Sennheiser UK celebrates ninth year in support of the BRITS

Date: 22/03/2011
Sennheiser UK celebrates ninth year in support of the BRITS A new venue, reduced load in time and more live music than ever before meant the 2011 BRIT Awards was set to test the mettle of its audio crew. But with a sound design from BRIT Awards veteran Derrick Zieba, audio systems and crew, including RF technician Barry Macleod, via Britannia Row Productions and comprehensive support from Sennheiser UK’s team of Mark Saunders, Andy Lilywhite and Tim Sherratt, it proved to be one of the very best in BRIT Awards’ history.
 
“Over the many years in which we were in Earl’s Court, we had pretty much the same technical team putting the show together and we’d honed set up time to a minimum, thereby maximising what we were doing and giving real value for money,” says Zieba.
 
This year, the Awards moved to The O2, acquired a new designer and many new team members. Also, because The O2 has such a busy show schedule, Derrick and his crew found themselves with 24 hours less in which to get everything ready.
 
“Adrenalin was running high,” he says. “However, I was lucky enough to have the same audio team, stage team and carpenters as before - and that was why we were able to pull it off. In fact, I think we produced one of the best shows we’ve ever done.”
 
It was a year of change in other ways, too. “After many years of Sennheiser supporting us with pretty much the same package of equipment, which has always been great, this year I was pleased to see two things that immediately struck me,” Zieba continues. “Firstly, I had 2000 Series IEMs and developments in that model, including the wider tuning range, really helped during the show. To bring those new items to the table makes a great deal of sense in terms of flexibility and means that Sennheiser has a product at the very top end. It was great to be able to offer that to the artists.”
 
Hosted by James Corden, the show featured live performances from Take That (four of whom used Sennheiser SKM 5200-IIs with MD 5235 heads), Adele (SKM 5200-II with a KK 105 head), Rihanna (SKM 2000 with e 965 head), Mumford & Sons (Neumann U87), Tinie Tempah (SKM 2000 with e 935 head) and Cee Lo Green featuring special guest Paloma Faith (both using SKM 5200-IIs with KK 105 heads). All in ear monitoring was 2000 Series, the presenters used SKM 5200 with KK 105 heads and, along with the performers, utilised EM 3732-II receivers.
 
Zieba continues, “Sennheiser isn’t a one trick pony. We don’t have to say, ‘this is the Sennheiser handheld and that’s the only option you have’. There is a great range of products and the artists and engineers can choose from a selection and find something that will suit. So, as well as having the most reliable RF products on the market, they can tailor things exactly to any need: when I talked to Gary [Barlow], he said the new mic capsules they were using had made an astonishing difference when they were in front of the PA”
 
Take That monitor engineer, Delta Sound’s Steve Lutley concurs and adds: “It’s always comforting to walk into a venue and see familiar faces. We had a great team with Pete McGlynn as audio crew chief and Graham Blake in charge of monitors for Brit Row and, of course, Gary Bradshaw at Take That’s FOH position. The Sennheiser team tops that off. Having that sort of support when you’re in a multiple band situation makes a huge difference, and the bands really notice that.
 
“But with Sennheiser it goes further than just being at big gigs like The BRITS. I know that wherever I am in Europe, they will provide whatever I need and that’s invaluable.”
 
Zieba also comments on Toby Alington’s broadcast mix: “He did a fantastic job. Adele’s performance of Someone Like You almost instantly went to number one in the iTunes downloads chart, and went on to be number one in the UK singles chart! Personally, I thought it sounded so good I wouldn’t want to use any other microphone than the SKM 5200-II for her. Toby’s iTunes mixes all charted in the same week – quite an engineering record.”
 
An out of the ordinary microphone choice was Mumford & Sons use of a limited edition 40th Anniversary Neumann U 87 studio microphone. “It was a brilliant performance, with all of the band members balancing their voices into just one U 87,” says Zieba. “We had level limitations in the hall, but it sounded beautiful both in the venue and on broadcast. The band were very pleased themselves and their management was delighted that they were using something that sounded great and also looked fantastic.”
 
Another new advent was that all racks of radio receivers and IEM transmitters were fitted with a 5GHz network access point, configured to provide a mesh network. This allowed a wireless secure data network to be created between all racks without a cabled connection.
 
“This is advantageous when racks are located in different areas,” says Tim Sherratt. “It worked extremely well here and will be particularly good when we’re working with multiple stages during the upcoming festival season.
 
“Having all the equipment connected in this way allows us to use Sehnnheiser’s Wireless Systems Manager monitoring software to monitor and configure the status of all the receivers. Utilising an iPad, we are able to wander the whole site, view the RF signal strength and perform walk tests with microphones whilst viewing the actual data in real time - something that we have not previously been able to do. Using 5GHz allows us to get extended coverage and keeps us away from the heavily congested 2m4GHz spectrum.”
 
Zieba sums up the value of Sennheiser’s support for the show.
 
“You can see the sense of security it gives the artists, many of whom are new to the BRITs, when they see the Sennheiser team there,” he declares. “And many of their management and engineers have already been in touch with Mark [Saunders], so they are also confident that Sennheiser is there to support to their artists. There is no other company that offers that level of service in any audio sector. Mark, Andy and everyone involved are second to none.”
 

 
Picture: BRITS_Adele.jpg © John Marshall
       
 

www.sennheiser.co.uk



Tags: brits | adele | sennheiser
Submitted by TV-Bay

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