Toronto (March 27, 2006)–If you’re a fan of all things Middle Earth, then you know that last Thursday night, the place to be was not Hobbiton, but rather the World Premiere Gala at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre for the new The Lord of the Rings musical.
While fans of the epic trilogy the world over are curious as to whether the production can actually pull it off, sound pros can marvel over a different epic undertaking: the coordination of 155 wireless devices used simultaneously in one location, including 73 channels of Sennheiser wireless used for the actors’ microphone systems (64 channels), monitoring systems (4 channels), Voice of God system (4 channels) and a radio link system (1 channel).
“This is the most ambitious theatrical production ever staged, and thanks to a strong technological performance by Sennheiser, theatregoers will be able to enjoy the powerful sounds of India’s most popular composer, A.R. Rahman, and the rhythmic and forceful vocals of Finnish neo-folk group Värttinä, as well as an ensemble of outstanding performers,” said the show’s producer, Kevin Wallace.
A total of 64 UHF bodypack transmitters (SK 5012 and SK 50) are worn by the cast. The flight of these wireless signals is picked up by eight UHF mainframes with eight receiver modules each, while two SMCD software systems provide visual monitoring of these 64 channels simultaneously.
“I knew for a frequency situation this complicated it absolutely had to be Sennheiser,” said Simon Baker, sound designer of the show. “It is virtually impossible that all of these signals are sharing the same airspace and not conflicting with one another, but they are. The Lord of the Rings is a tremendous accomplishment, not only artistically, but from a technological point of view as well.”
Audiences will also hear ambient sounds and music from the Orchestra thanks to wired Sennheiser and Neumann microphones. A pair of Sennheiser RF condenser shotgun microphones will pick up ambient sound on stage, while 17 Sennheiser and Neumann microphones will be used in the orchestra pit.