Aspen Music Festival Employs New Sanken CUX-100K Microphones

Scott Burgess recording harpsichord with Sanken CUX-100K mics

Chief Audio Engineer Scott Burgess is seen recording grand piano with a matched pair of Sanken CUX-100K mics. Photo by Bonnie Utter. – click image for hi res version

Sanken CUX-100K Front & Rear

Sanken’s CUX-100K Cardioid or Omnidirectional super wide range professional microphone – click image for hi res version

Aspen, CO, October 2021 – For this year’s Aspen Musical Festival and School (AMFS), the new TEC Award-nominated Sanken CUX-100K microphone was used for the first time. The extended range microphone was used for numerous live and live-streamed events, including symphonies, concertos, and opera.

“The CUX-100K pair has found good use as soloist spot mics,” says Scott Burgess, chief audio engineer for the festival. “We first deployed them on the soloists for Beethoven Symphony No. 9, which was a live stream, and they worked brilliantly. The soloists were behind the orchestra rather than their usual spot out front. We had the mics in near cardioid mode for that, on a low stand, and were amazed at how well that pattern worked. They were basically positioned right behind the woodwinds, and not far from the horns, and the soloists came through crystal clear.”

Sanken’s CUX-100K is the newest mic in the Sanken Chromatic line and follows the popular CO-100K, world’s first 100K microphone designed specifically for professional high-resolution, high sample rate recording. The new CUX-100K mic has switchable modes with three settings: Cardioid (Far), Cardioid (Near) and Omni.

The AMFS festival featured as many as a half-dozen performances a day. The Benedict Music Tent was the 2200-seat venue for orchestra and other large ensembles. Harris Concert Hall was the 500-seat venue for chamber music and solo recital. A total of more than 200 events were on the calendar in the course of eight weeks.

Pair of CUX-100K Sanken Chromatic Mics at the Festival

A matched pair of Sanken CUX-100K mics is seen in the Aspen Music Festival concert hall. Photo by Scott Burgess. Click for hi res version

“I can definitely see why the great engineer Michael Bishop loved these mics,” says Burgess, speaking of the late classical Grammy-winning engineer and founder of 5/4 Productions. “Working at 96K as we are, the extended top end on the CUX-100K puts a nice shine on all of the festival audio. And the reach and range of the Sankens were just the ticket to solve some odd staging issues we encountered. On the harpsichord, the CUX-100K sounded especially scintillating.”

The unique design of the CUX-100K wide range 3-way (Cardioid-Far, Cardioid-Near, and Omni) microphone is ideal for a variety of high-resolution, high sample rate recordings. The mic follows the success of Sanken’s revolutionary CO-100K with top engineers and producers who embraced the concept of 100K high-resolution recording. Ideal for all types of acoustic instruments, voices, orchestra, and soloists at various distances, the CUX-100K ushers in a new era of transparent precision recording.

About the Aspen Music Festival and School

Founded in 1949, the Aspen Music Festival and School is regarded as one of the top classical music festivals in the United States, noted both for its concert programming and its musical training of mostly young-adult music students. The typical eight-week summer season includes more than 400 classical music events—including concerts by five orchestras, solo and chamber music performances, fully staged opera productions, master classes, lectures, and children’s programming—and brings in 100,000 audience members. In the winter, the AMFS presents a small series of recitals and music education programs for local youth and families.