Beyoncé crossed over into the world of country music supported by Sennheiser’s Digital 9000
At the 50th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on November 2, Beyoncé crossed over into the world of country music, delivering the marquee performance of the night while being supported by Sennheiser’s Digital 9000 wireless microphone system. The occasion marked Beyoncé’s first appearance on the CMA Award stage.
“It was our first time with Beyoncé on the CMA Awards, and it was thrilling to have her perform with Dixie Chicks amidst the advanced technology we brought into the picture — particularly the Digital 9000”, has said James Berry, Monitor Engineer for Beyoncé. “What we really love about that system is the consistency and sound quality. There is nothing in the world like it, and it sounds like there is a cable on the other end of that mic”.
Beyonce has purchased her own Digital 9000 system
Having toured extensively over the last year with the system, Beyoncé‘s production team have become intimately familiar with the Digital 9000, and Berry has also been pleased with the results as well as with the support he is getting from Sennheiser.
Beyoncé has since purchased her own Digital 9000 system, so the crew can achieve greater predictability while on the road: “There are a lot of places we play that don’t have top quality wireless, and it made the most sense for us to go out and buy one”.
“As a last minute creative decision for the performance, we decided to put Natalie [Mains] of the Dixie Chicks on a wireless as well and opted to put her on the Digital 9000”, said Stephen Curtin, FOH Engineer for Beyoncé. “Everybody was happy with the decision and immediately impressed with the results”.
Of the eight available channels on the Digital 9000 receiver, two were reserved for Beyoncé (one as a backup channel), who sang through her SKM 9000 handheld transmitter and MD 9235 dynamic microphone capsule. Meantime, Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Mains also sang through an SKM 9000/MD 9235 combination.
Other channels were used for a marching drum and harmonica. Berry notes that it was the first time they had used the Digital 9000 on stage instruments, and he was impressed with the results: “It gave the harmonica that true warm feeling that you don’t normally get while using wireless systems. This was also true with the marching drum, where it captured all the dynamics you would expect”.
Of course, the primary task and expectation of the Digital 9000 is to capture every nuance of Beyoncé’s vocal capabilities, says Stephen Curtin: “The overall presence of the 9000 is great. She can be singing extremely quiet, yet you still get the same great sound out of the system as when she is really belting it out. It does a fabulous job of capturing the dynamics”.
“Because the system has such a vast dynamic range, it helps at FOH and broadcast, because you don’t have to do as much with it. You have this full spectrum of frequencies to work with, whereas before on a lot of other wireless equipment, you have to add and take out elements in different frequencies”, he adds.