Sade Travel the Globe with Sennheiser

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Old Lyme, CT - May 23, 2011 – It has been over a decade since Sade took their infectious R&B on tour. But because the band has earned a loyal multinational following with hits spanning twenty-six years, Sade is among the rare acts that could still pack an arena based solely on its laurels. But Sade has not rested. The band's recently released Soldier of Love debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and has since gone on to earn two Grammy nominations and multi-platinum status around the world. The forthcoming world tour promises to be spectacular, and monitor engineer Horst Hartmann and FOH engineer Chris Madden have gone the extra mile to ensure it. Many of their efforts have directly involved Sennheiser's Global Relations team, who are supporting the tour and have recommended a Sennheiser SKM 5200-II microphone with cardioid dynamic capsule combined with the EM 3732-II receiver to beautifully capture lead singer Sade Adu's unmistakable voice. To comply with the tour's utterly clean visual aesthetic, the engineers have decided to eliminate as many microphone stands from the stage as possible, relying heavily on tiny Sennheiser e 908 gooseneck microphones and unconventional amp placement. Sennheiser's top-of-the-line wireless microphone and personal monitoring equipment will ensure reliable performances in every corner of the globe.

“I have to say,” says Chris Madden, “Sade's voice through this Sennheiser SKM 5200II transmitter with the cardioid dynamic capsule is fantastic and it is perfectly suited to her.” The two backing vocalists each use a Sennheiser SKM 5200II transmitter with an MD 5235 capsule. Keyboard backing vocals use a wired Sennheiser e 935. Seven Sennheiser e 825-S with silent ON/OFF switches provide talkback at strategic locations around the stage and at the FOH and monitoring positions.

Because each musician will rise up on a platform from below the stage and stand against a screen, Hartmann and Madden were obligated to deviate significantly from “business as usual.” Indeed, there could be no unsightly stands or rigging, even on the drums. “The Sennheiser e 908 is in very serious use all over the place,” said Hartmann. “It is a very high-quality condenser that is very small. It can clip on almost anywhere and capture just about anything with realism and musicality.” The Sennheiser e 908 is placed over the hi-hat, under each of seven separate cymbals, over each of three congas and clipped to the saxophone.

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The rest of the drum kit is relatively standard. A Sennheiser e 902 delivers the kick drum with authority and five Sennheiser e 904s clip onto three toms and the top and bottom of the snare. Hartmann and Madden cover the rest of the percussion instruments, including handheld shakers, with the clever use of Sennheiser's highly directional shotgun microphones. Two stereo pairs, one Sennheiser MKH 416s and one MKH 80s, deliver all of their nuances without leakage from the other sound sources on stage.

All of the guitar and bass amps, five in total, are located under the stage to minimize clutter and to keep things as quiet as possible up above. “The amps aren't really cranking because they don't have to,” said Hartmann. “I'm a big fan of the Sennheiser e 906 in this situation, but we were excited to try the new Sennheiser MK 4.” The MK 4 is Sennheiser's first large-diaphragm, side address studio condenser. Madden joined in, “The MK 4 sounds great, by which I mean the sound at the board is a perfect sonic image of the amp itself. It is a very true representation.”

Hartmann has sixteen stereo channels of Sennheiser's new 2000 Series wireless personal monitors on the road with him. Twelve go to musicians, with the remaining four reserved for Hartmann and technicians. “I trust the 2000 Series to travel the world without trouble,” he said. “It is very stable, and the sound is excellent for the musicians. The full low end is most notable.”

To capture the roar of the audience, both for the sake of the musicians and for a Pro Tools archive, Madden and Hartmann are using two Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun microphones and four Sennheiser MKH 8040 high-end studio condensers.

Pierre Morant, Sennheiser's global relations manager for EMEA, stated, “It is a great pleasure to see a high-profile artist such as Sade using Sennheiser equipment on this important tour. The 184 MHz switching bandwidth combined with the high transmission reliability of the SKM 5200-II/EM 3732-II combo will guarantee optimal flexibility for daily use on a global scale, and of course, we will provide the level of support needed to ensure the engineers have a smooth run.”

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