FOH Mixer Gary Ferenchak uses an array of A-T microphones on vocals, drums, and guitars to give the band studio-level sonics on any stage

01-01-2004 Known for honest and edgy rock songs that have quickly captured the attention of a worldwide audience, Good Charlotte is propelled by a fresh, energetic approach and a commitment to staying grounded even amidst their wild popularity. Lead vocalist Joel Madden and his twin brother, guitarist Benji Madden, have connected with fans as hosts of MTV’s All Things Rock, and continue their assault on the modern rock scene with Good Charlotte’s newest US chart-topping album, The Young and the Hopeless. Riding high on the U.S. release of their latest hit single and video “Hold On,” Good Charlotte has been touring the U.S. with a series of scorching live performances, and using Audio-Technica microphones to give concert audiences a level of consistent sonic quality that you’d expect to hear only on CD. Good Charlotte’s extensive complement of A-T microphones includes the Artist Elite® 5000 Series Wireless System as well as the AE6100 on vocals. Furthermore, the AE5100, ATM25, AT4040, AE3000, and AE2500 are utilized on drums, while the AT4050 and ATM25 are employed for guitars. “This is studio-quality sound on stage,” says Gary Ferenchak, Good Charlotte’s FOH mixer for the past three-and-a-half years. “I’m recording all of the shows onto a Pro Tools® system directly from the A-T stage microphones, and the sonic performance I’m getting is fantastic.” On drums, Ferenchak is using the Audio-Technica AE2500 for kick, two AE3000 microphones on the top and bottom of the snare, ATM25’s on rack and floor toms, AE5100 for hi-hat, AT4040 on the ride cymbals, and the AT4050 on overheads. The Madden brothers are also A-T fans; Ferenchak moved lead singer Joel to the Artist Elite 5000 Series Wireless System with the AEW-T3300 handheld condenser, and Benji is using the AE6100 wired microphone. “Among the benefits I’ve gained from the T3300 is the fact that it has great rejection,” Ferenchak explained. “The band plays loud but they tend to sing quietly. The T3300 allows me to bring their vocals up in the mix and in the monitors without turning the volume up, because I’m getting so much more clarity to the sound. You can actually hear individual syllables that were lost before.” Guitar amps are treated equally well by the application of A-T microphones. “Since the stage volume tends to be quite loud, I position the microphones on the guitar amps to avoid leakage from the bass amp and drums,” Ferenchak continues. “I choose the speaker cones on the guitar amps furthest away from the bass and drums, then put them off-axis at about the three-o’clock position, right up against the speaker grills. [Guitarist] Billy Martin plays through a double Mesa stack with a 100-watt rectifier and a pair of small Bad Cat amps. The Bad Cat with a single 12-inch speaker is for the dirty guitar sound, and the second Bad Cat with two 12-inch speakers is for his clean sound. I mic the Bad Cats with ATM25’s and the Mesa with the AT4050. The combination is amazing — it really captures and projects his sounds. On the other side of the stage, Benji plays through a Soldano amp with a Decatone head and Randall 4-12 cabinets, which I mic with a combination of the ATM25 and AT4050. He also has a 2-12 Budda amp for his clean sounds which I use an ATM25 on.” Ferenchak, who has mixed shows as the FOH for hard rockers such as GWAR and worked as the house mixer at Philadelphia’s famous Electric Factory venue, also uses a pair of AT4050 microphones for audience mics as he records the shows. “The combination of Audio-Technica microphones on all aspects of the show really makes a live show sound like a record,” Ferenchak concludes. “That’s the highest compliment you can pay to a microphone.”