Bruno Mars’ front-of-house engineer, Derek Brener
New York, NY (October 14, 2013)—After a successful US leg of his tour, pop star Bruno Mars will continue his Moonshine Jungle Tour in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, bringing along with him a collection of Sennheiser microphones and wireless systems.
At the MTV VMAs, which were broadcast from New York City’s Barclays Center and reached more than 10.1 million viewers, Mars sang his new single, “Gorilla,” through a Sennheiser SKM 5200-II wireless transmitter and MD 5235 capsule.
“When I took on the Bruno Mars gig over two and a half years ago,” recalls James Berry, monitor engineer for Bruno Mars, “I began transitioning the background singers first, then worked with the front-of-house guy to get Bruno to try a Sennheiser microphone. Now you couldn’t pry that microphone out of his hands if you tried.”
At the VMAs, one particular challenge was the massive LED walls at the rear of the stage. “We had to shoot the wireless signal right through the LED walls,” Berry recalls. “We did a lot of pre-planning on antenna placement when we got there. It was all rock solid and performed flawlessly.” The monitor crew used Sennheiser’s WSM software to save set-up time: “We used WSM to preload all the frequencies we were sent, so when we arrived, we just booted up the system and were ready to go in about 10 minutes.”
After trying various Sennheiser capsule and transmitter combinations for some time, Berry and FOH engineer Derek Brener eventually settled on an SKM 5200 handheld transmitter with an MD 5235 capsule. “For me, the MD 5235 capsule punches through the PA system better than any other microphone we’ve used on Bruno Mars,” says Brener. “Bruno is very involved with Derek and me on the way things sound and has very clear ideas on what he wants and what he expects,” Berry adds. “Now, it is a comfort thing. Whether we are playing arenas, stadiums or awards shows, there is no debating—he wants Sennheiser, and that’s what he’s going to get.”