"Every mic on the stage is a Sennheiser," confirms monitor engineer Chris Lantz, who has been working with the London-born singer and his band for the past eighteen months. The production maintains a complete mic and personal monitor system in the U.S. and an identical set-up in Europe, plus a basic rig in a flypack for promotional events.
Taking pride of place is Seal's vocal mic, a Sennheiser SKM 5200 wireless handheld with a Neumann KK 105-S capsule. "It works great for him," reports Lantz. "He likes that high-end, whispery sound, so we take a lot of the mids out. He doesn't like to get right on the mic, either, and it works well for his dynamics. He's happy as can be. He loves it."
The vocal mic is paired with an EM 3732 receiver. "I love the way you can find all the frequencies and how easy the scanning is. It's so simple," says Lantz. There are also four hardwire e 935 mics for background vocal contributions from the band, one pair positioned upstage and another pair downstage.
The drum kit is covered with Sennheiser evolution series microphones, according to Lantz. "We have an e 602 on the kick drum." Previously there was a mic from another manufacturer on the kick drum until, he says, "I went to another show and heard someone using an e 602. It's probably one of the nicest sounding kick drum mics I've used." Sennheiser e 905s mic the top and bottom snare drum, a pair of e 614s are positioned for overhead and ride cymbal and e 914s on the hi-hat.
The clean and quiet stage layout features three of the four musicians on Sennheiser G2 wireless personal monitors. "The drummer is on a hardwire," he notes. "In addition to Seal, there's a bass player/keyboard player and a guitar player, who are on ears. One of the backline techs also has his own unit." The only two monitor speakers are a sub for the drummer and another for the bass/keyboard player, which helps front-of-house engineer John Robbins perfect his mix, says Lantz. Additional e 914 condenser mics are positioned to introduce audience and ambience into the personal monitor systems for the musicians.
He adds, "I run both a 500 MHz and a 600 MHz frequency personal monitor unit simultaneously for Seal, in case I have problems. Depending on the local RF environment, some days the 500 works better, some days the 600." Lantz remotely controls and monitors the wireless systems using a Sennheiser NET 1 system.
Although Lantz has been working in the industry for many years and was one of the first to adopt wireless personal monitors, it's a constant learning process," he says. "I just think that the support that Sennheiser has given us is incredible." He noted that he has received training on the road, has visited the office in Connecticut, and completed a Sound Academy class. "You learn the right ways to do it. When you learn the tricks from the people that work with the equipment every day, it makes your job a breeze."
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.
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PHOTO CAPTION With Seal using a Sennheiser SKM 5200 wireless microphone with the stellar Neumann KK 105-S capsule and a stage full of Sennheiser gear, Seal's global "Soul" tour is a classic in both performance and sound. PHOTO CREDIT (c) 2009 Getty Images