NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 2009: Brad Paisley succinctly summed up the appeal of country music during ABC's telecast of the 43rd annual CMA Awards from Nashville on November 11th: "It's the songs." With such a focus on the lyrics, many of the performers on "country music's biggest night" relied on Sennheiser wireless and wired microphones to help tell their stories, with two of those artists, Sugarland and Lady Antebellum, picking up three awards in the process.
More than a dozen channels of 5000, 2000 and 500 series wireless microphones, in addition to sixteen channels of G2 plus new 2000 Series wireless personal monitors, were in operation at the Sommet Center in downtown Nashville as a succession of Sennheiser endorsers and users, including Miranda Lambert, the Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Sugarland and Reba McEntire, took to the stage. The Sennheiser acts additionally made use of a mix of SKM 2000 wireless handhelds fitted with MMD 935 capsules, as well as SKM 5200 RF handhelds with MD 5235 capsules on background vocals.
Country Music Association awards have typically gone to the genre's stalwarts but this year saw some of the new generation of talent honored.
Relative newcomers Lady Antebellum, recognized just twelve months ago as New Artist of the Year, picked up two awards this year, beating out more established artists in the "Vocal Group," category and also picked up "Single of the Year" for "I Run to You." Sugarland pulled off a hat trick, with a third consecutive "Vocal Duo of the Year" award.
Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott and Charles Kelly sang their hit ballad, "Need You Now," with Sennheiser's SKM 5200 RF handheld with dynamic MD 5235 capsule. Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush performed their ballad, "Keep You," using wired e 935 mics and with string accompaniment.
Production personnel for ABC's 5.1-channel HDTV broadcast included music mixers John Harris and Jay Viccari in Music Mix Mobile's two remote trucks.
Sound production was provided by ATK/Audiotek with Rick Shimer and Pat Baltzell at front-of-house, monitor engineers Mike Parker and Jason Spence, and RF coordinator Dave Rickmers, with additional wireless and communications supplied by Kevin Sanford and Wireless First, all under the auspices of audio producers Michael Abbott and Tom Davis.
Miranda Lambert, singing through a Sennheiser SKM 2000 wireless mic with MMD
935 capsule, performed "White Liar" from her latest album, Revolution. The Zac Brown Band, who came to the show with multiple nominations, gave a nod to old school country with a rendition of "Devil Went Down to Georgia,"
originally performed by the Charlie Daniels Band, using the same combination of handheld and capsule.
Tim McGraw was back at the CMA Awards following a four-year absence to perform "Southern Voice," from his latest album, with the help of an SKM 2000 wireless handheld and MMK 965 capsule. Reba McEntire performed "Consider Me Gone" from her latest album with an SKM 500 wireless handheld outfitted with an 865 capsule, paired with an EM 2050 receiver.
Nashville-based monitor mixer Jason Spence made use of four 2000 Series and four G2 IEM systems. "Pretty much all the acts on my stage ended up using it," Spence reports, including Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Daughtry and Brooks & Dunn. This was Spence's first opportunity to use the new 2000 Series IEM system. "All around it's a huge step up from the G2 systems I'm accustomed to using - internal power supplies, the sync function, plus the networking features. Immediately I noticed the lack of distortion on the top-end. It's a lot smoother on the top-end, and tighter on the bottom-end.
For the artist, it sounds better, and for the production company and techs, it has all the tools and functionality that make it easier to do your job."
On the backline of the show's two stages, nearly two-dozen Sennheiser e 602s were in place for kick drums and floor toms. In addition, ATK provided eight Neumann KM 184 microphones to capture audience reaction. All voiceover packages for the evening's broadcast were pre-recorded using Neumann TLM 49 mics.
This year's CMA Awards three-hour telecast attracted an average audience of almost 17 million viewers for ABC, an increase of nearly one million since last year and the best viewing figure since 2005.
Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Sennheiser's pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.