Three times Grammy nominated Producer / Recording engineer, FOH Engineer, and Tour / Production Manager Ken “Pooch” Van Druten talks to sE Electronics about his career, touring with Linkin Park and his new microphone love, sE Electronics.
Most recently on tour with Linkin Park, Van Druten brings with him decades of experience as a first-call live sound engineer. A graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, he has worked with a “who’s who” of contemporary acts, including Jay-Z, Kid Rock, Eminem and many more.
Do you have any tips on the way you use your sE mic(s) you’d like to share?
“Nothing tricky here. I learned as an assistant engineer in the 1990’s where to place my microphones from the best engineers/producers in the business – how would I improve on that?”
How did you get into the music business?
“I have been a musician all my life. I studied classical piano beginning at the age of three years old. When I was in high school I had started to play guitar because I figured out that guitar players got the girls.”
“The punk band I was in won a ‘battle of the bands’ contest. The prize was a weekend in the recording studio in Los Angeles. When we went to the sessions, I spent the entire time watching what the engineer was doing, and not caring at all about my guitar playing. I said, ‘I want to do what THAT guy is doing’.”
“Later that same year I was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. There I studied Music Production and Engineering and graduated in 1991. While I was still in Boston I was working at a local studio and eventually worked my way up to become the head engineer there. After I graduated I had already had quite a bit of experience in the studio, and moved to Los Angeles. I spent my first four years in Los Angeles working as a producer and recording engineer in the LA music scene.”
“One of the bands that I was working with in the studio fired their FOH guy, and asked if I could mix their live show. Previous to that moment I had never mixed anything live. I fell deeply in love with the instant gratification of mixing a live show and have never looked back. My world has come full circle in recent years as I am getting bands now asking me to mix some of their studio projects.”
Which sE products are you using?
“I am using the Voodoo VR1 on guitars, the 4400 on Overheads, SE4 on Snare drum, and the RN17 on the Hi Hat for Linkin Park. Incredible. I find that the sE microphones in general are really accurate. They really catch the nuances and air of cymbals in a drum kit that the previous companies microphone does not. It allowed me to move the EQ focus of the cymbals higher in the EQ spectrum to be more ‘airy’. With the previous microphone it would just get ‘trashy’ in those frequencies.”
“Also I am currently using the Voodoo VR1 on guitars, and really enjoying the sound, they have a really nice EQ characteristic to them that helps them punch through my mix – a game changer! I use them in combination with speaker DI’s and the two really marry well together.”
“It would have been nice to use sE mics all along. They have significantly improved my mix. I also really like the overall design of these microphones. There is something very sexy about the Voodoo VR1. As soon as you pull it out of it’s case it beckons you to use it. Very cool. Also the mount design for the 4400’s is really smart. I use it in its shock mount mode or in it’s ‘mic something close’ mode. It’s really helpful. sE microphones are among the best microphones I have ever used.They are rugged and can take the day in, day out, beating that microphones take on the road, and they still keep on ticking.”