Full of Soul—that’s the name of tenor saxophonist Keith Anderson’s band and a fitting description of the man himself. The Texas-based Anderson is a musician’s musician with an enviable high-profile gig—he’s currently playing in the horn section with Prince. He has worked with musical legends like Erykah Badu, Les McCann, Kanye West and many more. Anderson relies on the AKG C519 professional miniature clip-on condenser microphone, having become a convert to its rich sound and ability to deliver on every live gig.
Anderson and all 11 members of Prince’s horn section have been using the C519 for a variety of gigs with the Minneapolis maestro, including the last Montreux Jazz Festival and one-off and private gigs. Anderson also has plenty of other work playing with Full of Soul and top-caliber musicians like Roy Hargrove and his band RH Factor, and Marcus Miller. He’s also mixing his upcoming as-yet-untitled live album, which has the C519 all over it.
The AKG C519 microphone clips gently onto the bell of a saxophone, trumpet or any other wind instrument. Its tight cardioid polar pattern makes the C519 ideal for use near monitor wedges, and its flat 20Hz-20kHz frequency response makes it ideal for woodwind and brass instruments. The C519 can be used with a variety of wireless body-pack transmitters.
“Playing onstage with Prince can be loud, especially with 11 horn players. The C519 can handle the stage volume from the monitors without feeding back,” said Anderson, who noted that the horn section doesn’t use sound baffles or microphone stands on stage “because we have intense, calorie-burning choreography!” The C519’s small size and ability to easily mount onto a horn makes it a perfect dance partner. Anderson clips his PT 470 body pack onto a key guard rail on the side of his Cannonball tenor sax and neatly wraps the cable from the C519 around the bell of the horn.”
Anderson finds the AKG C519 works well for all the horns in the section, which include five saxes, four trumpets and two trombones. “All the guys really like it, although I have to say it’s particularly well suited for tenor sax—it really complements the frequency range of the tenor.”
Nevertheless, Anderson wasn’t a complete convert at first. “On my own gigs I used to use a microphone that had too much bottom end and every time I played out, I had to tell the sound engineer to EQ the microphone and roll off the bass drastically. One night, the front of house guy just wasn’t getting it and I struggled with the sound the whole night.”
A friend happened to be in the audience that and lent Anderson a C519. “I looked it and said, ‘Wait a minute, this is the same microphone I’ve been using with Prince!’” Anderson found the C519 to be just what he was looking for, and that its clear, natural sound brings out all the nuances of his tenor sax and his alto sax, whether he’s playing smoothly or going for grit and squeal.
The AKG C519 has been totally reliable on every gig. “I only had to change my wireless frequency one time for one show, and that has nothing to do with the microphone itself, which has been a flawless performer. The sound engineers are very happy with it and I can hear myself better than ever before in the monitors and in my in-ears when I use them.”