South Windsor, CT, May 2023 – R&B Soul sensation Allen Stone has filmed four episodes of “Live From The Lab” at the TELEFUNKEN Soundstage. Stone, who has released five full albums and has been touring relentlessly, has performed on top TV shows like “Conan,” his work has been featured on Netflix, and his “Live From His Mother’s Living Room” has 13 million YouTube views and climbing.
“I’ve been using Telefunken mics with Allen Stone for 8 years now,” says Stone’s FOH engineer Ryan Drozd. “I can’t imagine using anything other than an M80 on his voice.”
Stone began his career singing at his father’s church at the age of three. By age 14, he was leading worship at his church and becoming proficient on guitar. He discovered soul music in his teens and started studying classic albums from the 1960s and 1970s, inspired by Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions.”
FOH engineer Drozd explains, “My first encounter with the M80 was at Toads Place in New Haven, Connecticut back in 2013. I was working the show as the monitor engineer and Minus The Bear was headlining that night. Their FOH engineer was absolutely raving about the M80 he had purchased and was using it on their lead vocalist Jake Snider. I was eager to hear it at soundcheck and became an instant fan the second I had that vocal cued in my cue wedge.”
When asked about the biggest problems with vocal mics in concert and how the M80 operates in those ever-changing acoustic scenarios, Drozd replied, “The biggest issues I have with some vocal mics are gain before feedback and the amount of stage bleed I get in any of the vocalist’s mics. Getting a vocal to sit right by itself in some venues with minimal-to-nonexistent acoustic treatment is hard, especially when everything else on stage is ending up in your vocal channel. The M80 is one of my secret weapons to combat all of those obstacles. It’s super-cardioid pattern adds rejection points exactly where I need them to minimize ambient stage and crowd noise. The M80’s high output allows me to keep the gain structure on my preamps lower, which also keeps stage bleed to a minimum while allowing myself and our monitor engineer an incredible amount of volume before the M80 would feed back.”
In 2012, Stone was featured on the song “Neon Cathedral” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis off their album “The Heist.” Stone was voted one of MTVU’s Freshman 5 and tapped as VH1’s first “You Then,” followed by an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show singing “Sleep.”
Drozd describes the varying characteristics of Allen’s voice in performance and how the M80 accommodates his unique voice, “Allen has an extremely powerful and soulful voice. He’s one of the few singers that I’ve worked with who is as comfortable in his falsetto voice as he is in his chest voice, or even when he’s digging down deep in a baritone vibrato channeling an amalgamation of Michael McDonald, Barry White, and Issac Hayes. The M80 is as versatile as he is, while maintaining a high level of crisp detail regardless of the register Allen is singing in. It handles the high SPL when Allen hits a high note in his falsetto with ease and clarity, and doesn’t get muddy with too much proximity effect when he’s slowing down the vibe for a more intimate and quiet moment during the set. The M80’s tight polar pattern picks up his voice, and only his voice, while he’s pacing the edge of a stage delivering a sermon-esque message of love and unity through the power of music.”
Drozd has toured and worked with numerous other types of vocalists. “If I’m working with an artist who doesn’t already have a vocal mic they prefer, I always have them try an M80 and see how they like it. I’m currently out on tour with Scary Pockets and have the distinct pleasure of working with two great vocalists Therese Curatolo and Mario Jose. We started the first leg of the tour using another industry standard microphone capsule, and after a few shows of the vocal not sitting in the mix the way I wanted it to, I ordered two more M80-WH capsules. They were delivered in time for the start of the second leg of the tour and we were all extremely pleased with the sonic difference. I was able to get so much more clarity, and Therese could crowd surf and get down into the barricade without having to worry about feedback in FOH or the front fills.”
How does the M80 vocal mic integrate with other mics and instruments on stage? “The M80 adds a certain crispness and air to anything I mic with it onstage,” says Drozd. “It allows my vocal channels to pop and sit right in front of my mix in comparison to the other mics I’ve worked with. Anything I really want to highlight without having to do extra work in my processing or signal chain, like Allen’s voice or Swatty Watkins’ talkbox solos, has an M80 on it. It’s also quickly becoming one of my favorite snare top microphones, it’s the perfect amount of warmth and high-end snap while minimizing bleed from the hi-hats and cymbals.”
Learn more about Allen Stone
Upcoming “Live From The Lab” episodes with Allen Stone: “5 Minutes” Air Date: May 31; “A Bit of Both” Air Date: June 2; “On The Way Down” Air Date: June 7; “More To Learn” Air Date: June 12.
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