Archive by Hummingbird Media
Santa Monica, CA, April 2, 2013 – Antelope Audio announced that its Orion32 interface, the world’s first 32-channel AD/DA converter and audio master clock in a 1U rack unit, now includes another groundbreaking feature: the ability to notify users on firmware updates directly from the control panel and automatic updating at the user’s request.
The Orion32, which supports both MADI and USB interfaces and is clocked by Antelope’s renowned 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC) technology, automatically runs a software assessment at startup and can initiate any required software updates at the push of a button.
“Updates and user tips from the control panel and other new features we are announcing will enhance our customer’s experience even further,” commented Marcel James, director of sales & marketing, Antelope Audio. “With these and other new updates, the Orion32 packs a host of features never before seen on a pro audio device including its massive channel count per square inch and unmatched USB performance.”
Other recently updated features to the Orion32 — which is already being used by top recording artists such as Rihanna, Skrillex and Beyonce — include a zero-latency 32×2 mixer, news feed links to ‘how-to’s’ and helpful videos as well as other performance enhancements and general bug fixes.
Orion32: Unmatched Audio Quality and Clocking in an Interface
The Orion32 allows 192 kHz I/O streaming of up to 32 channels through its custom-built USB chip, which provides seamless connectivity to any USB-enabled DAW or computer. The converter also provides 32 channels of 96 kHz audio through its Fiber Optic MADI I/O connections, making it perfect for capturing audio in live sound environments and many other applications. When using the MADI interface, the Orion32 can handle 16 channels of 192k audio.
Orion32 is also an audio master clock, employing Antelope’s proprietary 4th generation of AFC and oven controlled oscillator — both technologies that made Antelope Audio clocks an industry leader for accuracy and reliability in recording, mastering and post-production facilities around the world. The four word clock outs, together with the 10 MHz input, make Orion32 ideally suited to be in the center of any project or high-end studio.
Orion32 is packaged in a 1U enclosure with an eco-friendly power consumption of only 15 Watts. In addition to saving rack space and having very low heating levels, Orion32 comes with an extremely reasonable pricing even for small home studio, launching with a street price of only $2,995.
Orion32: Key Features
- Zero latency 32×2 mixer
- Firmware update notifications at startup
- Antelope Audio precise AD/DA conversion technology
- Up to 192 kHz on 32 channels I/O via custom-built USB chip
- 32 channels I/O via Fiber Optic MADI I/O connections
- Eight D-SUB 25 connectors for AD and DA
- 16 channels on 4 ADAT input and output connectors
- Antelope’s renowned 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking with Atomic input
- Antelope’s proprietary Oven Controlled Oscillator for supreme clocking stability
- Four word clock outputs and one word clock input
- Five presets for fast and easy recall of favorite setups
- 1U rack size with power consumption of 15 Watts and very low heating levels
- A user friendly desktop application available for both Windows and OS X
About Antelope Audio
Antelope Audio is the brainchild of Igor Levin who has more than 20 years’ experience and a number of innovations in digital audio and synchronization technology. The company is widely acknowledged as the leading manufacturer of audio master clocks.
In 2009 Antelope Audio launched its product line of high-resolution USB D/A converters, being among the pioneers designing a 384 kHz DAC. Antelope’s DACs employ their renowned 64-bit clocking and jitter management technologies and custom-designed circuits, achieving unprecedented precision and sound clarity.
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Phone: (914) 602-2913
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Santa Monica, CA, March 27, 2013 –Following his 30 year career as head mastering engineer at Masterdisk, where he mastered The Ramones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Public Enemy, The Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, Herbie Hancock, Nirvana and so many others, Howie Weinberg has established himself as one of the most in-demand mastering engineers in the world. His success led to him opening his own facility in 2011, appropriately named Howie Weinberg Mastering.
The new facility, located in the Laurel Canyon Hills of Los Angeles, features a selection of the best digital and analog gear available in the world. For his clocking and conversion needs, Weinberg depends on Antelope Audio’s rock solid Isochrone 10M|Trinity combination, in addition to Antelope’s Zodiac+ and Eclipse 384 digital audio converters (DACs).
Weinberg, who has just completed work on new releases by Metallica, Fiona Apple, Joe Walsh and others, clocks his entire room and DAW rig with an Antelope Isochrone Trinty|10M combination, a set up which he refers to as “the Holy Grail of clocking.”
He says this combination makes an audible difference for both his clients in the studio as well as in the finished article: “When clients come in, I will play them what the music sounds like with the native clocking hardware in my DAW, and then with the Antelope. When I switch to the Antelope, their jaws drop every time.”
“The Antelope clocks are very accurate and as a result, make everything sound wider and cleaner,” he continues. “They provide much more depth and a sound that I can only describe as ’3D.’ To my ears, the difference is really audible.”
In addition to relying solely on Antelope’s renowned clocking technology, Weinberg favors the transparent sonic qualities of Antelope’s converters. “I use the Zodiac+ mastering DAC right out of my Pro Tools unit, and this is the first conversion,” he explains. “I like it because it doesn’t introduce any color. Honestly, I think it is the closest thing I’ve heard to the source on any converter.” Weinberg also appreciates the quick set up, seamless compatibility and I/O flexibility of the Zodiac: “I like it because it interfaces with my entire Pro Tools rig really easily. It also has five inputs so I can have a lot of sources on there — I can have everything set up on one box.”
For the recording of the final master, Howie incorporates the award-winning Eclipse 384, which is also the final monitoring DAC for playback to his array of high-end monitors. “I realized my weak link was A/D and D/A conversion and that’s why I upgraded to an all-Antelope setup.”
As technology in the studio seems to get more and more complicated, Weinberg likes to keep things focused with Antelope. “I’ve used a lot of different clocks, and am running a studio full of digital and analog gear,” he states. “There is so much digital stuff going on these days that your clocking has to be as accurate as possible. It just makes every piece of digital gear I have sound better.”
To ensure superior sonic results for his first rate client base, Weinberg has a ‘no compromise’ philosophy: “I have the best equipment money can buy, so I need the best clocking and conversion money can buy,” Weinberg concludes. “And I think I have it. You know what I’m sayin’?”
Old Lyme, Conn. – March 26, 2013 – Lake Pointe is a Southern Baptist church located in Rockwall, TX. With an active congregation of approximately 10,000 and four campuses spread across approximately 30 square miles, Lake Pointe ranks as one of the largest churches in the United States. Following the Federal Communication Commision’s (FCC) ruling on the 700 MHz bandwidth issue a few years ago, Lake Pointe turned to Sennheiser for advice on how to restructure its wireless systems. Now, the church regularly uses over 150 channels of Sennheiser wireless among its four campuses.
Every weekend, Lake Pointe Church works hard to ensure its programming and audio quality is consistent across all of its campuses. Working alongside a staff of 14 full time personnel and approximately 350 volunteers, of which 85 serve each weekend, Technical Audio Systems Director Jason Cole is responsible for making sure the “Lake Pointe DNA” is present in all of the Church’s performances and live presentations. He relies on a ever-growing collection of Sennheiser G3 wireless systems and microphones to make that happen.
“Audio is such a critical part of what we do,” Cole observes. “I spend a lot of time with our campus producers so they know exactly how things are supposed to sound, and how things need to be presented from an audio perspective. Again, we are looking for sonic consistency across all our campuses – and having all Sennheiser everywhere makes that process so much easier because we know what each mic is going to sound like.”
Lake Pointe’s main auditorium, which seats approximately 4,500 people, is outfitted with 10 Sennheiser EM 3732 receivers, coupled with SKM 5200 transmitters and Neumann KK 105 supercardioid capsules. Additionally, it employs 10 channels of Sennheiser wireless for its IEMs. “All of our vocalists – particularly our worship leaders – are blown away by how superior the Sennheiser mics sound, especially in their IEMs,” Cole says.
According to Cole, the RF environment in the greater Dallas region can be volatile and difficult to manage. “The RF landscape changes so much in this area that we really have to monitor it on a regular basis,” he says. “One of the great things about the Sennheiser wireless is the amount of bandwidth that we get. We have so many options when it comes to channel selections.” With his Sennheiser G3 systems, setting up and synching frequencies on the fly is a fast and simple process. “We do the scans right off of the 3732 unit,” Cole says. “Having the ability to do the scans, pick the frequencies and very quickly synch them to the beltpacks or handheld mics is a beautiful thing. This is a big deal because every Sunday morning we have to play this RF game.”
At front of house, Lake Pointe routinely relies on Sennheiser’s WSM software to monitor changes in wireless system performance. “Even though our wireless receivers are located backstage, we have them networked together so our FOH engineer can monitor all performances from FOH and troubleshoot as required,” says Cole. “Every now and then, something will change in the RF that has nothing to do with us, and we have to adapt. With the WSM software, we can see all the RF signals going to all the receivers and transmitters all the time. We can also monitor battery life or see if a performer has the ‘mute’ switch on. It allows us to react very quickly before issues come up so the quality of our performances won’t be affected.”
In addition to its vast collection of Sennheiser wireless equipment, Lake Pointe also depends on Sennheiser wired mics on drums, guitars and other instruments. On drums, Cole uses a combination of e900 series microphones, such as the e905 on snare, the e914 on hi-hat and the e902 on the kick drum. “I am telling you, the e902 is the single best mic solution for kick drums I have ever heard, and I have played with them all.” For toms, he routinely uses the tried and true MD 421s, and on electric guitar amplifiers, he will reach for either the e609 or the e906 depending on the tone of the amp.
Now that spring is approaching, all eyes at Lake Pointe are on the upcoming Easter services, which are bound to draw approximately 22,000 congregants. “For Easter, we will be maxing out all of our Sennheiser wireless gear,” Cole says. “On any other given weekend, we will usually have two or three vocalists on a stage; but for Easter, we will usually have 8-10 people singing at every campus, and all at the same time. With Sennheiser, we are happy to have the confidence that there will be no technical issues and that everyone attending will have a high quality audio experience.”
Since Lake Pointe Church began using Sennheiser approximately four years ago, Cole couldn’t be happier about the overall relationship and equipment performance. “We have been so pleased with the product in every respect,” he concludes. “Because our church is so big and since we are really well connected with other churches around the country, other technical directors regularly ask us advice on which wireless systems and microphones to buy. We recommend Sennheiser without hesitation.”
London/Wedemark – March 20, 2013 – The world’s leading museum of art and design, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, has curated a unique exhibition on one of the most influential artists of our times: David Bowie. Designed to take visitors on an unforgettable, multi-faceted journey of sound and style, “David Bowie is” will open its doors to the public on 23 March. In order to ensure the best audio experience for visitors, the V&A has worked in partnership with audio specialist Sennheiser which – alongside other audio equipment – deployed its guidePORT audio guide system and two immersive 3D sound simulations.
David Bowie has been at the forefront of the world of popular music for nearly 50 years, and his immense creativity positions him as one of the most innovative performers of all time. His work is marked by continual re-invention, intellectual depth, musical innovation and striking visual presentation. Re-tracing Bowie’s creativity and influences from all areas of art, the exhibition shows a wealth of material, including videos, stage costumes, album covers, stage sets, photographs and of course Bowie’s music. For this, the exhibition’s curators, V&A’s Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, were given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive.
Sound at the heart of the exhibition
The exhibition is designed to be an immersive audio experience. Sound quality is therefore one of the most critical elements, and the organisers have drawn on the expertise and technology of audio specialist Sennheiser to craft the exhibition’s rich soundscape.
Fittingly for a tribute to an artist that has embraced technology throughout his career, the exhibition uses leading edge tools to blend sound and vision. Audio guides, powered by Sennheiser’s guidePORT system, automatically provide the music and soundtrack when visitors approach the exhibits and screens, and seamlessly integrate all sound material into the tour. The exhibition will use 550 bodypacks with Sennheiser stereo headphones, offering a simple solution that lets the visitor explore Bowie’s music, art, and style with all their senses.
While two audio events are directly stored on the visitors’ bodypack receivers – a welcome text when entering the exhibition and an “extro” when leaving – all other music and video sound is transmitted as real-time, lip-sync stereo audio from eleven twin cell transmitters. These rack-mount units are located in two control rooms that also accommodate the control PC for the guidePORT system. The visitors’ receivers automatically download the audio when they pass by the corresponding guidePORT antenna units, and “know” which track to play when they approach so-called identifiers, small trigger units placed near the exhibits – just like an indoor GPS.
“This is a fully automated yet entirely personal tour, as the exhibition can be explored in whatever order and at any pace whatsoever. The audio is always played at the right time for each visitor,” explains Norbert Hilbich, Sennheiser Application Engineering, who assisted in the set-up of the guidePORT system. Tours with a tour-guide are possible too. For this, the museum uses a convenient bodypack transmitter with a headset microphone, enabling the guides to both make tailor-made commentary for their guests and trigger any of the pre-recorded exhibition material as they like.
3D audio simulation
The audio voyage through the exhibition culminates in two extraordinary 3D audio experiences. Viewing footage of David Bowie perform live concerts and recordings filmed for TV, visitors are enveloped within a fantastically spatial performance of his music delivered by hidden Neumann and Klein+Hummel loudspeakers. This 3D sound experience is also used during Tony Visconti’s evocative “mash-up” of Bowie songs, created specially for the exhibition by Bowie’s long-term producer.
To enable both stereo and mono material to be played as a 3D reproduction, an upmix algorithm by Sennheiser’s Gregor Zielinsky was used. “We had some really old mono material, not exactly recorded under the best of circumstances”, explained Gregor Zielinsky, International Recording Applications Manager. “With the algorithm and some fine-tuning in the studio we ensured that this rare material can now be enjoyed in an astonishingly new form.”
Geoffrey Marsh, co-curator of the exhibition, said, “’David Bowie is’ will integrate over 300 objects and costumes from the David Bowie Archive with high-quality sound and video to create a seamless evocation of Bowie’s career over five decades. This is the first major UK exhibition where sound is an integral part of the interpretation. Working with Sennheiser on audio delivery has been a fantastic opportunity. They have pushed the boundaries as to how sound can evoke, provoke and inspire visitors and they have created a genuinely multi-media museum experience which has been a challenging objective but one we are delighted to have done with Sennheiser’s support and expertise.“
Paul Whiting, President of Global Sales at Sennheiser, commented: “The Victoria and Albert Museum designed ‘David Bowie is’ to be as much about the sonic as the visual. The Sennheiser audio guide and groundbreaking sound system were installed with this in mind. Our sound engineers have used their considerable expertise and the kind of audio design normally found only at major music events. Sennheiser was innovating when many of these sounds were created, and we have pushed the barriers of sound again to enable you to hear Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke the way Bowie, Visconti or Eno intended.”
Following its run at the V&A the exhibition will tour internationally (venues to be confirmed).
The Sennheiser Group, with its headquarters in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. The family-owned company, which was established in 1945, recorded sales of around €531 million euros in 2011. Sennheiser employs more than 2,100 people worldwide, and has manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the USA. The company is represented worldwide by subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Germany, Denmark (Nordic), Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico and the USA, as well as by long-term trading partners in many other countries. Also part of the Sennheiser Group are Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin (studio microphones and monitor loudspeakers), and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S (headsets for PCs, offices and call centres).
You can find all the latest information on Sennheiser by visiting our website at www.sennheiser.com.
For more information about the V&A “David Bowie is“ exhibition (23 March – 11 August 2013) please contact the V&A Press Office firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 2079422502.
Please visit the V&A press image site at http://pressimages.vam.ac.uk for more terms and conditions regarding these images.
The equipment used includes…
(for the tourguide system):
• 550 guidePORT bodypack receivers for visitors (GP EK 3202-5-1)
• 1,000 dynamic stereo headphones (PX 100 II) with hygiene pads
• 11 cell transmitters for transmitting music and soundtrack to visitors (GP SR 3200-2)
• 34 active antenna modules (GP AM 3000) for the cell transmitters
• 48 indoor indentifiers (GP ID 3200-IN) to trigger the audio
• 55 charging units (GP L 3202-10)
• 1 bodypack transmitter with headset mic for a tour-guide (GP SK 3202-0-1 and HS 2)
• guidePORT installation and statistics software
(for the 3D simulation):
• 10 Neumann O 410 three-way loudspeakers
• 4 Neumann KH 870 sub-woofers
• 2 Klein+Hummel IS 153 three-way loudspeakers
• 8 Klein+Hummel IS 123 three-way loudspeakers
• 2 Klein+Hummel IS Sub 215 subwoofers
Andrew McMahon (Jack's Mannequin / Something Corporate) performs at The Viper Room through a Sennheiser e 935 (photo courtesy Genie Sanchez)
West Hollywood’s The Viper Room
routinely hosts performances by over 150 performers a month. As one of greater Los Angeles’ more illustrious nightclubs since 1993, The Viper Room has been an evening destination point for many of Hollywood’s elite and was once owned by mega-star Johnny Depp himself. The club continues to host a ‘who’s who’ of musicians passing through Los Angeles, as well as up and coming independent acts and still maintains a reputation as one of the best sounding venues in West Hollywood — partly as a result of its usage of Sennheiser
Five years ago, Matthew Andrade began working at The Viper Room and within six months, he was promoted to production manager and head engineer. Andrade says he always wanted to work at The Viper Room, having attended many shows there while also enjoying the sound. “When there was a possibility of working here, I jumped on it,” he recalls.
After quickly rising through the ranks to become head engineer, Andrade essentially disassembled the sound system – carefully evaluating every component and connection – before embarking on a new vision to make the sound of The Viper Room even better. “I really wanted to extend our legacy for great sound and build a new vision,” he says. “It was very important for me to uphold the reputation of quality The Viper Room has, as well as share that vision with the other engineers and technical personnel who work here.”
Andrade, who was educated at Los Angeles Recording School and played in a band for over a decade, was originally introduced to Sennheiser microphones while admiring their sound on the drums: “I had a chance to audition Sennheiser drum microphones while working at other venues and I noticed that there was a difference in clarity, and it was very audible.”
Now, The Viper Room features a full complement of Sennheiser mics – not only on the drums, but on vocals and other instruments as well. This includes six e 935s and one e 945 for the vocals. “I especially like the e 935s, which have a very rich sound that is not boxy or nasally as many other mics I have used.” says Andrade. “I don’t have to run the gain very hot on these, which allows me more headroom so I can push them without getting feedback.”
The Viper Room’s collection of Sennheiser microphones help the low frequency and percussive elements translate throughout the room, which Andrade acknowledges can be difficult to mix in from his side-facing loft upstairs in the rear of the room. He uses the combination of the e 901 and e 902 microphones on the kick drum. “I love the combination of these two mics, as well as their proximity effect,” he says. “You can get more or less low end based on how close the beater is and simply adjust this as needed.” It is simple to set up and make adjustments to the e 904s microphones, which clip conveniently on the rim of the toms. “There are three adjustments you can make to lower or raise these mics,” observes Andrade. “Those parameters are really useful in helping me capture the right sound. The small footprint of these mics also means that I can use them when space is at a premium.”
He also uses a Sennheiser e 905 on the snare and a pair of e 914s small diaphragm condensers as overheads – which come in useful especially during recordings. “We have a Pro Tools set up where we send a stereo feed from the board and the recordings sound very, very good. I really like the high pass parameters and 10-15 dB padding on the e 914, since this gives me a lot more flexibility at the outset.” Finally, it is a common sight to see Sennheiser e 906s on the guitar amps and MD 421 IIs on the bass amps. “The thing I love about the e 906s is that you can just hang them over the side and they sound great,” says Andrade. “This eliminates mic stands and other hassles.”
“With Sennheiser microphones, I get a ‘whole body experience’ that you can feel, especially at the low end,” Andrade concludes. “I really make an effort to understand the sound and vision all the artists that play here really have. I want to stay true to the sound, and with Sennheiser, I feel like I am able to do that at a high level.”
Audio specialist Sennheiser announced that it has partnered with Paste Magazine to present the Sennheiser + Paste Interactive Studio & Lounge, an official SXSW showcase event scheduled to take place between Sunday, March 10th through Tuesday, March 12th at The Blackheart, 86 Rainey St. The three-day event will feature interviews every half hour between noon and 6pm each day with film directors, actors, app developers, technologists and musicians. The audience will be invited to listen to the live Q&As via Sennheiser wireless headphones, while tweeting questions to participants using hashtag #SennheiserSXSW.
Each night, music starts at 8pm and will feature artists including Quiet Company, Moon Taxi, The Lone Bellow, Jason Isbell, Houndmouth, Foi Chen, Nicki Bluhm & The Gamblers, The Last Bison, The Spirit Family Reunion and many others. Sennheiser and Paste will also host musicians on the front porch of the cottage-style venue during each day, including Emily Wolfe, Micah Dalton and Seryn. For the duration of the event, attendees will have the opportunity to audition Sennheiser’s latest Momentum headphones, which combine premium sound, style and comfort.
Among the confirmed interviewees are LeVar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Alex Winter (Downloaded, Bill from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,) and Jim James (My Morning Jacket). There will also be interviews with directors Neil LaBute, John Sayles and Joe Swanberg. All interviews and musical performances will be broadcast using Sennheiser and Neumann microphones; attendees will be able to listen to interviews and performances via wireless headphones, which will be available both indoors and outdoors.
Look for updates and interview announcements at Sennheiser’s Facebook page. For more information and to RSVP, please visit http://www.sennheiserusa.com/sxsw2013.
While the spotlight was on President Obama during the public ceremony of his second inauguration held on Monday, January 21st at the U.S. Capitol, there were many private parties, celebrations and events at other high profile institutions in and around D.C. for several days preceding the official event. To support the many festivities, K-array loudspeakers, distributed by Sennheiser, were enlisted to deliver powerful audio.
For All Stage & Sound, Inc., a Laytonsville, MD-based full-service event production company, the presidential inauguration brings with it a packed schedule of high profile corporate events every four years. This year was no exception, as the firm handled staging and production for activities held at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, the United States Institute of Peace, The Italian Embassy, Cafe Milano and others.
“We had equipment out everywhere, and it was all being used around the clock at different venues throughout the city,” says Richard O. Benning of All Stage & Sound. The primary loudspeaker systems the company relied on were from Italian manufacturer K-array, which specializes in speakers featuring the best possible sound quality in an extremely small footprint. K-array is a fantastic solution for the kind of work that we do because these speakers are not only stealth and look great, but they sound fantastic as well.”
All Stage & Sound recently fortified its arsenal of K-array systems, anticipating the increased demand for this year’s inaugural activities, says Benning. “We already owned five sets of KR 200s, a pair of KR 400s and a pair of KR 100s. To supplement this for the inauguration, we bought two pairs of the new KR 202s, another pair of the new KR 402s and another pair of the new KR 102s. Everything was being used non-stop.”
The remarkable events included the Italian Embassy, which occurred on Sunday, January 20th and featured singer Cindy Lauper providing the entertainment through a pair of K-array KR 402s. “Everyone was thrilled that there were Italian speakers in the Italian Embassy, yet there was some initial trepidation about the speakers’ small size,” Benning recalls. “By the end of the performance, there were smiles on the faces of all concerned. They said the sound was perfect, and of course the sightlines were outstanding because there was just nothing in the way!”
For the Cyndi Lauper show, All Stage & Sound had set up KR 402s at the left and right of the stage, reinforced by a pair of KR 102s farther down the room, flanked left and right. In environments like the Italian Embassy, or the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Benning says that it is about aesthetics from the very beginning — and this is precisely where the K-array solution shines. From an acoustic perspective, K-array speakers provide optimal gain before feedback and help disperse the sound accurately in difficult acoustic environments.
“Because the K-array speakers have such a wide dispersion pattern, we can put them in corners of rooms and face them inward,” explains Benning. “With the KR 402s, you have a light that gives you a visual indication of where the dispersion begins and ends. You can stand it right in front of a lectern and when you rotate it just slightly, it rejects feedback beautifully.”
“A big portion of what we do is speech, so feedback rejection is a really important consideration,” he continues. “If a CEO or some other dignitary is speaking at an inaugural party or other high profile event, the sound must be absolutely clear and there can be no exception. K-array delivers for us on this level, time and time again.”
Benning also appreciates the portability and ease of set-up in the K-arrays, which saves not only labor costs, but also space requirements: “You can go in with a single truck and throw in a set of KR 202s with only a couple of guys.” Benning also says the K-arrays have smaller power distribution requirements compared to larger, less efficient systems, helping reduce trucking and manpower requirements. “They go in faster and also look cleaner,” he says.
For world-class recording artists including Bruno Mars, Sting, Zac Brown, Miranda Lambert, Alicia Keys and Ed Sheeran, Sennheiser was the microphone and wireless system of choice for the 55th annual Grammy Awards event, held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on February 10. The evening’s telecast, hosted for a second time by LL Cool J, drew 28.1 million viewers and showcased over 25 spectacular performances by a diverse range of artists.
Sennheiser endorsee The Zac Brown Band and Adele, also a Sennheiser user, captured awards during the evening: Zac Brown for “Best Country Album” (“Uncaged”) and Adele for “Best Pop Solo Performance” (“Set Fire to the Rain”).
As in prior years, the artist dedications were among the most memorable moments of the evening, and this year included moving tributes to Bob Marley, Levon Helm, Dave Brubeck and others. Bruno Mars led the tribute to Bob Marley before ushering Sting, Rihanna, Damian Marley and Ziggy Marley to the stage for performances of “Locked Out of Heaven”, “Walking on the Moon”, and “Could You Be Loved”. Bruno Mars sang through a Sennheiser SKM 2000 transmitter, coupled with an MMD 945-1 super-cardioid capsule. Sting, meanwhile, delivered a powerful, full-range vocal performance through a Sennheiser SKM 5200-II transmitter with a Neumann KK 105 S super-cardioid capsule.
“Putting Bruno on the SKM 2000 transmitter and MMD 945-1 capsule combination was a choice between me and Front of House,” explains James Berry, monitor engineer for Bruno Mars. “We did a shootout with a ton of mics and this was definitely the best choice for Bruno. This combination really made his vocal sound fantastic both for his own IEMs and for Front of House.” Berry says he is running roughly 30 channels of Sennheiser wireless, for microphones as well as IEMs: “The 2000 series IEMs are rock solid and they sound great. I’ve been using them for many years now and it’s my go-to.”
Perhaps the most emotional tribute of the evening was to Levon Helm, who passed away in April of 2012. An all-star cast consisting of Zac Brown, T Bone Burnett, Elton John, Mavis Staples, Mumford & Sons and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes performed an emotional rendition of “The Weight” with Zac Brown leading off, singing through a Sennheiser SKM 5200-II transmitter and MD 5235 capsule.
Earlier in the evening, audiences were treated to shimmering duet renditions of “Over You” and “Home” by Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley, with Lambert singing through her signature custom pink-fashioned Sennheiser SKM 2000 handheld and MMD 935-1 capsule. “Microphone choice is a team call between Jason [Macalik, FOH for Miranda Lambert] and me,” says Chris Newsom, monitor engineer for Miranda Lambert. “You choose whatever microphone best complements the artist’s voice, and the combination of the SKM 2000 and MMD 935-1 works fantastic for us. Miranda’s voice sounds really smooth, and that’s exactly what we are looking for.” Newsom adds that his team relies 100 percent on Sennheiser for both handheld transmitters and IEMs, with 12 stereo mixes of ew 300 G3 IEMs for in-ear monitoring alongside EM 2050 receivers and six channels of SKM 2000 transmitters – each with MMD 935-1 capsules.
John Harris has been music mixer at the Grammys for 20 years and says that attaining outstanding audio has always been the focus. “This is the only show where all my clients are music professionals, so there is nothing more important than the sound,” he says. “For both Bruno’s and Miranda’s performances, the sound of the mic jumped out at me and made me look up,” he recalls. “In both cases, the mics [Sennheiser SKM 2000 with MMD 945-1 capsules] were really well matched to the performers and were ideal for the circumstances.”
Throughout the entire performance, Dave Bellamy of Burbank, CA-based Soundtronics, who served as RF Coordinator and has no less than 15 Grammy events under his belt, relied on Sennheiser for wireless systems. “We used 18 channels of Sennheiser RF for the show, all top-of-the-line EM 3732-II receivers,” he says. “We have been very happy with it and it has been solid and reliable – especially as we have less and less spectrum and more RF devices to work with than ever before.” Bellamy’s firm was responsible for the antenna system and seamless coordination of all the RF frequencies for the show.
Many Sennheiser microphones were also featured across a variety of backline instruments throughout the show. For example, no less than 20 Sennheiser e 935s were used for background vocals, 30 Sennheiser e 602 microphones for floor toms and kick drums, 20 e 904s for rack toms and ten e 906s on various guitar cabinets. Music mixer John Harris is a fan of the e 602 mic in particular: “The e 602 design is fantastic,” he elaborates. “You can put it on a drum and it already does what I was going to do to it – it is great at impact, especially at the bottom and top end.”
Harris says that he continues to receive impeccable support from Sennheiser, which is invaluable at a time when technology is moving so fast: “Sennheiser looks after their products well and having someone on the ground like their artist rep Tim Moore is spectacular. I get the feeling that Sennheiser has a real pulse on their products and that the company is moving forward all the time.”
The Super Bowl continues to reign supreme as the most watched television sporting event around the world, shattering broadcast viewership records year over year. Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers featured an electrifying halftime performance by worldwide superstar Beyoncé at the New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
With so many millions of fans resolutely focused on the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show on February 3, there was absolutely no margin for error. Therefore it should come as no surprise that Beyoncé’s audio crew and the musical segment’s veteran production provider ATK Audiotek chose Sennheiser’s predictably reliable wireless technology and exemplary sound quality. Continuing in the tradition of last year’s record-breaking halftime show by Madonna, who also performed with Sennheiser, Beyoncé’s 12-minutes-plus performance featured a medley of some of her best known tunes and a reunion of Destiny’s Child.
Beyoncé, a 17-time Grammy Award-winner and longtime Sennheiser user, took the stage at halftime with her signature custom chrome-finish Sennheiser SKM 5200-II handheld transmitter, topped with an MD 5235 dynamic capsule. “She’s got such a huge voice,” said Stephen Curtin of Eighth Day Sound Systems, who is also Beyoncé’s front-of-house engineer. “It’s difficult to put her on a lot of other mics as she can pretty easily distort a capsule if she’s really on it. To have the comfort of knowing that’s not going to be a problem, right off the top, is a huge thing for me.”
Beyoncé and her all-female band and dance troupe performed a medley of hits including “Love On Top”, “Crazy In Love”, “End Of Time” and “Baby Boy” before her Destiny’s Child band mates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined her for tracks including “Bootylicious” and “Independent Woman”. Rowland and Williams also stayed on-stage for Beyoncé’s smash hit “Single Ladies”, leaving her to deliver “Halo” solo for the grand finale.
“Nothing beats the quality and the frequency response of the RF compander in the Sennheiser equipment,” observed Jason Kirschnick, Chief Technology Officer, Eighth Day Sound Systems, Beyoncé’s tour production provider. “If you want sound quality, it’s pretty much unmatched when you put it out in the field against other manufacturers.”
Monitor engineer Demetrius Moore sums up the prowess of the microphone’s sonic attributes even more succinctly: “The Sennheiser SKM 5200 is the world’s best sounding live wireless vocal microphone, hands down,” he says.
Prior to kick-off, and using a matte black Sennheiser SKM 5200-II transmitter with an MD 5235 dynamic capsule, Alicia Keys performed the Star Spangled Banner seated at a piano on a stage which was in the shape of the NFL logo. Keys’ voice was shimmering and crystal-clear, and her moving rendition of the national anthem served as the perfect spark to what would become one of the more memorable Super Bowl events in recent history.
Sennheiser’s advanced RF technology is tremendously beneficial during special events such as the Super Bowl, where this year Jason Eskew and the Professional Wireless Systems team coordinated more than 80 audio and comms channels. Stephen Curtin is carrying a total of 12 channels of Sennheiser EM 3732-II wireless receivers on the current leg of Beyoncé’s tour. There are eight channels for SKM 5200-II handhelds, including a main and backup for Beyoncé, three background vocalists and guests, plus four channels for horns. The horn players all use SK 5212-II belt pack transmitters.
“From a technical perspective, RF is a big selling point simply because we can get the 3732 as a wideband product and cover the whole frequency range,” explains Curtin. “That gives us the greatest ease of fitting it in where we can, especially in crowded RF environments. There aren’t a lot of products that can do that; everything else is specific to a certain bandwidth.”
“Sonically, Sennheiser has always been my preference,” he continues. “There’s always a significant difference when you hear someone using another product compared with a Sennheiser.” The off-axis rejection of the Sennheiser vocal mic is another benefit that Curtin appreciates. “Having great directivity and being able to get a significant amount of gain before feedback is a pretty big deal.”
Rafa Sardina pictured next to his Antelope Audio Trinity /10M combination.
Rafa Sardina is one of the most in-demand producer/mixer/engineers in the country and over the course of his storied career he has scooped up no less than eleven Grammy Awards for his work with the most successful artists in the world. Several years ago, Sardina opened his own commercial studio, ‘After Hours,’ to provide his elite clientele with a creatively inspiring environment where they could access the best equipment in the world, with Sardina himself at the helm. Antelope Audio
‘s clocks were among the core ‘building blocks’ of “After Hours’ technical infrastructure.
“I have been experimenting with many clocks over the years and now use Antelope Audio exclusively,” says Sardina. He recalls the first time he was introduced to the company’s studio clocking devices: “I was doing some movie scoring sessions and needed to use different sampling rates on the same clock because some of the composers had started the project using different sampling rates. The Antelope OCX-V was the only box I could find that could simultaneously lock into different sampling rates.” Sardina liked what he heard. “I was blown away and purchased it right away.”
After his initial ‘honeymoon period’ with Antelope, Sardina then began experimenting with Antelope’s atomic clocking technology and soon purchased the Trinity / 10M combination. Since then, he has never looked back and says difference it has made in his studio is ‘absolutely audible.’”You really have to compare clocks side by side to hear the difference. And after you first hear it, you realize that the Antelope clocking technology is superior.”
Sardina currently has an Antelope Audio Trinity / 10M combination in his main studio, in addition to two OCX-Vs that he uses in his Pro Tools rig and a separate B-room upstairs. For Sardina, the Trinity/10M combination adds another dimension to the audio. “People tend to concentrate too much on preamps and EQs when upgrading their studios, but for me, great clocking makes all the difference,” Sardina observes. “Acoustics, speakers and clocking are the three most important ingredients in getting a great sound. Make these the number one investment in a studio, and it will completely change your world.”
As for the sonics of the Trinity/10M combo, he says this “opens up the soundstage for everything. You can always feel the wideness of the track with Antelope. You can’t hear this width when using inferior word clocks.” He says his Trinity/10M also makes the sonic image more defined across the frequency range: “I feel a more defined low end with less distortion, and a greater openness in the high end,” he says. “Antelope’s clocks opened up my eyes in many ways.”
Oftentimes, investing in clocking technology may not be the most popular choice when upgrading a studio – but not for Sardina. “When artists ask me for advice when setting up their home studios, they are always surprised when I am not hyping the latest preamps or converters. Instead, I am talking about speakers and clocks. This is because it is most important to know what you are listening to.”
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