Host Chelsea Handler, the first woman to host the VMAs solo since 1994 and only the second woman to ever front the show, used a Sennheiser wireless microphone, as did all presenters. Wireless specialists Soundtronics supplied one dozen channels of true-diversity receivers, including EM 3532s, along with SKM 5000 and SKM 5200 wireless handheld transmitters.
Sennheiser was also featured in many of the night's performances. Eminem, one of the big award winners, kicked off with “Not Afraid,” featuring the Detroit rapper and his hype man, Denaun, both using chrome SKM 5200 handhelds with MD 5235 capsules. Their performance segued into “Love The Way You Lie,” with guest Rihanna singing into her SKM 2000 wireless vocal mic with MMK 965-1 capsule, paired with an EM 2050 receiver.
Florence + the Machine featured the UK singer delivering the band's multi-VMA-nominated “Dog Days Are Over” into an SKM 5200 with a Neumann KK 105 capsule. Ian Laughton, FOH engineer for Florence + the Machine, tried various mics on the singer prior to the band's big production tour earlier this year. “It was immediately apparent that there was only one mic for her, and that was the SKM 5200 wireless mic with a Neumann 105 capsule,” he says. “The clarity and bottom end was phenomenal. You could not get this from any other mic. Florence immediately fell in love with every aspect of this microphone, and we got our friends at Sennheiser UK to â€˜bling' it up for us with gold plating.”
“It's a proven mic that's probably going to become an industry standard for wireless,” says Paramore FOH engineer Jason Decter of the SKM 2000 vocal mic. “The wireless RF and the scanning feature are second to none. You can do broadcast, recording, or live audio with it. It's a versatile mic. And for Hayley's vocal range in particular, when you throw it in the mix with the guitars you're not constantly cutting or boosting frequencies trying to get the life back into the vocal. It's just natural. The presence is there, the response is right there, and it's just crystal clear in the PA.”
There was plenty of activity outside the NOKIA Theatre, too, with a pre-show performance from the “white carpet” area featuring another custom SKM 2000, paired with an EM 2050 receiver, when will.i.am joined Nicki Minaj for “Check It Out.” Late in the show, a taped performance by Linkin Park from the Griffith Observatory made spectacular use of the location and the setting sun as the band previewed their brand-new album using wired e 865 vocal mics. The band recently also acquired a 2000 series system comprising SKM 2000 handhelds with MME 865-1 capsules and EM 2050 receivers.
ATK AudioTek, production provider for the event, supplied 12 channels of Sennheiser G2 wireless monitors along with A 5000-CP antennas. Sennheiser supported ATK with additional channels of 2000 series wireless monitors for use on the show. Klaus Landsberg, working with Gary Long, utilized Neumann KM 184s and Sennheiser MKH 416 shotguns to capture the enthusiastic audience at the NOKIA Theatre. Veteran broadcast engineer Jay Vicari was responsible for the overall audio mix.