FOH engineer Brett “Scoop” Blanden was careful to select the perfect wireless vocal mic for the tour. “The stage setup includes a forty-foot runway that extends well in front of the house PA,” he said. “I needed a microphone and a capsule that would be well-suited to all six vocalists – who might all be on that runway at the same time! By using the same capsule, with the same frequency response and polar pattern, on all six mics, I am able to tune the PA without fear of the unpredictable interactions that can occur when different capsules are open on stage.” Blanden selected the Sennheiser MD 5235 dynamic capsule, which features a floating directivity that is super-cardioid at high frequencies and cardioid at low frequencies. The Sennheiser SKM 5200-II handheld RF transmitter completes the vocal setup, and two additional SKM 5200-II/MD 5235 combinations go to the opening acts.
Monitor engineer Peter Bowman organizes the RF channels for the show. “I have had zero RF issues since we made the switch to the Sennheiser 5000 series on vocals,” he said. “In addition, I'm also very happy with how useful the Command Function is for Lady Antebellum. Whether they need the guitar turned down or a cup of tea, they can communicate with ease from any point on the stage.”
Instrument mics include the Sennheiser e 901 on kick, the e 904 on rack toms, the e 902 on the floor tom, and a small diaphragm e 614 on the ride. “I'm particularly fond of the e 904 and e 902 on the toms,” said Blanden, who is himself a drummer. “I love the tonal picture of those dynamic mics – it's familiar and comfortable to me. The frequency response and transient response are perfect. I can run those inputs flat on my channel strip because all the right color is captured by the mic. The convenient mounting hardware on the e 904 is also nice.” For all three guitar cabinets on stage, Blanden uses the classic Sennheiser MD 421-II. “What a standard! Even in my studio days,” he said, “I was always a fan of the MD 421 on guitars. It has the perfect combination of top-end bite and low-end growl to deliver the ideal rock â€˜n roll guitar sound.”
In addition to the eight Sennheiser SKM 5200-IIs for vocals (and their associated command channels), Bowman manages eight Sennheiser EK 300 IEM G3 stereo wireless personal monitors, for a total of twenty-eight wireless frequencies. “I set them myself every day,” he said. “And with the scanning options available on both the G3 and 5000 series, that process is fairly simple. I love that when the monitor system is networked together, I have the ability to set all the transmitters to new frequencies using just one bodypack. I usually scan one bodypack during the day, even before I get power to monitor world, and then use it later to synch up all the transmitters.” For antennas, Bowman uses one Sennheiser paddle antenna and one Sennheiser A 5000?CP circularly polarized antenna. “Although I know there are several valid approaches, this system works well for me,” he said. “Our RF performance has been perfect.”
Even the band's guitars and bass benefit from Sennheiser wireless technology. To navigate the tour's large stage with the crowd-pleasing confidence that a wire won't allow, every fretted instrument is equipped with a Sennheiser ew 572 G3 wireless transmitter, save for one acoustic guitar which uses an ew 572 G2 unit. There are eleven units in all. “Our RF performance has been absolutely flawless,” said guitar tech Steve Castro, who formerly worked with Sugarland. “We all work together to maintain clean channels. If someone gets stepped on, it's a simple matter to use the scan feature to dial in a new clean channel.”
“The Sennheiser team has really gone above and beyond for us,” said Blanden. “Tim Moore has been there for us during the last four years. Throughout our trips to Australia, Europe and various television performances, Sennheiser is the gear we rely on for consistency wherever we are performing.”
Winkler added, “For decades, Sennheiser has supported emerging artists as well as mega-stars. All of us on the Global Relations team welcome Lady Antebellum to this special tier of artists and congratulate them on their creativity, musicianship, performance excellence, and industry dedication.”
(Photo Credit: © 2012 Adam Boatman)