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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Mar 9

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3/9/2012 12:59 AM  RssIcon

Indianapolis, Indiana – March 8, 2012: In the fractured and multifarious landscape of modern media, the Super Bowl stands as a monolith, gathering the nation together before its television sets to partake of common experience. Indeed, this year’s game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots was the most-watched program in television history, earning 111.3 million viewers. Of course, the modern Super Bowl experience includes much more than football. In addition to the multi-million dollar commercials, many are drawn to watch the celebrities and celebrity performances. This year, Country Music’s first couple, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, kicked things off with a rousing duet. Shelton was later featured in his judge’s chair on the season premier of NBC’s hit, The Voice. At halftime, Madonna starred in a richly choreographed medley of her chart-toppers (to the tune of 114 million viewers – more than the game itself!). Rock-solid Sennheiser RF equipment gave everyone involved as much peace of mind as one dare hope at this, the most critical of all mission-critical events.

With a stirring rendition of “God Bless America,” Lambert and Shelton gave the Super Bowl a patriotic commencement. Lambert sang into a new custom-made pink Sennheiser SKM 2000-XP handheld mic with an MMD 935-1 capsule that was created for this event. Shelton sang into a Sennheiser SKM 5200-II handheld mic with an MD 5235 capsule. “On such a high-pressure show with so many top-of-their-field experts managing such a massive logistical undertaking, one has to be adamant to get the mics you want,” observed Brad Baisley, the duo’s monitor engineer. ”Of course, Miranda used her new pink Sennheiser microphone, and Blake the Sennheiser SKM 5200. The top end is always superb, the sound is natural, and Miranda and Blake know how to work those capsules. Of course, Sennheiser’s RF has always been rock-solid for us, and that was proved once again at the Super Bowl. In addition to their great products, the assistance from Sennheiser’s Tim Moore was fantastic. He was extremely helpful in ensuring we had the equipment we needed in the appropriate frequency ranges.”

To put the magnitude of the Super Bowl in perspective, Madonna’s 2008-2009 Sticky & Sweet tour – the highest grossing tour by a solo artist and the fourth highest grossing tour of all time – played to 3.5 million people in just over a year’s time. If you crunch the numbers, Madonna would have to play over thirty such tours back-to-back to match her one-time TV-land attendance at the Super Bowl! “Once the show starts, there’s not a lot you can do if something goes wrong,” said Matt Napier, Madonna’s longtime monitor engineer. “The best – and really the only – thing you can do in a situation like that is to have the best equipment available and to prepare thoroughly. I trust Sennheiser in Madonna’s high-stakes concerts, and that trust was rewarded with a perfect performance at the Super Bowl.”

“On tour, we have our own dedicated RF tech,” said Napier. “But as a general rule, we keep things simple and reliable by using Sennheiser wireless exclusively and their Wireless Systems Manager software, which is an effective tool for managing our frequencies.” Madonna used the Sennheiser HSP 4headset at the start of the medley and then switched to a Sennheiser SKM 5200-II handheld Blake and Mirandatransmitter with an ME 5005 capsule for the remainder. All of Madonna’s guests (Nicki Minaj, MIA, LMFAO) used Sennheiser SKM 5200-II handheld transmitters with Neumann KK 104 capsules. Cee Lo Green’s mic used the MD 5235 capsule. Sennheiser EM 3732 receivers captured the on-stage magic for the wired world beyond. Finally, Sennheiser 2000 Series wireless personal monitors rounded out the equipment list for Madonna at her request.

“No matter where we’re playing, the combination of the Sennheiser SKM 5200-II transmitter, ME 5005 capsule, and EM 3732 receiver delivers fantastic audio quality and reliable, flexible RF performance,” said Napier. “Together with Sennheiser’s 2000 Series wireless personal monitors, we’re high fidelity start to finish, with rock-solid reliability and easy frequency coordination. In addition, having the full support of Sennheiser affords me peace of mind. We needed a gold-plated SKM 5200-II transmitter for Madonna and a chrome SKM 5200-II for Cee Lo. With no time to spare, Kristy Jo Winkler and Tim Hunten, Sennheiser, and Jason Bellamy at Soundtronics arranged the delivery of these transmitters. The mics were on their way the same day. That kind of service means a lot in this industry. A big thanks goes out to the Sennheiser team!”

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