ELA M251E, ELA M260 and U47 in the Studio — CU-29 and M80s for Stage
Caravan of Thieves is pictured onstage surrounding a TELEFUNKEN CU-29 “Copperhead” large diaphragm condenser tube mic. Flanking the band are two M80 dynamic mics. Photo by Gregg Nixon.
South Windsor, CT, April 2015 – Rocking gypsy folk troubadours Caravan of Thieves have a new album, “KISS KISS,” which relied heavily on large diaphragm tube condenser mics from TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik.
“Once we got our hands on the ELA M 251E and the U47,” explained co-founder Fuzz Sangiovanni, “we hooked up an Apogee Mini Me into our Pro Tools rig with a TELEFUNKEN V276 mic pre, and wound up getting the best vocal sounds we have ever recorded.” Wife and co-founder Carrie Sangiovanni added, “Both our voices tend to record a little midrange heavy, but with the 251 and U47 it was smooth, but never thin, clear and bright, but never harsh.”
With colorful music and high intensity shows, Caravan of Thieves has toured with artists such as Emmylou Harris, Dan Hicks, Glen Campbell, Nanci Griffith, The Decemberists, Keb Mo, Tom Tom Club, Iron and Wine, Punch Brothers, Tony Trischka, John Hammond, and John Jorgenson. The band stages humorous, theatrical performances, inviting the audience to join in by stomping, clapping, and singing along.
Carrie Sangiovanni explained, “We’ve been using the M80’s as our main live vocal mic for the past two years. In the past we’ve had a difficult time blending our two voices when amplified, but the clarity, dynamic range and naturalness the M80s capture with our two voices gives us the closest thing to the sound we get when we are just singing in a room together without any amplification. This is crucial because our vocal blend is such a big part of our sound.”
Fuzz Sangiovanni added thoughts on TELEFUNKEN’s CU-29 “Copperhead” condenser mic, “We continue to find more and more uses for the CU-29 on stage, to the point it has helped shape and develop our live show. We have quiet duets we sing, we have loud stomp and clap group acapella sing-alongs and lately we’ve been getting the whole band around the CU-29 playing and singing acoustically for a song. Every house engineer loves it.”
Tracking, additional production and mixing for “Kiss Kiss” was done by Greg Giorgio at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, CT. “Going into this record I knew that we were going to be building it from many moving parts,”explains Giorgio. “The idea was to create an exciting collage of sounds, but we didn’t want to lose the organic feel of the live band in the process. I felt it was important to give a vivid picture of what each instrument sounded like in the large attic live room at Tarquin Studios. A pair of Telefunken ELA M 260s with Omni capsules were my go to for this application. They are amazingly versatile mics — crystal clear, bright but not overly hyped. They sounded great everywhere – acoustic guitar, piano, tuba, and percussion. I don’t always mic the room, but when I do, I use the 260.”
Their just-released album, “KISS KISS,” combines the dark humor and sarcastic social commentary of Caravan of Thieves’ previous albums with an added emphasis on love and all the beauty and danger it brings. Spanish guitar style and Middle Eastern string arrangements accompany haunting vocal melodies, while at times the festive feel is colored by tuba, marching snare, bass drum and cymbals, along with circus organ and chimes.