The Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball returned to London’s O2 Arena in December with a variety of Sennheiser equipment in place.
As there were nine main and two support acts, along with special guests on both nights, demand on the wireless spectrum was high.
Audio gear was provided by Adlib Audio, while Sennheiser UK’s Mark Saunders (pictured, right) and Tim Sherratt were on hand to offer additional equipment and assistance to Dave Kay (pictured, left) and Marc Peers of Adlib, as well as Andy Robinson, who was handling audio duties for production company Production North.
“The biggest challenges for us were the size of the arena that we had to cover, plus the decreasing amount of RF spectrum that is available for large live events,” said Kay. “More and more artists want to move an increasing number of sources to wireless. That, combined with the ever-growing need for wireless comms, makes for a very crowded spectrum.”
Artists included Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding, with most of the performers and all crew comms using Sennheiser 2000 series IEMs. 2000 series handheld mic systems were used by Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, Rizzle Kicks and Rudimental; while Katy Perry, Jessie J, Union J and Elyar Fox (a special guest on both nights) used SKM 5200 handhelds with EM 3732 receivers.
The event was a chance for the Adlib team to test out Sennheiser’s Digital 9000 Series system for the first time – chosen for the show's presenters – as well as a new combiner for receiving antennas, which was put through its paces during the show’s setup and rehearsals.
“We always try and plot the Jingle Bell Ball based on an outdoor venue because we need to cover such a large area,” Kay continued. “As well as the arena and all three stages, we had to cover under the stages because a lot of the acts start underneath and come up on lifts. In addition, we had radio mics for line checks and our shout system, which had to cover the full backstage and load-in areas.
“The reliability of all the Sennheiser equipment was really important, as was its ability to maintain so many crosstalk-free signals in the crowded frequencies available. We were also very impressed with the 9000 Series on the presenters.”
Kay was also grateful for Sennheiser UK’s backup and support.
“Having Mark and Tim there was a great knowledge resource. It gives you great confidence when someone is present that you can ask questions of when required. The show took a great deal of planning and factoring in redundancy and, as a result of that, the reliability of the equipment and Sennheiser UK’s support, the whole event went remarkably smoothly,” he concluded.
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