Case Study: Tech rocks in Rio

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Attracting over 120,000 enthusiastic fans to Rio de Janeiro for a week of A–list performers in late September 2011, Rock in Rio IV was the latest installment in one of the world's most well–attended festival series.

Its three stages, built on the grounds of what will become Rios Olympic Village in 2016, hosted the biggest names in rock, pop, and metal. Among them was a large contingent of performers who count on Sennheiser microphone and wireless technologies to convey their music to their fans. Katy Perry, Ivete Sangalo, Coheed & Cambria, Rihanna, Shakira, and many others rocked the gigantic crowds with an intimacy that effectively shrank the vast space to the confines of a cozy club. In addition to her custom jewel–encrusted Sennheiser SKM 5200–II wireless handheld transmitter, pop goddess Katy Perry and her band used a wealth of Sennheiser evolution wired microphones, evolution wireless G3 instrument packs and 2000 Series wireless personal monitors. Monitor engineer Manny Barajas was especially glad to have the Sennheiser wireless monitors on hand. I really like the engineer mode on theEK 2000 IEM belt packs, he said. In a festival situation like Rock in Rio, it allows me to monitor the integrity of the frequencies I have chosen. Its good to be cautious when so much RF is flying around. Nevertheless, the show went off without a hitch, technical or otherwise, which is exactly what I have come to expect when working with Sennheiser. For Perrys FOH engineer, Pete Keppler, the technological star of the show was the MD 5235 capsule that Perry used. It was an exciting show and one of the biggest shows I have ever mixed and certainly the biggest one that Katy has ever played, he said. With the 5235, Katys voice has never sounded better. The high end is open and airy and the overall timbre is well balanced. Apart from the sound, I was impressed by Sennheisers RF performance at Rock in Rio. There was so much potential interference, and we were juggling 12 frequencies right up to show time. But as usual, there were no problems during the show. Brazilian superstar Ivete Sangalo also used the combination of a Sennheiser SKM 5200–II with an MD 5235 capsule. Because there are so many people on stage, Ivetes show is very noisy from an engineers perspective, said Kalunga Branco, her FOH engineer. Despite that, the MD 5235 delivers excellent rejection. As a result, her vocals are easy to mix and never suffer from feedback. Ivete is also enamored and claims to have found the mic that she wont stray from. Like many of the other artists at Rock in Rio, Coheed & Cambria relied on Sennheiser wireless personal monitors. We didnt have our full complement of gear for Rock in Rio, but we did have the Sennheiser IEM transmitters with a smattering of G3 belt packs, said Mike Babcock, engineer with the band. The gear is all so well built and dependable, Ive come to rely on it. Im especially fond of the sound quality of the wireless monitoring systems. Nothing else comes so remarkably close to a straight wire. In addition, Coheed & Cambria packed wired Sennheiser e 935 vocal microphones, which share capsule technology with the MD 5235 mentioned above. Rihanna and Shakira also used Sennheiser wireless microphones to connect with the tens of thousands of enraptured fans at Rock in Rio. Rihanna used her favorite nickel–colored Sennheiser SKM 2000 handheld transmitter together with the MMK 965–1 capsule. Shakira used the Sennheiser SKM 5200–II transmitter with a Neumann KK 105 S capsule. Brazilian pop star Claudia Leitte was also among the talent that rocked the Sennheiser gear at Rock in Rio IV. At this years Rock in Rio, Sennheiser once again demonstrated its rock–solid product reliability for large events. And this festival was truly a huge event! stated Paulo Del Picchia, director of marketing, Sennheiser Latin America. Daniel Reis, technical specialist at Sennheiser Brazil, noted, The SKM 5200/MD 5235 combination cut through the stage noise and delivered a clean, clear sound to thousands of screaming fans.

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