For the past 28 years, Jim Neil has served as the head of audio at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, Canada. He's also a sound designer for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada. In his line of work, selecting the right microphone is a critical task that has a direct impact on the success of any show.
Over the course of the past 6 years or so, Neil has used Countryman E6 and B6 microphones on a variety of shows. He discussed the reasons that Countryman microphones appeal to him. “First and foremost, the sound quality of Countryman microphones is exceptional,” Neil reports. “I've also been very impressed with their build quality and reliability.”
“I remember using Countryman E6 earset mics on the two actors in Cookin' at the Cookery,” he continued, “the show about the music and times of blues singer / songwriter Alberta Hunter. One gal in the show perspired quite a bit because she was appearing as various characters and, hence, had a lot of costume and wig changes. The E6 performed flawlessly throughout the entire run. When you consider the rough handling the microphone encountered due to frequent costume changes and the perspiration it was exposed to as a result of all this, the fact that the microphone experienced no issues whatsoever is really impressive. It's speaks very well to the solid reliability and build quality of Countryman microphones.”
Neil is equally impressed with the Countryman B6 Omni Lavaliere microphone. “With Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I used two B6 microphones,” Neil said. “One of the actresses wore a black colored model so as to match her hair. The mic was positioned at her hair line and was held in place with bobby pins. There was no wig in this case, which is well worth noting since the weight of a wig actually makes it easier to secure the microphone. The fact that the microphone's cable was so fine and the capsule was so small made it very easy to securely hold the mic in her natural hair, which can frequently be a real challenge. Equally notable is the fact that these microphones are available in various colors to match an actor's skin tone. This is particularly useful in the theatrical world.”
When queried about his experience with Countryman's customer and technical support services, Neil's response was short and to the point, “I've never experienced any problems with either the B6 or E6 microphones. So what's not to like?”
With their pristine sound and superior build quality, Jim Neil has become a fan of Countryman microphones. “When you're a sound guy, the most important consideration is sound quality,” Neil explained. “In this regard, my experience with the Countryman B6 and E6 microphones has been nothing short of terrific. For this very reason, it comes as no surprise to me that Countryman microphones are even specified by directors. When you combine their performance attributes with a high level of reliability, there's really very little incentive to look elsewhere.”
About Countryman Associates
For more than 30 years, Countryman has focused on developing microphones and accessories that deliver maximum gain before feedback, with the highest possible rejection of wind, vibration, interference, and other unwanted sounds. The result is warm, clear vocals in speaking and singing applications, delivering natural audio reinforcement that requires almost no attention from the sound engineer or the performer. For additional information about Countryman Associates, visit the company online at www.countryman.com.
Photo Description: Jim Neil with his Countryman microphone