Zydecajun pioneer Wayne Toups endorses Electro-Voice ND Series microphones
June 20, 2017
- ND Series models cover all wired microphone needs, both vocal and instrumental
- Microphone audition was arranged by Louisiana-based Gulf Coast Sound, with a private rehearsal in their showroom
- FOH engineer Ben Husser notes ease of EQ and tight pattern control enable a more natural mix with reduced need for gating and compression
Wayne Toups, the Grammy-winning creator of the musical gumbo known as Zydecajun, recently became an endorser of Electro-Voice ND Series microphones. The opportunity was offered by Larry Habetz of Gulf Coast Sound, a long-term friend of Toups and his FOH sound engineer Ben Husser.
“The more I use these mics, the more I like them. I now have a fuller, more open mix, with less compression and gating.”
Husser, who is also production manager and tour manager, is always happy to try new microphones but was a bit skeptical about committing to one brand. “One of my concerns when we were approached about this was being bound to any particular mic,” he says. “I’ve never been brand-centric. In fact, I had been using three different microphone brands on the drum kit alone. As an engineer, I just want to best tools for the job. But Larry Habetz is a fan and a friend, so we set up a rehearsal at his showroom. Once we tried them, both Wayne and I instantly liked what we heard.”
Of course, the main concern was whether any of the ND Series vocal mics would be right for Wayne Toups, who had been happy with a premium microphone he had been using. According to Ben Husser, Toups’ reaction to the ND76 cardioid was immediate and positive.
“He had been using the same thousand-dollar microphone the past three years, so frankly, I did not think that was going to change,” reports Husser. “But as soon as Wayne hit the ND76, he instantly said, ‘whatever you did, don’t touch a thing. I like this better.’ He said it complemented the warmth in his vocals a lot more, and I had to agree.”
For the rest of the band’s vocals, Husser and monitor engineer Josh Crapo experimented with other vocal mics in the series, the ND86 and ND96, but settled on the ND76 for frontline vocals. “The ND76 is so EQ-friendly, it just fit the job better,” says Ben. “We both love the ease of equalization, being able to dial it in and find that sweet spot, instantly.”
The only exception is the drummer’s vocal. For that application, Husser uses the ND46 instrument mic, taking advantage of its pivoting head. “I always worry about drummer vocals, since there’s so much opportunity for bleed,” says Husser. “But the combination of the smooth response and supercardioid pattern gives me just what I need. Again, the right mic for the job.”
Husser found that instrument mics are also major strength of the ND Series. The tight cardioid pattern and rotating head of the ND44 made it perfect for both guitar and fiddle cabinets, while the low frequency extension of the ND68 makes it perfect for the bass amp as well as the kick drum. On the rest of the drum kit, the ND44 is found in several key spots, including two on the snare drum (top and bottom) and another pair for the small (10-inch and 12-inch) toms. For the larger toms, the ND46 is Husser’s preference. The drum miking is rounded out by ND66 articulating condensers on hi-hat and overheads.
“We get a lot of compliments on our drum sound with the EV mics,” says Husser, “and I like them from top to bottom. “The patterns are nice and tight, so I’ve been able to open my gates up a lot, which gives me a more natural sound without having to worry about bleed. I am thoroughly impressed with the overhead mics, which are very well thought out. I want the overhead mics to breathe and pick up the entire kit, and the ND66 really opens it all up for me.
Before committing to an endorsement, the band put the ND Series to the test on tour, and came back impressed. “The more I use these mics, the more I like them,” says Ben Husser. “I now have a fuller, more open mix, with less compression and gating. EQing the mix is much easier, too – just letting the mics do the work instead of having to cut stuff at the console. Overall, they just feel more real, more true to the instrument. So whether we’re doing traditional Cajun music at a crawfish boil or the full Zydecajun experience at a big festival, these new EV mics capture it all perfectly.”
Photos by Chad Brown, Gulf Coast Sound