This year, the MTV Video Music Awards moved to Las Vegas, trimmed down to two hours, ditched the host and concentrated on the live performances in an extreme makeover that was all about the music. On Sunday, September 9th, five of the 11 VMAs handed out went to Sennheiser users, almost half of the 29 artist performances in venues around the Palms Casino Resort featured Sennheiser mics.
Sennheiser’s newest user, Rihanna, picked up a pair of awards, including Video of the Year and Monster Single of the Year. In addition, Beyoncé and Shakira—both Sennheiser users—won for Most Earth-Shattering Collaboration; Fergie took home the award for Female Artist of the Year; and Gnarls Barkley was honored for Best Editing.
The production relied heavily on Sennheiser’s fifty years of wireless technology experience to ensure trouble-free broadcast of all the venues, no matter if closely or remotely located from the Palms Casino Resort. Eight of the 13 artists performed using Sennheiser mics, including Rihanna, with an SKM 5200 handheld outfitted with a Neumann KK 105-S capsule, and Nelly Furtado, with a custom gold-plated SKM 935 G2.
Coordinating wireless audio and communications posed a challenge, but David Bellamy, the show’s primary RF person, reports that the Sennheiser equipment performed as expected. In addition to 18 channels of Sennheiser EW 300 IEM wireless personal monitors provided by the show’s sound production company, Clair Bros. Audio, Bellamy’s L.A.-based Soundtronics company supplied around 50 channels of Sennheiser RF equipment, including EM 3532 and EM 3032 receivers, plus SKM 5200 wireless microphones for all the presenters.
Sennheiser wired microphones were used exclusively throughout the Foo Fighters’ (pictured) VMA Fantasy Suite, including frontman Dave Grohl’s preferred MD 431 II at centerstage. Guests Cee-Lo Green (Gnarls Barkley), Serj Tankian (System of a Down) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) also dropped by to blast through a series of originals and covers with the band.
Noted Sanford, “Working in a live casino from four positions, with 42 channels of Sennheiser RF, about 300 feet from Bellamy’s position was quite an adventuresome undertaking. Upon arrival, it looked impossible—in the end it was fun and the Sennheiser RF was flawless.”