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Styx Monitor Engineer Uses Audix Mics and TM2 Ear Simulator

FOH Staff • News • October 12, 2021

Styx monitor engineer Evan McElhinney

LAS VEGAS – Longtime Styx monitor engineer Evan McElhinney has discovered the advantages of using the Audix TM2 Integrated Ear-Simulator (coupler) for ensuring consistent performance across the entire band’s sets of in-ear monitors.

More details from Audix (www.audixusa.com):

Styx monitor engineer Evan McElhinney

Fusing hard rock with soaring vocals and sizzling synthesizers, Styx defined a sound that to this day has no equal. Their non-stop sets cover all the classics that made them the premier purveyors of high-concept progressive power pop in the 1970s and ’80s, as well as new explorations such as those on their 2021 studio album Crash of the Crown — all with zero pre-recorded backing vocals. Longtime Styx monitor engineer Evan McElhinney has discovered the advantages of using the Audix TM2 Integrated Ear-Simulator (coupler) for ensuring consistent performance across the entire band’s sets of in-ear monitors. Drummer Todd Sucherman’s kit is miked entirely with Audix: D6 on the kicks and gong drum, D2 and D4 instrument mics across the toms, i5s on snare top and bottom, and SCX25A condensers as overheads. And when producer Will Evankovich joined the band, an OM7 vocal mic was the first choice.

Praising the TM2, a coupling device that allows accurate and precise measurement of the performance and frequency response of any in-ear monitor, McElhinney says, “When it first came out, I was like, ‘Where has this been my entire life? If only I’d had this 10 years ago!’” He then describes how he feeds the TM2’s output signal into SMAART audio analysis software to ensure all band members’ IEMs are performing flawlessly. “I’m shocked by how cool it is,” he reflects. “Previously, getting professional quality and similar results would involve lab equipment that cost thousands of dollars. That Audix has managed to hit a price point that makes it available to someone like me is amazing. I know everything is working before Styx goes onstage. Period.”

Styx Drummer Todd Sucherman is a longtime Audix user, according to McElhinney.

Styx monitor engineer Evan McElhinney

“Our drummer Todd Sucherman is an animal in all the best ways. He hits hard but is very consistent in both the power of his hits and where he strikes the drum heads,” says McElhinney “He’s been an Audix guy since before I joined the crew. We have a D6 on the kick drums and another on his 20-inch ‘gong drum,’ which is next to his floor tom. D2s are for the higher-pitched toms and D4s for the lower ones. The i5s are on the snare and we even have an ADX51 on each of the hi-hats and another on the chime tree. Most interestingly, he’s been using the SCX25As — the lollipop mics — as overheads.”

Though the ADX51 and SCX25As are traditionally considered studio condenser mics, McElhinney praises their performance onstage with the band.

“What I like best about all Audix mics is their SPL handling,” notes McElhinney. They take whatever we throw at them without distorting, and yes, that includes the studio products. At the same time, the SCX25A is just so transparent. What goes in is what comes out. And obviously, there’s nothing like a D6 for beef on a bass drum.”

For vocals, the Audix OM7 handheld vocal mic is the choice for Will Evankovich, who joined the Styx touring lineup after producing Crash of the Crown. “Will stands near the drum kit, at stage right where the big cymbals are,” explains McElhinney. “Any mic we put on him was just getting too much sizzle, until we tried the OM7. The cymbal rejection on it is just unbelievable, and it has really cleaned up that area of the mix.”

As he concludes, “All the band members are passionate, perfectionistic, and know exactly what they want from their gear, concludes McElhinney. “Audix helps me help Styx be their best.”

 

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