Ola Onabulé livestreams with Sennheiser
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
ola-onabue-and-band1Nick Meier (guitar), Ola Onabulé (vocals), Duncan Eagles (saxophone), Chris Nickolls (Drums) and Jakub Cywinski (Double Bass)
UK - A recording studio veteran and ardent user of Sennheiser and Neumann microphones, Ola Onabulé has been streaming regular live music performances from his home studio close to London for the past few months. With a career in music recording of over two decades, and having performed at some of world’s most prestigious jazz festivals and concert halls, Onabulé’s name is synonymous with jazz excellence and his deep passion for music technology.
When the pandemic started, Onabulé’s first reaction was consternation. “I’d evolved a culture of doing gigs internationally over many years. Most of my shows involved getting on a plane and going to a foreign country where I’d stay for a few days before moving on to the next destination. The pandemic created complete and absolute chaos for this way of working and panic set in,” he shares.
“A good friend in Mexico said I should do live streaming,” reminisces Onabulé. “I remember asking him, ‘what’s live streaming?’. It didn’t even seep into my consciousness as a viable option at the time as I wasn’t sure how good it would be with my less than perfect internet connection and rudimentary sense of what could be achieved.”
After seeing examples of live streams, which production-wise sounded very modest, Onabulé knew he wanted to do things very differently and he threw himself into researching what equipment he would need to start his own live stream.
As things progressed, Onabulé realised that live streams were essentially gigs that could be captured. “And that was the essence of what we were trying to do - capture the magic of five guys in a room really having fun. That’s the raison d’être, the thing we’re obsessed with doing. Then we find ways of capturing it,” he explains.
For his audio set-up, Onabulé chose his tried and tested Sennheiser and Neumann microphones. For drums, he uses two Sennheiser e 902 on the kick and e 904 on the toms and snare. A Sennheiser e 906 is used on the guitar, as well as an MD 441, with the option of an MD 421 on the guitar amp when more than one amp is used.
An e 908 B cardioid condenser gooseneck is used to capture the double bass, which, according to Onabulé is “absolutely gorgeous” at picking up very specific frequencies and capturing the intonation and subtlety of expression very acutely. “It’s great for frequencies in the lower mid to upper mid section where all the richness is,” he adds.
A Neumann M 147 Tube condenser microphone is used as a general mic to capture the body of an instrument, which Onabulé also uses on the double bass. For piano, a matched pair of Neumann TLM 170 large-diaphragm condenser microphones are used, which he has also found perfect for traditional classical recording.
Onabulé’s vocal mic is a Neumann KMS 105, which he has been using for the last 12 years. “I just love it. It’s almost an extension of my voice now and it’s perfect for this setting actually.
For his next live stream on the 23 January, Onabulé will be presenting Songs For A New Year with Chris Nickolls (Drums), Kuba Cywiński (Double Bass), Nicolas Meier (Guitar), and John Turville (Piano).

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