FOH engineer for Maroon 5, Sam Smith, and many other artists shares his thoughts on the OC818 and the Hi-X55!

Written by Brie Clayton earlier this month on the creative community website 'Creative Cow', we discover why FOH engineer Jim Ebdon chooses the Austrian Audio OC818 microphone and Hi-X55 professional headphones!

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Austrian Audio, the brand known for high-end microphones, is proud to count Jim Ebdon, FOH engineer for artists like Maroon 5, Annie Lennox, Matchbox Twenty, Aerosmith, Sting, Prince, Bette Midler, David Lee Roth, and many others, among their endorsers.

“I use them for the overheads and they sound fantastic. They’re great quality microphones, you can’t go wrong with it.” - Jim Ebdon

Even though there aren’t many large touring acts on his calendar nowadays, Ebdon has been using his Austrian Audio microphones and headphones in the studio: “I haven’t worked on a big sound system in almost a year, but I’m doing a lot of mixing. I’m doing Justin Bieber’s live streams at the moment,” Ebdon said. “And Justin performed on New Year’s Eve on the rooftop of the Hilton in Beverly Hills. There was an audience – everyone was on the balconies of the hotel rooms which was very cool. I did the broadcast mix.”

Jim received some of the first OC818 multi-pattern, large-diaphragm condenser microphones Austrian Audio produced shortly after the company was founded in 2017. Ebdon says: “I use them for the overheads and they sound fantastic. They’re great quality microphones, you can’t go wrong with it.”

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Due to modern monitor technology, Ebdon likes using high-quality condenser mics on stage. “Stage volumes are so much quieter than they were years ago because musicians are wearing in-ear monitors,” he tells us. “So, we can use high-quality mics and do proper mic placement. I am lucky to work with great musicians who have great sounding instruments, great sounding drums, and I can afford to mic things slightly further away than we perhaps usually would years ago. It’s just so quiet on stage – that’s changed over time. The big arena sound systems are so accurate now and you can hear the difference between microphones.”

"I find the Austrian Audio headphones very open and easy to wear.”

When it comes to headphones, the Hi-X55 are important for Jim to make sure the relationship between the highs and the lows is correct and translates from his speakers to the headphones. He says: “The level of a bass drum, of vocals, is critical for me in a mix, especially the vocal. If I can A/B them between speakers and headphones, and the headphones will tend to make a bass drum louder than it is, because it’s so close to your ear. Then I can gauge how loud it is in the mix. It’s important to listen to it on a pair of quality headphones.” Ebdon appreciates the comfort of the Hi-X55: “I wear them all day long. There is plenty of room, I don’t feel them pressing on my ears. Someone offered me a set of really expensive in-ear monitors recently, and when I’m completely honest, I hate things in my ear. I don’t like that confined space, but I find the Austrian Audio headphones very open and easy to wear.”

He also uses them for – let’s say – rather unusual recordings: “Earlier in the year, I used the Austrian Audio headphones for recording crowd noises for sports events. We had a small team and we compiled all this crowd noise on various levels and of various emotions. We did all the baseball events for FOX Sports, and I mixed the audience, the crowd noises for the World Series. I didn’t think that’s something I’d ever be doing. I used the Hi-X55 for that. They are really accurate. It was amazing listening through these headphones to something that wasn’t music. It sounded like you were in the stadium.”

Austrian Audio is distributed in the UK/ROI by Sound Technology Ltd. For more information please call 01462 480000 or visit