-on microphone captures anything that moves a lot — a horn or fiddle player. It’s the industry standard for that application.”
ATM25 — “A nice punchy low end for kicks and floor toms or upright bass. Again, it sounds like three times the money. That’s something A-T is really good at.”
Johnathon, who describes himself as “the show’s Garrison Keillor,” is passionate about the quality of music that WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour presents each week. “The entire show is a labor of love,” he remarks, noting that no one — not the program’s 36-member crew or Johnathon himself — draws any salary from the broadcasts. “It’s all about the pursuit of perfection in music, and a great instrument played by a great musician through a great microphone — now that’s the ultimate perfection.”
An archive of past shows is available online at www.woodsongs.com, where visitors can sample the show and watch the broadcast’s use of the A-T mics (stereo sound and video are offered to broadband users). During the summer of 2005, the program will become a national TV series in the U.S. on the new Bluehighway Television Network.