Bruno Mars (photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images) was among the Audio-Technica microphone users during the 53rd GRAMMYs, at which he was also an award-winner alongside Danger Mouse, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire and country trio Lady Antebellum.
Jay-Z and John Legend both collected a trio of awards, as did the troublingly ubiquitous Gaga, whose latest publicity-corralling appearance saw her emerge from a giant egg.
There was also an all-star tribute to soul legend Aretha Franklin, who has suffered from ill-health during the past 12 months.
In the leading artist-based categories, Lady Antebellum won Record of the Year and Song of the Year for ‘Need You Now’, while Album of the Year was collected by Arcade Fire for The Suburbs. The US group’s latest studio effort was produced by the band and Markus Dravs, for whom it was an extremely good week as he also walked home with an MPG Award for Producer of the Year (www.prosoundnewseurope.com/main-content/full/mpg-awards-highlights-uk-industry-creativity). Lady Mars and Bruno Mars scooped the Best Female and Best Male Pop Vocal awards, respectively, while La Roux fended off competition from Goldfrapp and The Chemical Brothers to win Best Electronic/Dance Album for her eponymously-titled release.
Jeff Beck, Neil Young, Cee Lo Green, Usher, Sade, Them Crooked Vultures and The Black Keys also received iconic GRAMMY statuettes.
In the technically-oriented categories, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical was won by John Mayer’s Battle Studies, engineered by Michael H. Brauer, Joe Ferla, Chad Franscoviak and Manny Marroquin. Other nominees in this category included Widespread Panic’s Dirty Side Down (eng: John Keane), Jeff Beck’s Emotion & Commotion (eng: Steve Lipson), Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs’ God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise (eng: Ryan Freeland), and N’dambi’s Pink Elephant (eng: N’dambi, Seth Presant & Leon F. Sylvers III).
Not surprisingly given his prominence through association with releases by The Black Keys, Sparklehorse and his own Broken Bells outfit, Danger Mouse – otherwise known as Brian Burton – was named Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Competition in the category came from Rob Cavallo (Meat Loaf, Green Day, Adam Lambert), Dr. Luke (Kesha, Katy Perry), RedOne (Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige) and The Smeezingtons, aka Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine (Cee Lo Green, Mike Posner). Producer of the Year, Classical, was David Frost, whose productions included Matt Haimovitz’s Meeting of the Spirits and Michael Stern/Kansas City Symphony’s Britten’s Orchestra. The latter recording also won Best Surround Album, surround produced by Frost and surround mix engineered/mastered by Keith O. Johnson.
David Guetta and Afrojack won the Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for the David Guetta One Love Club Remix of Madonna’s ‘Revolver’, while Meanwhile, Best Engineered Album, Classical was collected by Giancarlo Guerro/Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Daugherty’s ‘Metropolis Symphony’ and ‘Deux Ex Machina’, engineered by Mark Donahue, John Hill and Dirk Sobotka.
Meanwhile, details of the audio systems used during the event have started to emerge, with Audio-Technica confirming the use of its microphones for the 14th consecutive year. For the live show and broadcast, Audio-Technica supplied more than 150 microphones, including an array of hard-wired mics and Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless Systems.
Artists who performed throughout the evening using A-T’s Artist Elite 5000 systems included Bruno Mars, Esperanza Spaulding and Bob Dylan, all of whom used AEW-T5400 cardioid condenser mic/transmitters for their lead vocals. In addition, Barbra Streisand performed ‘Evergreen’ using a hard-wired AE5400.
The backline complement of A-T wired microphones included – among other fixtures – extra AE5400s for backing vocals, horns and rotary speaker cabinets (high and low); ATM350 clip-on mics for strings; AE5100s for hi-hat and ride; and AT4050ST stereo condenser mics for overheads.
The sound system for the event was provided by ATK AudioTek. FOH engineers were Ron Reaves and Mikael Stewart, while the house audio was supervised by Leslie Ann Jones. M3 (Music Mix Mobile) provided their Eclipse and Horizon trucks to create the music mix, facilitated by mixers John Harris and Eric Schilling, while Tom Holmes was responsible for the overall broadcast mix. Broadcast audio was supervised by Phil Ramone and Hank Neuberger, while Michael Abbott returned as audio coordinator. M3’s Joel Singer served as engineer-in-charge for the Eclipse broadcast mix truck, while M3’s Mark Linett served as engineer-in-charge in the offline Horizon remix truck.
FOH engineer Ron Reaves commented: “It’s always a pleasure to see Audio-Technica’s team here at the GRAMMYs to provide both microphones and on-site support. We’ve been using A-T on the show as long as I have been FOH, and most notably the new AT4050ST has proven itself as a great stereo overhead mic. It’s this kind of forward-thinking product development that keeps Audio-Technica as one of the premier microphone manufacturers.”
It was also a good night for Dangerous Music, whose equipment was used by nominees in multiple categories, including Best Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocals, Best Contemporary Blues Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. For a full rundown of Dangerous Music-using nominees, read PSNE’s separate story; however, space here allows us to relate that mastering engineer Dave Kutch – whose NY Mastering Palace studio features a complete suite of Dangerous Music mastering gear – had a hand in three of the winners. Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song and Best R&B Album were all collected by John Legend & The Roots, who released a social commentary-themed collaborative album, Wake Up!, in 2010.