Hailing from Memphis, renaissance guitar player and engineer David Catching is an original member of Queens of the Stone Age, has toured and recorded with The Eagles of Death Metal, and recorded Joe Walsh of those other Eagles. His own projects include “earthlings?” and “Mojave Lords”. Artists including Walsh, Iggy Pop, Foo Fighters, and P.J. Harvey have been drawn to the intimate vibe of Catching’s home-based Rancho De La Luna studio. There, an assortment of Audix microphones are in constant rotation to capture drums and guitars: the D6 on kick, i5 on snare and guitar amps, D2 and D4 on toms, plus A133 and ADX51 condensers on assorted applications including overheads, piano, and vocals.
“I’ve been a fan of Audix mics forever,” Catching begins. “But it’s not just me. One of the better stories I can tell you is that in May and June of 2021 we had Joe Walsh in here with the original Barnstorm, recording the first album they’ve done in 50 years. The producer was Bill Szymczyk, who did a bunch of the original Eagles records. Bill is incredibly famous and accomplished and can have any equipment he wants, and he told me he was bringing a ‘handful’ of mics to the studio. So, I thought he was going to bring in vintage Neumanns and C12s and that level of crazy stuff. But for drums, he showed up with D2s, D4s, a D6 for the kick, and a few i5s as general instrument mics. We had Joe Vitale as the drummer, who is one of the greatest, and the Audix mics with virtually no processing were the go-to drum sound. Man, it sounded so good.”
Various studio standards for drum miking are so well known as to be almost clichés, and as deserved as their good reputations are, Catching finds that he prefers Audix for getting maximum sound in minimum time. “The bottom line is, Audix mics just give me more clarity and punch,” he explains. “At Rancho, people tend to be here three to seven days and want to track as much as possible, so we put a lot of mics on the drums. One of our kits is a 1970s Gretsch, and most artists are blown away because we have a killer drum sound in 30 to 45 minutes.”
That’s high praise, which Catching’s clients and colleagues confirm. “We had Abby Travis in here,” he recalls. “Our friend Alain Johannes was working on her record, and he’s one of the best musicians on the planet. He did Chris Cornell’s Euphoria Morning, worked with No Doubt, and played with Them Crooked Vultures. He heard the drums miked with Audix and said, ‘Don’t change a thing!’ The session was a two-piece — just bass and drums. We found we didn’t need any EQ or plug-ins on the instruments, so aside from our Neotek Elan console, the sound of that record is pretty much all Audix mics.”
Catching is certain this fluidity and ease of capturing stellar sound has directly translated into more productivity and creativity on the artists’ part. “Joe Walsh also came out with the Foo Fighters,” he recounts. “Dave Grohl is an old friend, and this was for his HBO show Sonic Highways, where he goes to different studios with different guests. Now, when a guy has a multi-million-dollar studio in his house and can record anywhere in the world he wants, it’s humbling to be chosen. What’s even better is that everyone on that session who was familiar with Joe Walsh said they’d never seen him work harder or seem happier with the sound and the whole process.”
Even a single rave from an artist at Walsh’s level is the equivalent of a Michelin star for a recording studio or gear manufacturer, but the accolades keep coming. “We had the drummer Alfredo Ortiz here,” recounts Catching. “He’s played with Ozomatli, The Beastie Boys, and is now touring with Los Lobos. He says the Audix mics are among the best he’s ever used for tracking. They just keep getting thumbs-ups from everyone. Lately, everybody is telling me I have to get the A150 headphones, too, so they’re the next thing I’m looking forward to checking out.”
For home studio dwellers who aspire to a career like Catching’s, he recognizes that the array of microphone choices on the market can be dizzying. He advises that Audix’s bang-for-buck factor is an effective decider in this department. “If you’re just getting into recording, even one good mic can be over a thousand dollars,” he says. “But Audix has this bundle at right around this price — I think it’s called the DP7 — that has every mic you need. A D6, an i5, three D2s, and some ADX51s for overhead stuff. This is the stuff that guys like Bill Szymczyk and Joe Walsh and me are liking for miking drums and guitar cabs with these days. We’re talking people who could use any assortment of mics at any price. You really can’t beat that.”