Zoux and TELEFUNKEN’s large diaphgram C12 condenser microphone. Photos by Dan Boissy.
Los Angeles, CA, May 2022 – LA-based recording artist and engineer Zoux has been putting TELEFUNKEN’s C12 large diaphragm mic through it’s paces for his new band. As a producer he has used the C12 with such dynamic artists as Macy Gray, and as a touring artist, he has performed with Bono, Elvis Costello, and the late Lou Reed and Ronnie Spector, among many others.
Zoux speaks about TELEFUNKEN’s meticulous C12 recreation of one of the world’s most sought-after vintage microphones. “I’m a big fan and have been using it for years, because you can use it on everything and get amazing results. With only this one mic, you could record an entire record if you wanted to. First of all, it’s a great vocal mic. Inspiring to sing into, it sounds great on my voice, whether I’m belting out high notes or singing a more intimate vocal line. I’ve used it for both the male and female artists I’ve worked with, and it always sounds good. It’s an artist’s favorite, because they love what it does for their instrument.”
Zoux worked with Macy Gray on several albums co-produced by Hal Wilner. “She has such a distinctive voice and sounded fabulous on the C12,” he recalls. “It captured such a wide range of Macy’s vocal performances; from screaming away without it distorting or losing a take, or leaning in on it with a whisper. Or you can take a Peter Gabriel approach where it’s intimate, breathy and it captures all of that nuance. This is with one mic. I don’t have to put two mics up, because I don’t have to worry about the singer suddenly belting it out. Can it handle the dB? The C12 just works. I’ve never had to recut the vocal.”
As a working musician, Zoux is also familiar with many types of live performances on television shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, and This Morning.
In addition to vocals, Zoux has found the C12 is excellent on acoustic instruments: “On acoustic guitars, especially, when I only want to do one microphone, I just put the C12 up slightly off the hole towards the neck. Awesome results.”
Another use of the C12 for Zoux is as an overhead spatial mic. “I just leave a pair up on the drums all the time. It just sounds phenomenal’ — captures everything. Not harsh. Nothing where you have to start dipping frequencies. You can get a great image of the whole kit and have those cymbals nice and bright without being obtrusive.”
Recording the piano is well known among engineers as the true test of a microphone. “To capture the piano is obviously a challenge. I’ll put a few pairs of mics inside the piano and I like to use the C12 in the room outside the curve of the piano. It gives me a nice mono image of the piano in the room.”
Although he tracks his bigger productions at studios such as East-West in LA, Zoux has an impressive personal Mac-based personal studio with Pro Tools, Apogee and Burl converters, ATC Speakers, and cherry-picked gear from Manley, Empirical Labs, Neve, UA, Avalon, Alan Smart, and an assortment of vintage guitars and pedals. “I have a new band, and I cut all the vocals and acoustic instruments with a Neve1073, Distressor and the C12. We cut 12 songs in four days. We old-schooled it, did extended rehearsals, and then just went in and tracked the record.”