Wild and wireless: P!NK's tour with Sennheiser

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Old Lyme, CT- October 25, 2010 – Outrageous designs, clowns and all kinds of circus performances – P!NK successfully achieved the magical atmosphere of the fairground and of the circus big top. On the Funhouse Summer Carnival Tour, the rocker put the crowds under her spell, not only with her singing, but also with daredevil acrobatics. On her latest tour, she left the stage more than ever before and demonstrated her courage and vocal power perched high above the audience. This also presented a challenge to the sound engineers, who thanks to Sennheiser's wireless microphones, mastered every sound and flight situation.

On the stage, P!NK used the SKM 2000 hand-held transmitter with a special silver MMD 935 capsule. “The microphone is ideally suited to P!NK's powerful voice and is a perfect choice for use on stage in all situations,” reports front-of-house engineer Chris Madden. Because P!NK loves direct contact with the audience, she also needed a microphone which has no tendency to feed back, even in front of the PA.

P!NK's fondness for acrobatics posed a particular challenge; a high point of her show, for example, was a flight on wire ropes above the heads of the audience. For artistic interludes, P!NK again relied on the EarSet 4, a single-sided ear-worn microphone which she used for her tour last year. “This is the first time there has been such a microphone that is on a par in sound terms with a hand-held one,” declared monitor engineer Horst Hartmann. Pierre Morant from Sennheiser's Global Relations Team added: “We want to provide each artist with the best microphone solution for their show. When a high-flying artist gives us his/her input, this naturally allows the company to take a big step forwards in terms of product development.”

The production team also received valuable support from Klaus Willemsen who, as Sennheiser's RF expert, was responsible for optimizing the antennas. “The risk of reception drop-outs increases when large distances have to be covered,” explained Willemsen regarding one of the biggest challenges of the Funhouse Summer Carnival Tour. With the ideally placed AD 3700 and A 5000-CP directional antennas for microphone and monitoring signals, however, even P!NK's trips into the depths of the stage and auditorium were managed without interruptions.

For the backing vocals by Stacy Campbell and Jenny Douglas McRea, Chris Madden used SKM 2000s with MMD 935-1 capsules, with the remaining members of the band singing with wired e 935 evolution microphones. In mobile instrument transmitter matters, the engineers relied on the qualities of the SK 2000 pocket transmitter. For monitoring, Horst Hartmann chose the evolution wireless ew 300 IEM G3 system.

For miking the instruments, Madden and Hartmann used the extensive range of the evolution 900 series. For the 20” double headed kick drum, the dynamic e 902 was used, which the FOH engineer installed inside the drum. “It can't always be used like this, but in this case it definitely sounded better,” states Madden. The 24” kick was dealt with in the more conventional “mic in the whole” fashion using another e 902. The snare drums were mic'd from above as normal, but the internal mic technique was used again for the bottom snare, also using 904s. The sound engineers experimented with the internal method for the remaining drums, but discarded it again in favour of the conventional external method using 904s for the rack and floor toms. The hi hats, ride cymbal and overheads were all captured with e 914s.

Justin Derrico's full guitar sound was picked up by two e 906 at the guitar amp. With Eva Gardner's bass, however, Madden preferred to use a direct input and an amplifier plug-in. “I like working like this with the bass, because I can decide on the sound myself very easily. It doesn't work so well with the guitar though,” said Madden.

The e 914, with its lively and clear sound, proved itself with Jason Chapman's Leslie speakers. Normally, the microphones are used to the left and right of the rotating loudspeaker. “However, set up like this it can sound a little like a helicopter. Accordingly, we placed it in a T-shape directly in front of it, which is much better for reproducing the sound of such an organ,” reports Madden. Both the FOH specialist and Horst Hartmann have relied for years on microphones and monitoring systems from Sennheiser. “It is not only the quality engineering, but also the outstanding support from the company, which are important to me. To be able to get skilled help at any time, anywhere, on a tour through several countries simplifies the task tremendously.”

The Funhouse Summer Carnival tour ended on 25th July in Kristiansand in Norway. The high-quality sound of the Sennheiser equipment made its contribution to a show that was a great success, enjoyed by tens of thousands of spectators on a total of 34 nights.

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