During the 46th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards last Thursday, Sennheiser users including Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band were at the fore delivering star powered performances through Sennheiser transmitters, capsules and wireless systems. Shelton took home the coveted “Entertainer of the Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year” awards and also took part in a Lifetime Achievement Award performance honoring Willie Nelson along with Lady Antebellum. Lambert was also recognized with “Female Vocalist of the Year.”
One of the more moving awards of the evening was “Song of the Year,” which went to Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert – the first married couple to ever win the award. The duo wrote the song in memory of Shelton’s brother, who passed away many years ago.
Being recognized as ‘Entertainer of the Year’ is yet another stellar achievement for Shelton, who has enjoyed incredible success as a coach on the NBC hit show ‘The Voice,’ and who delivered his inaugural number 1 album “Red River Blue” on the Billboard Charts last summer – an album that also spawned three number 1 hits.
Sennheiser at Their Back
Following an intense week of rehearsals and technical preparations with its sponsored artists and their production teams, Sennheiser’s microphones and wireless systems performed flawlessly for the duration of the awards ceremony, which was broadcast live from Nashville to an audience of over 13 million viewers.
RF Consultant James Stoffo reports that no less than 12 Sennheiser EM 3732-II receivers were used for the show, along with Sennheiser SKM 5200 and SKM 2000 wireless transmitters. Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band all chose an SKM 5200 transmitter and a Sennheiser MD 5235 dynamic capsule combination to help their vocals cut through the often-loud stage volumes, whereas Miranda Lambert opted for a customized pink SKM 2000 and Sennheiser MMD 935-1 capsule combo. Throughout the evening, hosts also used a SKM 5200 paired with a MD 5235 capsule.
Stoffo appreciates the ease of set up and flawless performance of the Sennheiser wireless: “In the EM 3732-IIs, the ability to align the audio processor to work in multiple modes is a really useful tool. Also, the wide frequency tuning over the entire 470-698 MHz band made finding the cleanest frequencies available easier than it has ever been since the invention of wireless microphones.”
Sennheiser evolution in the Backline
In addition to being the wireless transmitter of choice for Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band, a full complement of Sennheiser evolution wired mics was also in constant use on the backline and other vocal applications over the course of the evening. These broad range microphones included:
(20) e 935 (vocals)
(20) e 840 (vocals)
(5) e 901 (inside kick drum)
(5) e 902 (outside kick drum)
(5) e 905 (snare)
(20) e 904 (toms)
(10) e 906 (guitar amplifiers)
(10) e 914 (overheads)
(30) e 602-II (bass / kick drum / floor toms)
(5) e 614 (high hat)
“Everything about my mixes starts with drums, and I specifically request Sennheiser evolution series microphones all over the kit,” commented John Harris, music mixer. “In particular, the e602-II on the toms and kick drum allow me to get the crisp sound I need much faster with little or no equalization. Also, the balanced frequency response of the MD 5235 and MMD 935-1 wireless mic capsules allow me to capture an honest, natural sound from the vocals.”
When mixing a superstar like Blake Shelton, RF dependability must be clean and unwavering. In addition to sound quality, this is where Sennheiser excels, says Harris: “No matter what your production role is in a high profile, live broadcast situation such as this, it all begins and ends with the integrity of the signal, and I have never experienced anything but complete dependability from Sennheiser. As far as the sound quality of the wired and wireless mics are concerned, I know that all I need is a solid gain structure and I am 99% of the way there. I am so much more comfortable when I know that Sennheiser has my back.”
Blake Shelton performs with his Sennheiser SKM 5200 transmitter, coupled with a Sennheiser MD 5235 dynamic capsule.