LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 2009: ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" continues to be a ratings juggernaut, pulling in 22.5 million viewers for the premier episode of the reality show's eighth season on March 9, a seven percent increase over the previous season's opener in September 2008. This season the show has made a number of refinements to its impressive complement of Sennheiser equipment, with production mixer Evan Adelman adding eleven MKH 8000 series condensers for coverage of the eighteen-piece orchestra. Two of the new crystallized SKM 5200 RF handheld microphones have also been added for use by the show's co-host and guest performers.
Adelman has added a mix of MKH 8040 cardioid and MKH 8050 super-cardioid condenser mics for the current season. "I started using them on the woodwinds and on both acoustic and electric guitar. The others are on percussion and drum overheads," he explains. "They're really important on the reeds. These people go from flute to piccolo to baritone saxophone and everything in between - sometimes in the same song."
"They're very natural," he remarks, "very clean sounding microphones with a natural warmth to them. They just sound a little more real. And when the musician gets close to it, it sounds just as good as when they're a foot away."
There's more to the MKH 8000 series than great audio, Adelman continues. "One thing I like about them, aside from their sound, is that there are so many accessories available for them. For example, for television we're supposed to be invisible. You can separate the head from the preamplifier. I did that with the drum overheads and put them on shock mounts, so they're a little less obtrusive visually."
Adelman adopted Sennheiser wireless and wired microphones last year across the board for the show, which made its U.S. debut in June 2005 and is produced at CBS Television City in Hollywood. The equipment, supplied by Burbank-based Soundtronics, includes SKM 5200 RF handheld microphones outfitted with MD 5002 and MD 5235 capsules for the co-hosts and guest artists, MKE Platinum lavalier mics and SK 5012 or SK 5212 G2 wireless transmitters for contestants and judges, plus instrument mics and HD 25 headphones for the orchestra members.
For the latest series of the U.S. version of the BBC Worldwide international franchise, which has now been sold to 38 countries and has become the world's most popular TV program of any genre, show producers added two crystallized Elements versions of the SKM 5200 handheld RF vocal mics. "Our host, Samantha Harris, uses one all the time," says Adelman. "The other is for special guests. Etta James recently used it."
Sennheiser's Crystal Customization Service created the special microphones, which are custom decorated with high-quality crystals. "Sennheiser has done a very nice job," he says. "It worried me, because sometimes these thing can look cheesy and they can be fragile, and these are neither. I don't know how they attach the crystals, but they're bulletproof! And they look great."
According to Adelman, performers visiting the show are always offered SKM 5200 handheld wireless microphones outfitted with MD 5235 heads. Musical guests on the show this season have included Jewel, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Boys II Men, Kevin Rudolph, Rascal Flatts and Adele, who brought along her own Neumann KMS 105-S vocal mic, he reports.
"Dancing With the Stars" pairs celebrities from all walks of life with professional dancers who must teach the stars dance sequences in specific styles, with the lowest scoring pair eliminated each week. This season's roster of celebrities has included the Go Go's singer Belinda Carlisle, actress Denise Richards, reality TV star/model Holly Madison, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, comedian David Alan Grier, "Jackass" / "Wildboyz" star Steve-O, retired footballer Lawrence Taylor, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, rapper Lil' Kim, actor Gilles Marini, rodeo champion Ty Murray, TV personality Melissa Rycroft, and country music artist Chuck Wicks.
ABOUT SENNHEISER ELECTRONIC CORPORATION 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.
PHOTO CAPTION Dancing with the Stars production engineer, Evan Adelman (seated) and Sennheiser's western regional sales manager, Thom Salisbury, find a moment to take their eyes off the action-packed "Dancing with the Stars" set and face the camera. This year, Adelman added eleven Sennheiser MKH 8000s and two crystallized SKM 5200s to the show's collection of Sennheiser wired and wireless mics.
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