Los Angeles, CA (October 24, 2005)–For the September birth of his son, pop superstar Seal carved a two-month block out of his regularly brisk performance schedule to be at home. In doing so, the artist rented an empty home nearby for a performance and songwriting environment for he and his band to use during the down time. The workspace includes a full-band rehearsal setup, monitored and documented via a Yamaha PM5D digital console and several digital audio workstations, respectively. The band listened via Sennheiser G2 in-ear wireless monitoring systems and recorded to both Digidesign Pro Tools and Apple Logic DAW platforms.
Seal–who performs live using a Neumann/Sennheiser hybrid microphone, a combination of the KK 105-S capsule head and Sennheiser’s 5000 Series wireless transmitter–wielded the Neumann KMS 105 supercardioid condenser microphone during his home sessions. “It was a perfect setup for Seal to have access to everything the band has been using for the past two years,” explained Strayer. “And he’s always writing–it’s non-stop.”
Seal’s live monitoring engineer Marty Strayer commented, “Artists generally don’t write and create in front of many people. But Seal is not afraid to do that; he likes to hear your opinions and see your reactions about his music. He’s really open and is an amazing songwriter with an amazing style on the guitar that many people don’t realize. It’s been a thrill to be around so much to help him out.”
Marty Strayer functions as both recording and monitoring engineer for Seal using the Neumann KMS 105 for recording and the Sennheiser SKM5000-N with KK 105-S capsule and G2 personal monitors for his recent West Coast tour.Now back on the road, Strayer, Seal, and the rest of the artist’s band and production team are currently touring venues on the West Coast, obviously making it a priority to stay close to home and newborn. The dates, which are utilizing house PA systems with returning FOH engineer Stewart Bennett at the helm, are quite a bit simpler affairs from the perspective of load-in/load-out, which is just fine.
“Even I have a nice, small footprint,” explained Strayer of his rig. “It’s great. In advancing these gigs, there are no racks of gear I have to get. It’s just my PM5D, my power supply, and my IEM system. I couldn’t ask for anything better or easier.”
This ease is also encouraged by Seal’s propensity to use IEM monitoring on-stage, courtesy of a comprehensive Sennheiser G2 wireless monitoring system. Lacking both the extra weight issues and negative sonic effects that lugging wedges can present to a streamlined tour, the Sennheiser G2 system has consistently proven to be a pleasure to use, said Strayer.
“Along with other benefits, the quality of the Sennheiser systems is great,” he insisted. “I’ve used their gear for 14 years now and can say that company support has been awesome. I closely watched the development of in-ear monitors, and these make me feel particularly confident about my work. To be honest, if someone called me in to mix anyone–I don’t care who it is–and I could use my Sennheiser G2 personal monitors, I would be confident that I could. In the past with wedges, I might’ve not felt that way; I could be scared to death. As I get more and more artists to in-ear technology, I feel more confident about what I’m capable of doing for people.”
While Strayer’s gig with Seal has taken him to every sort of professional performance venue imaginable–from the largest stadiums in Europe to the most intimate theaters in America–Strayer is currently preferring the comfortable work environment of the latter. “I almost forgot what it was like,” explained Strayer of working in theaters after mixing monitors for the big production tours of Cher, Tina Turner, and Madonna throughout his career. “It’s so much different, and it’s not about the production, it’s about music. Seal is pretty spontaneous up there; he and the band are always looking to do different things, which always makes it feel special, no matter what show it is.”