Engineer Rob Sherred is known as a touring FOH for a huge roster of the industry’s top metal bands; a long career that started with a chance encounter one summer. “I started out when I was around 13 years old,” he says, “in a local theater my mother worked in. I was bored in the summer one day, so I went to see her, and she introduced me to the local tech crew who I spent lots of time with.”
The first sound system he ever worked with was an old analog DDA board where he learned the basics. From there, years later, he ended up running sound at a local venue for more than 10 years. “I got to work with all kinds of bands at all levels… that’s when I started to become a touring engineer. I’ve always been a big music fan, and I used to go to many concerts as I could, to see how things worked and also to see my favorite bands – now I actually work with them!”
Currently, Rob lives in Oslo, Norway, and works with Autopsy, Death DTA, Dark Funeral, Borknagar, Carpathian Forest, and Memoriam. In the past, he has also worked with Mayhem, Solstafir, Alcest, and Primordial.
“I first heard about Audix when I was an in-house engineer,” Rob recalls. “A touring engineer had the Fusion series mics with him, and they sounded great. Then I started to see a few other sound guys using Audix, so I thought ‘Why not?’ and bought a D6. I have not looked back since.”
Currently, Rob is using D6 on kick drums, i5 on snare top, guitars, and bass, D1 on snare bottom, D2 on toms and guitars, D4 and D6 on floor toms, and OM7 and OM5 for vocals.
“Gene Hoglan (Death DTA, Testament) is a very technical drummer who plays lots of challenging things – I always get great results,” Rob says. “Audix mics can take life on the road; they’re reliable and always give you what you want. They have really helped me sound-wise with some of the artists I work with.”
“All the mics I use have gotten me out of a problem on stage,” Rob adds. Some of his favorite mics are the D2 and D4, which he says are ideal for extreme metal, reproducing every drum hit with accuracy. “A lot of the time, I don’t even bother with gating or compression. I just let the natural sound of the drum and mic do the work. You hardly need to do any EQ, and I really like the sound of them.”
His secret weapon for the loud metal stages he manages is the OM7 vocal microphone, which was a big problem solver when the band’s main vocalist is also the drummer, as in the case of Chris Reifert (Autopsy, Violation Wound). “The band plays really loud on stage,” Rob explains. “I tried so many different mics and all I got was backline, drums, cymbals just bleeding into the mic and destroying the mix.”
“One day, I asked a friend of mine if I could borrow his OM5, and it was amazing. The vocals totally cut through. So after that, I bought a couple OM5s and OM7s. I use an OM7 for Chris [Reifert], and an OM5 for Eric Cutler [guitarist: Autopsy, Necrosic] when he does vocals.”
When asked for his main tip on using the microphones, he says simply: Mic placement is key. And it doesn’t hurt when the mics look classy on top of everything else. “I was on tour in Asia a few years ago – the local crews had never seen black microphones before and would not stop taking pictures of my mics!”