Live Sound, sE On Tour

Catfish and the Bottlemen and the guitaRF

Catfish and the Bottlemen, the hugely popular guitar-driven UK rock band, have just finished a fast and heavy tour of the US. On this tour, their FOH engineer Mike Woodhouse took his new guitaRF® Reflexion Filters on the road for the first time, and is immensely pleased with the results.

One of three guitaRFs on stage, behind lead guitarist Johnny Bond (left) and singer Ryan "Van" McCann (right).

Woodhouse says, “I've been using ribbon microphones on guitars for some time, and due to the nature of my ribbon microphone of choice, I've always end up picking up a lot of unwanted stage noise from its figure of eight pattern.” He initially tried to combat this by taping up the rear of the microphone, which he said was somewhat effective, “but that changed the tone dramatically, and for the worse. This is when I got thinking about either ditching the microphone altogether, or using something that would help reduce noise whilst keeping the tone intact - which brings me to sE.”

Initially, Woodhouse considered bringing along sE’s RF SPACE, as he’d used it in studio situations for this purpose. However, “it would have been too big and cumbersome to take on tour.” After a bit of browsing he discovered the guitaRF, designed based on the use of Reflexion Filters on stage amps for artists including Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Paramore, and My Morning Jacket.

“It looked like a perfect contender for the job. Small, touring-friendly and I could even double-mic my guitar cabs too…winner! The design is lightweight yet extremely robust; it can be dismantled for touring with ease and does the job to absolute perfection.”

Woodhouse now uses a total of three guitaRFs on all of the band’s main guitar cabinets.

Two guitaRFs during setup, before mounting the mics.

“With these filters I can get the boys' guitars screaming over any PA without worry of feedback or unwanted stage noise coming from out front."

“In the past I’ve had trouble getting the guitars sitting nicely on top of the mix due to the stage noise, but with these filters I can get the boys' guitars screaming over any PA without worry of feedback or unwanted stage noise coming from out front. The beauty of having the rubber grommet in the center of the filter means I can keep both my microphones aligned in the same position, knowing they won’t move or be aligned slightly out of phase, ever!" 

The guitaRF base fits between the cabinets, with an LP Claw used to extend the reach of the filter.

Since the guitar cabinets are stacked on stage, with the mic on the upper amps, Woodhouse chose to modify the base of his guitaRFs for a perfect fit.

“I noticed the arm of an LP claw was the right size to fit in the guitaRF’s base hole. By sawing down the arm to match the rough height I wanted the microphones to sit, I had now added another dimension to positioning of the filter depending on the cabinet type.” 

“All in all, sE have created something for the live market that should be in practice for every touring band. I mean, why wouldn't you want studio sound quality in an entirely live sound environment?”

Learn more about the guitaRF here.

Visit the Catfish and the Bottlemen website.