FOH Engineer Zach Fichter Packs an Array of Dynamics and Condensers
South Windsor, CT, October 2018 – Recording and touring engineer Zach Fichter says, “Telefunken mics are the backbone of each and every mix I do. Whether I'm out with Turkuaz, freelancing with another band, or doing venue work at home, I lug around a pelican case filled with microphones and the Telefunkens are always the first on stands.”
The nine-piece, Brooklyn, N.Y. - based Turkuaz has steadily worked the jam and groove concert circuits since forming as graduating students of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music scene in 2008.
“The M81 dynamic is my go-to mic,” Fichter continues. “Between Turkuaz’s collection and my own we use 13 of them for our 32 inputs. I love the 81s as vocal and horn mics because I'm dealing with a lot of loud backline. The tight pattern and high fidelity really help those quieter elements be distinguishable over the wall of amplifiers and cymbals. For reflective rooms I leave them flat and for big rooms or outdoor stages I can add a little bit of high end to get them to cut more like an M80. They're incredibly flexible.”
The nine member Turkuaz band is comprised of Dave Brandwein, guitar, vocals; Taylor Shell, bass; Craig Brodhead, guitar, keys; Michelangelo Carubba, drums; Chris Brouwers, trumpet, keys; Greg Sanderson, tenor sax; Josh Schwartz, baritone sax, vocals; Sammi Garett, vocals; and Shira Elias, vocals.
Fichter extols the TELEFUNKEN M80 dynamic, “I have not used another snare mic since the day I got my first M80-SH. The first time I plugged that mic in and pulled the fader up I thought ‘Yep, that’s the way a snare should sound” and moved on. And Telefunken’s M82 is without a doubt my favorite low frequency mic. The switches allow me to use it on a wide variety of sources and styles of music. When I'm home in Richmond, I'll often mix a metal band with double bass drum one night and a funk band with an unported kick the next -- the 82 is always my first choice. It also sounds exceptionally good on low horns, bass and organ, and it's my secret weapon on floor tom. It has this amazing ability to make low frequency elements like kick and bass sound fat and full even on tiny speaker systems on sticks with no sub.”
Fichter has found a special place on stage for TELEFUNKEN’s compact M60 condenser microphones. “My favorite thing about the M60s is using them as overheads. The M60s add detail and clarity, even when used in small doses in a small room. I also love the interchangeable capsules for live sound. I don't feel so nervous about the mics being damaged by an errant stick or quick changeover as the capsules can be replaced more affordably than having to replace the whole mic. The flexibility to switch between cardioid and hyper cardioid based on room, stage size, and use of wedges vs. ears is a game changer.”
After touring for years, Turkuaz have garnered a true national fan base -- thanks to well-received festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Lock’n, Mountain Jam, Electric Forest, and a performance at Red Rocks Ampitheater with Lettuce and Greensky Bluegrass.
Part of Turkuaz’ striking visual aesthetic is based on each member of the band having a color. For instance, Dave Brandwein is blue, while vocalists Sammi Garett and Shira Elias are pink and yellow respectively. When the band got their first round of TELEFUNKEN mics, each member had one custom made by the Custom Shop in their respective color. “I continually get comments when people notice that the microphone on the stand in front of the person dressed from head to toe in purple is also purple.”
FOH mixer Zach Fichter reflects on his busy schedule and his relationship with TELEFUNKEN: “Between flying, 30 minute festival changeovers, and over 200 shows a year, my mics are subject to significant wear and tear. While they have all held up remarkably well, Telefunken has been incredibly quick to ship replacement parts, screws, etc. as needed.”
The new Turkuaz album, “Life In The City” is now available: