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Madonna Confesses all for Sennheiser
Longtime Sennheiser endorsee, Madonna, again has the hottest concert ticket of the season in the theatrically spectacular Confessions Tour 2006. The show abounds with channel upon channel of Sennheiser wireless vocal, instrument and personal wireless systems, including Madonna’s much-favoured SKM 3072 super-cardioid handheld transmitter. Sennheiser RF systems are also being used by the backing and guest vocalists and on many of the guitar systems, while all of the musicians on stage are outfitted with Evolution G2 wireless monitor set-ups.
For this globetrotting tour, Madonna’s four SKM 3072 handhelds are run through a passive switcher to quickly reassign them to both front of house and monitors simultaneously. Additionally, six Sennheiser evolution 500 G2 series handheld RF microphones equipped with supercardioid 865 condenser capsules are available for the two backing vocalists and the guest vocalist, according to monitor engineer Matt Napier.
“There are three for the guest singer, two for the backing singers, and there’s a general spare as well,” explains Napier. “In one of the songs, the guest vocalist appears in three different places onstage; the mics rise out of the stage. His three mics go through another switching unit, so depending where he is onstage in that song, we just switch and it changes for me and for Tim Colvard, FOH engineer simultaneously.”
Napier continues: “On the guitar side, we’re using eight units of EM550G2 dual channel receivers. There are a couple of electric guitars for Madonna and a couple of acoustics, and a spare. They all go through passive switching as well. The guitar player uses wireless just on his acoustic. He walks around the stage playing acoustic guitar in ‘La Isla Bonita,’ which is the only song where he comes off his riser.”
On the output side for Napier, everyone onstage is on Sennheiser evolution wireless G2 300 personal monitoring systems, apart from the drummer and the keyboard player, who are on wired setups. “The G2 ears just work -- that’s why I like using them,” shares Napier. “We’ve got eight units. Madonna is on wireless, the backing singers are on wireless, the guest vocalist is wireless, and the guitar player is wireless. Stuart Price, the music director, who is integral to the way the sound is done, is on the same mix as Madonna; he hears exactly what she hears.”
The disco-themed set for the Confessions Tour presented a challenge to the wireless systems. “The stage set is probably the worst design for RF -- it’s coated in mirrors,” says Napier. “And Madonna starts the show about 80 feet away on a walkway inside a glass mirror ball.” Part of the solution, he says, was to have Sennheiser custom modify some of the gear and boost the capabilities of the power supplies.
The Confessions Tour 2006 began in Los Angeles in late May and is currently scheduled to take in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan through the end of September. Already sold out at nearly every stop along the way, the tour is playing a string of shows in several major cities, including five nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden and eight nights at Wembley Arena in London.
21st August 2006
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