The Festhalle in Frankfurt, Germany, provided a relatively uncluttered and RF obstruction-free environment, so placing radio microphone receiving and IEM transmitting antennae – one of the most critical factors in achieving satisfactory RF performance at any large event – was fairly straightforward.
“Thanks to some advance homework regarding the available spectrum, RF Supervisor Sapna Patel had a lot of the frequency allocations and coordination under control,” said Sennheiser chief engineer Andrew Lillywhite. “A number of acts were ‘self-contained’ as far as their RF requirements were concerned, but of course on an event like this that actually means a lot of extra frequency coordination and considerable cooperation between artists’ engineers is required, all of which was achieved.”
The frequency count for radio mics and IEMs topped 100, with Rita Ora using an SKM 2000 with 935 capsule, Alicia Keys on an SKM 5200 with 5235 capsule, Muse performing with an SKM 5200 with kk 105 capsule and Carly Rae Jepsen utilising an SKM 5200 and MD 5235 capsule.
“The real RF challenge was presented by Psy – his Gangnam Style performance started outside the rear of the Festhalle on his ‘beach’, then progressed through the scene dock and up the ramp backstage, past monitor world and finally onto stage,” explained Lillywhite. “This meant that the first minute of his performance would be well and truly outside of the normal RF coverage requirements of the main and presenter stages, yet the performance needed to transition through all the various areas in one continuous action.
“I had an idea that a little trick of the trade known as an on-frequency-repeater was the solution, and had brought along the necessary elements. Once assembled and deployed – with a bit of fine adjustment – the required coverage was achieved and both rehearsals and performance went off without an RF hitch.”
"The winning support combination of Andrew Lillywhite and Mark Saunders has helped transform a complex RF show scenario in a foreign land into an almost effortless and totally faultless performance,” said sound designer Derrick Zieba.
Picture: This year’s show was hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum.
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