Los Angeles, CA (February 10, 2004)–For seven years now, Audio-Technica microphones have dominated the annual Grammy Awards ceremony, providing exceptional sound quality and reliability to a show that celebrates the best in music. The 46th Annual Grammys, held on February 8, 2004 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, again featured a large complement of A-T mics to ensure outstanding audio for this increasingly ambitious broadcast event. “Audio-Technica supplied more than 400 microphones, including a wide range of hard-wired mics as well as several of its Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless Systems, all of which performed flawlessly throughout the evening,” stated Gary Boss, A-T’s marketing director, Live Sound & Studio.
Last year, the Emmy Award-winning 45th Annual Grammys received widespread acclaim by breaking new ground as the first major awards show to be broadcast in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound. The technical demands of the HDTV and surround sound broadcast were even more complex this time, with the engineers involved in the musical portion of the program dedicated to achieving the highest quality audio, and all agreed the microphone selection was critical to the success of the event’s sound.
The team responsible for this year’s Grammys included a number of renowned contributors returning to help orchestrate this elaborate musical event. ATK/Audiotek provided the sound system with FOH engineer Ron Reeves, while the broadcast audio was supervised by Phil Ramone, chairman of the Producers & Engineers Wing at The Recording Academy, along with advisory council member Hank Neuberger and Murray Allen for Cossette Productions. New York-based 5.1 sound designer Randy Ezratty and his Effanel Music team remote truck, with music mixers John Harris and Jay Vicari, supplied the 5.1 surround and stereo feeds.
Just as last year, CBS wanted to deliver the most sophisticated form of HDTV–with 1,080 lines of picture resolution and 5.1 channels of CD-quality surround sound–requiring a broad selection of Audio-Technica microphones to be employed for the Grammys’ audio. The mic lineup included A-T’s AE2500 (kick drum and bass guitar amps), AE5100 (hi hat, cymbals, and percussion overheads), ATM25 (toms), AT4050 (overheads and guitar amps), ATM35 (violins and cellos), and AE5400 (back-up vocals and Leslie top/bottom).
The A-T Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless System was used for front-line vocals for The Beatles Tribute–featuring Vince Gill, Dave Matthews, Pharrell Williams, and Sting–Alicia Keys, The Foo Fighters, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic with members of OutKast and Earth Wind & Fire, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Sean Paul, and The Black Eyed Peas. In addition, three Audio-Technica AT4050’s were used for vocals on the Warren Zevon Tribute that featured Jackson Browne, Dwight Yoakam, Billy Bob Thornton, the Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit, Jorge Calderón, and Zevon’s children Jordan and Arial.
John Harris, lead music mixer for the Grammys and longtime Audio-Technica user with such credits as classic MTV Unplugged segments, numerous VH1 Storytellers, and the A&E Live By Request series, explained his choice of microphones for the 46th Annual Grammy Awards: “Every year the demand for microphones and wireless systems increases, and this year was no exception. I started using A-T hard-wired microphones for vocals quite a while ago and had remarkable success, so I’ve used them in every application I could since then. For the second year in a row, many of the Grammy acts are using the Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless System. The 5000 Series utilizes the same capsule as the AE5400 hard-wired mic, which means I’m able to have the capsule I like on a truly stable RF system. I complement the wireless with the AE5400 hard-wired mics for back-up vocals–that’s one way I can achieve consistency in the audio. A-T’s 5000 Series is a big leap forward in wireless technology with a proven track record on live broadcasts, where you do not get a second chance. It’s a better sounding system and has a reputation for dependability throughout the audio community.”
Harris continued, “I’ve also been using the AE2500 since it came out, and it was in every kick drum on the Grammy stage. Since you can split the signal from the AE2500, I had it come into the Neve Capricorn Digital console as two separate inputs, which allowed me to copy and link equalizers. I balanced the inputs so the volume and level were about the same and then I linked everything to them. Using this technique, the result is great coherence. The AE2500 continues to be my favorite kick mic.”
Co-music mixer for the Grammys Jay Vicari, whose clients include Saturday Night Live, Last Call with Carson Daly, the MTV Video Movie Awards, and HBO, echoed Harris’s sentiments and explained the factors that influenced his decision to use Audio-Technica mics once again, at the Grammys. “Last year, I chose the Audio-Technica mics based on their superior sound quality and versatility. The mics performed flawlessly so why fix something if it’s not broken,” said Vicari. “In fact, I’ve used the AE2500 dual-element kick drum mic on all the shows I’ve recently mixed. I know I can depend on Audio-Technica microphones and they will sound great.”
As part of A-T’s ongoing commitment to support live sound and touring professionals using its products, the company sent Bob Green, Audio-Technica product manager for Wireless Microphones, and Gary Boss, to spend the week in LA during Grammy rehearsals and offer technical assistance. Both Green and Boss worked closely with Effanel Music’s Randy Ezratty and Joel Singer, as well as ATK/Audiotek, providing their extensive knowledge on microphone selection.
Commenting on the use of the A-T mics at the Grammys, Boss stated, “The highest compliment is to have leading artists, sound companies, and broadcast professionals using our microphones in a critical application where you only get one take. With literally hundreds of Audio-Technica hard-wired and wireless products onstage at the 46th Annual Grammys, I couldn’t ask for more. We’re honored they chose A-T again.”
Audio-Technica U.S., Inc.