London, July 2008 – June 27th saw a wide range of high-profile artists such as Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis, the Sugababes and Will Smith assemble in London’s Hyde Park for a concert to mark the 90th birthday of the former president of South Africa — and global icon — Nelson Mandela. And with Sennheiser on hand to continue its tradition of supplying microphones, wireless monitoring and full technical support, both the artists and the huge audience were assured of enjoying every vocal nuance.
Organised by 46664, Nelson Mandela’s global HIV AIDS awareness campaign, the concert was a celebration of Mr Mandela’s 90th year and marked the 20th anniversary of the Free Nelson Mandela concert staged at Wembley in 1988. The concert also raised funds for his 46664 campaign to fight HIV and AIDS worldwide. This was the fifth 46664 concert that Sennheiser has supported, continuing a long standing relationship with the charity.
Working in association with the event’s audio production company, Britannia Row, Sennheiser not only supplied equipment but also a high-profile technical team to the event, including Mark Saunders (Global Relations), Dave Hawker (UK Technical Director) and Sam Davison (UK Service Manager).
Sennheiser equipment supplied throughout the event included ew 300 G2 wireless monitoring systems, SKM 5200/EM 3532 radio microphone and receiver systems, SKM 935/EM 550 radio mic and receiver systems, evolution series wired microphones and Neumann wired microphones.
With such a large event and range of artists, working out the radio frequencies for both vocal mics and monitoring was a potential minefield. However, Sennheiser’s experience at these events, and its close working relationship with Britannia Row, ensured that no problems occurred.
“Having worked alongside Britannia Row on previous large-scale events such as Live 8, Live Earth and the previous four Mandela 46664 concerts, we employed a tried and tested set-up,” says Dave Hawker. “This allowed a seamless RF system that covered all the potential problems encountered with a large stage area, combined with an ever changing bill of artists.”
“The event also allowed a co-ordinated working partnership between Sennheiser, Britannia Row and radio licensing company JFMG, who allowed greater control over parts of the radio spectrum, meaning that the event frequency planning was easier to calculate and manage.”
Several regular Sennheiser users performed at the show, including Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis and the Sugababes. All of the ‘visiting’ vocalists who performed with the show’s house band — including Amy Winehouse and Jamelia — used either e 935 wired or SKM 935 wireless vocal microphones.
A number of top performers, including Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis, Will Smith, Geri Halliwell and various presenters, used Sennheiser’s latest radio transmitter, the SKM 5200, which combines the best elements of the SKM 5000 N, including use of the Neumann KK 105 S capsule, with redesigned mechanics, electronics and user interface to fulfil the most demanding requirements of prestigious live events.
“For a singer of Leona’s style, the SKM 5200 provides the perfect balance. The mic captures ever nuance of her voice and the radio system transmits it perfectly without losing anything,” says Lewis’s front-of-house engineer Dave Wooster. “I really like Sennheiser’s mics. The Neumann capsule is the most forgiving with ambient noise, it really makes a difference because the signal I am dealing with at FOH sounds exactly as it should. It’s like being in a studio — you hear everything that she does.”
“For me there is no better option on the market. From her voice through the capsule, through the conversion and back again, it’s the best. I have carte blanche to use whatever I want for Leona’s vocal mic and the SKM 5200 is what I choose.”
The Sennheiser Group, with its headquarters in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. The family-owned company, which was established in 1945, recorded sales of over €395 million in 2007, 83% of which were generated abroad. Sennheiser employs almost 2,000 people worldwide, around 55% of whom are in Germany. Sennheiser has manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the USA and is represented worldwide by subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark (Nordic), Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico and the USA, as well as by long-term trading partners in many other countries. Also part of the Sennheiser Group are Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin (studio microphones), K + H Vertriebs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (Klein + Hummel studio monitors, installed sound) and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S (headsets for PCs, offices and call centres).