For many people across Victoria, the long wait for a return to live music is now over- recently heralded by the reopening of key venues throughout the state. One such being the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s Plenary, where Master singer-songwriter Ben Folds recently returned to perform live alongside the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Norwest Productions, one of Australasia’s largest audio companies and a regular production facilitator at the Plenary, was tasked with production of the show audio. Among Norwest’s carefully selected loadout were a pair of Austrian Audio OC818 microphones, specifically chosen to handle the dynamics of Folds’ grand piano.
Over the years, Folds has created an enormous body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, multiple solo albums, and numerous collaborative classical records. As a renowned pop artist as well as a critically-acclaimed classical music composer, Folds’ approach to piano can be both vigorous and subtle, as FOH engineer Ricky Gallagher explains-
“This was a show with the dynamics of pop music but also with the delicately arranged, soft orchestral sections of something more symphonic. The OC818 is a very capable microphone, and it made the piano sound exactly as dynamic and as prominent as it needed to be here.”
One of the most exciting new microphones to grace the pro audio market in recent years, the OC818 is a large diaphragm condenser with a rich set of features. The OC818 offers multiple polar patterns, microprocessor control of polarization voltages and dual outputs for recording each diaphragm separately. Combining elements of both classic and futuristic design, Austrian Audio’s flagship microphone has become an important tool for many technicians seeking both the clarity of modern engineering and the warmth of a large diaphragm condenser.
“I would describe the OC818 as having a very smooth sound; but it can be both bitey and weighty at times too- perfect for capturing the rich tones of a Grand. It helped the piano cut through the mix perfectly.”