At the 37th Annual CMA Awards, held November 5, 2003, at the GrandOle Opry House in Nashville, all but two of the vocal microphonesfeatured in 21 live performances were Sennheiser's, as were all of thewireless lavalier mics. Among those performing at the show were AlisonKrause, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, George Strait and DarrelWorley, all of whom were mixed through an ATI Paragon PII Productionconsole.
Pictured: Norah Jones and Dolly Parton each chose a Sennheiser 5000Nwireless system for their duet at the Country Music Awards. Photo:Getty Images
"There were 14 Sennheisers," said production mixer Pat Baltzell,whose Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Baltzell Audio has also been involvedwith the annual Academy Awards broadcast for many years and suchtelevised events as the opening and closing ceremonies of the WinterOlympic Games in 2002. "This is the only music award show that I'veseen where the majority of the wireless microphones were one brand. Andwe ended up using all of them."
Sennheiser 5000 Series wireless handheld vocal microphones andNeumann KK 105-S capsules for the telecast were supplied by KevinSanford's Wireless First. Jeff Drigette, based out of the company'sBoston office, was on hand to set up and maintain the RF systems, whichincluded Sennheiser EM 3032 receivers and MKE 2 lavalier microphonesand SK 5012 miniature beltpacks. Head broadcast mixer Mark Reppspecified the Sennheisers for the show.
The three-hour music awards show, telecast live on CBS, was thefirst outing for the custom-manufactured, 64-input ATI Paragon II. Themixing console was commissioned by Gaylord Entertainment Center, ownerand operator of the venue, to replace an 11-year-old ATI P40 desk.
"I told them that I would like to have the new console that wasscheduled to be put in place in time for the CMAs," said Baltzell, whowas the sound designer of the installed loudspeaker system in the hall."So they went ahead and expedited the shipping and installation. Itperformed just fine and the EQ worked great. I was basically doing thelive-to-track performances. I also did all the production mixing, allthe dialog—such as the awards, the podiums, the lavs, thevideotape inserts—all the housekeeping stuff of an awardsshow."