Audix Sound Engineer

Stephen Shaw


These days, Stephen Shaw wears so many hats it’s any wonder he can keep his head on straight. Whether it’s handling tour management, production management, tour accounting, or FOH duties, he’s got his hands full on a daily basis. Back in the mid-70s, Stephen got his start as a guitarist playing in bands and made the transition into handling all aspects of audio production. The reason? “To support my music habit!” he laughs.

For the past two decades, he’s worked with myriad bands including System Of A Down, Crazy Town, Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, Tal Bachman, Old 97’s, Marcy Playground, Redd Kross, Paul Westerberg, David Gray, and Chevelle-to name a mere few.

Shaw’s done live sound stints on all the big TV shows across the globe (MTV, Letterman, Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, BBC, Much Music Canada), and during a lengthy stint with Massachusetts’ Scorpio Sound Systems, he handled one-off gigs with artists ranging from Bob Dylan and The Black Crowes to B.B. King and Tito Puente.

Shaw bought his first Audix OM series mic in ’93 and was impressed. As he continued to work with a range of Audix mics on many of the aforementioned projects throughout the years, they continued to make an impression on him. So much so, that on his recent pairing with Los Angeles’ hard-rockers, Buckcherry, he outfitted the entire band with Audix mics. For drummer Xavier Muriel, Shaw’s using a D6 for kick drum, along with a Yamaha Thump mic, plus two Audix i5s for snare (top and bottom), ADX51s for rack toms, and D4s for the floor toms.

“The D Series mics have great attack they’re very durable mics,” he explains. “The fact that I don’t have to use phantom power on them and they sound fabulous, round and nice…is great! The drummer can whack the drums hard as he usually does and they’ll still work the next show. And we’re including the I Series, which are kind of like Shure SM57s but is a lot beefier on the low-mids. They have a little more punch and can take a beating.”

Guitarists Stevie D and Keith Nelson are both using D3s and OM-5’s for backing vocals. “The D3’s are great. They’re very flat and don’t color the sound at all. I also like the size of them, too.” And on lead vocals, Josh Todd is using a wireless OM-5 system with a Sabine receiver (and a wired OM-5 for backup). “It’s lovely to have a wireless Audix vocal mic and Sabine did a great job of working with Audix to bring that to fruition. It’s just a wonderful, hard-hitting rock and roll mic. In fact, a really good testament to that microphone was recent, when we were over in Europe. We didn’t fly any of our gear over and were provided with regular SM58s and it just drove us crazy!

The Audix OM-5 Series has a lot of noise cancellation features, and they don’t pick up every cymbal splash or whatever. And it drove Josh crazy because he wears in-ear monitors. When we got back home, he said, ‘Great! Back to normal again.’” Buckcherry continues to tour throughout the fall behind their 2006 sophomore release, 15 and guaranteed, you’ll see plenty of Audix mics on stage every night. “The mics speak for themselves,” he says. “They’re very durable and I haven’t had one problem with any of the mics yet. They take a beating, too. They’re very black, and they go to 11!”

Interview by Diane Gershuny