LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 2008: June 27th saw a wide range of high-profile artists such as Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis, the Sugababes and Will Smith assemble in London’s Hyde Park for a concert to mark the 90th birthday of the former president of South Africa – and global icon – Nelson Mandela. And with Sennheiser on hand to continue its tradition of supplying microphones, wireless monitoring systems and full technical support, both the artists and the huge audience were assured of enjoying every vocal nuance.
Organized by 46664, Nelson Mandela’s global HIV AIDS awareness campaign, the concert was a celebration of Mr. Mandela’s 90th year and marked the 20th anniversary of the Free Nelson Mandela concert staged at Wembley in 1988. The concert also raised funds for his 46664 campaign to fight HIV and AIDS worldwide. This was the fifth 46664 concert that Sennheiser has supported, continuing a long-standing relationship with the charity.
Working in association with the event’s audio production company, Britannia Row, Sennheiser not only supplied equipment but also a high-profile technical team to the event, including Mark Saunders (UK Artists Relations Manager), Dave Hawker (UK Technical Director) and Sam Davison (UK Service Manager).
Sennheiser equipment supplied throughout the event included ew 300 G2 wireless monitoring systems, SKM 5200/EM 3532 wireless microphone and receiver systems, SKM 935/EM 550 wireless mic and receiver systems, evolution series wired microphones and Neumann wired microphones.
With such a large event and range of artists, working out the radio frequencies for both vocal mics and monitoring was a potential minefield. However, Sennheiser’s experience at these events, and its close working relationship with Britannia Row, ensured that no problems occurred.
“Having worked alongside Britannia Row on previous large-scale events such as Live 8, Live Earth and the previous four Mandela 46664 concerts, we employed a tried and tested set-up,” says Dave Hawker. “This allowed a seamless RF system that covered all the potential problems encountered with a large stage area, combined with an ever-changing bill of artists.”
“The event also allowed a coordinated working partnership between Sennheiser, Britannia Row and radio licensing company JFMG, who allowed greater control over parts of the radio spectrum, meaning that the event frequency planning was easier to calculate and manage.”
Several regular Sennheiser users performed at the show, including Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis and the Sugababes. All of the ‘visiting’ vocalists who performed with the show’s house band – including Amy Winehouse and Jamelia – used either e 935 wired or SKM 935 wireless vocal microphones.
A number of top performers, including Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis, Will Smith, Geri Halliwell and various presenters, used Sennheiser’s latest wireless transmitter, the SKM 5200, which combines the best elements of the SKM 5000 N, including use of the Neumann KK 105 S capsule, with redesigned mechanics, electronics and user interface to fulfill the most demanding requirements of prestigious live events.
“For a singer of Leona’s style, the SKM 5200 provides the perfect balance. The mic captures ever nuance of her voice and the wireless system transmits it perfectly without losing anything,” says Lewis’s front-of-house engineer Dave Wooster. “I really like Sennheiser’s mics. The Neumann capsule is the most forgiving with ambient noise, it really makes a difference because the signal I am dealing with at FOH sounds exactly as it should. It’s like being in a studio – you hear everything that she does.”
“For me there is no better option on the market. From her voice through the capsule, through the conversion and back again, it’s the best. I have carte blanche to use whatever I want for Leona’s vocal mic and the SKM 5200 is what I choose.”
Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Sennheiser’s pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
For more information, please visit www.sennheiserusa.com
(PHOTO CAPTION) Singer Annie Lennox (left) performed during the 46664 concert in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday in Hyde Park, London. The three-hour gig supported Mandela’s 46664 campaign against HIV/AIDS. (PHOTO CREDIT: Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images)