Constrained by the coronavirus lockdown, five-piece UK band Mamas Gun sought the means to play together remotely without latency or other issues. A solution took the form of Tin Pan Studio – which allows remotely based musicians to jam, rehearse, create, record and perform music together over the internet in real time – and resulted in alive stream concert as part of the global #DontStopTheMusic music initiative by Sennheiser.

#DontStopTheMusicWhen the pandemic hit and all his work was cancelled, Doug Hunt (live sound engineer and MD of Doug Hunt Sound & Light Ltd) saw began looking for ways to help bands perform together remotely over the internet. ‘Like everyone else, I came up short,’ he says. ‘There just wasn’t anything available that had fast enough monitoring for professional musicians while providing great quality audio.’

Desperate to continue to make music with the bands he loves, Hunt set about creating what became Tin Pan Studio. The technology behind Hunt’s creation is unique and combines ultra-low latency server-based monitoring for the musicians, with studio-quality audio for the engineer to mix. Once a working prototype (then called DougMons) was complete, Hunt reached out to MG Management, Mamas Gun’s management, to see if they wanted to try it out.

‘I’ve worked with Mamas Gun for many years, they have become good friends and I love their music,’ shares Hunt. ‘They were the perfect test bed for the new software as they have extremely high standards, are musically excellent, and I knew I had their patience.’

Hunt worked with the band to test his software and develop it to the point where everyone felt confident using it for live broadcasts, which followed shortly afterwards – one for Soho Radio and another for the band’s own channel. 

‘Getting good results relies on great sounding microphones and good isolation from headphones. That’s why we have always relied on Sennheiser,’ explains Hunt. ‘The evolution 900 series have long been go-to mics for me when I need the combination of great sonics and excellent noise rejection. The choice of Sennheiser’s HD headphones is also a no-brainer, as they combine comfort with great isolation.’

Mamas Gun's Andy Platts At the same time as the band was working with Hunt and testing his Tin Pan Studio technology, Brian Hurst, owner of SoulandJazz.com and a Sennheiser ambassador, introduced Mamas Gun to Sennheiser’s Andy Egerton. Together, they looked for a way for the band to be part of the audio specialist’s global #DontStopTheMusic initiative. The timing with the Tin Pan Studio project was perfect.

‘Mamas Gun debut set Routes to Riches arrived in 2009,’ says Hurst. ‘It promised much and over the years has been built upon, assisted in no small measure by the unique and wonderfully soulful vocals of founder and lead singer, Andy Platts. Their 2018 released album Golden Days was my album of the year; it’s essential listening. I enthusiastically recommended they should be approached to become a featured Sennheiser Artist as their production and sound is perfectly aligned to the values and performance that the company represents.’

Following a series of rehearsals, the band completed their performance #DontStopTheMusic initiative on Sennheiser’s Facebook page, with all band members playing together live from their home studios, and with Tin Pan Studio ensuring a near latency-free stream. The event was a first of its kind for Sennheiser’s live streaming platform and showed just how useful the technology could be when it comes to remote music performances.

‘Bands like Mamas Gun absolutely thrive on the live and touring side of the business. So much of their bonding, creative thinking and growth as musicians comes from them playing together as a band,’ says Carly Martin-Gammon from MG Management. ‘The combination of Tin Pan Studio’s unique technology and solid audio equipment from Sennheiser has not only enabled the band to continue to offer their fans a genuinely impressive live experience, along with all the adrenaline that the best live gigs offer, but it has also allowed the band themselves to keep pushing their boundaries together as players, too.’

‘Not only can we perform and rehearse new and old songs together, but we now have an enhanced quality of sound thanks to the Sennheiser mics and headphones,’ says Dave Oliver, the band’s keyboardist. Chris Boot, drummer for Mamas Gun, is also familiar with Sennheiser equipment and has been religiously using an MD 441 for snare drum recording over the years.

‘I’ve been lucky enough to record in some of the UK’s most established and successful recording studios,’ he says. ‘You are guaranteed to come across a choice of Sennheiser microphones in the cabinets of every single one of them. My G.O.A.T. microphone for snare drum recording is an MD 441. Working with Sennheiser products guarantees a high quality of audio capture and the equipment is always reliable and robust.’

‘It has become more evident than ever to me that these five extremely talented individuals create unique and mind-blowing magic when they play as a unit,’ says Martin-Gammon. ‘Their connection to each other transcends the need to be in a physical venue together, on the same stage. I’ve personally found a lot of joy and happiness being able to experience them playing together once again with the help of this unique technology, Sennheiser equipment and the company’s #DontStopTheMusic initiative. It has kept a light shining on just how important performance is to the bonds between musicians themselves, and their fans.’

‘Sennheiser introduced the #DontStopTheMusic campaign so talented artists and musicians around the world can showcase their talent digitally in the absence of physical shows,’ says Andy Egerton, relations manager associate at Sennheiser. ‘Co-ordinated by our colleague Jessica Dabbs in the US and the rest of the Relationship Management team, so far the initiative has offered a virtual stage to more than 90 acts.

‘We are passionately supporting innovative technologies that enable great bands like Mamas Gun to continue offering their beautiful live experiences and keep the music alive online. Mamas Gun was the 100th performance of this initiative and we can think of no better way to bring up this milestone than with this innovative, high-quality performance from these talented musicians.’

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