Anthony Jones (left) and Michael "Fodder" Carrico supervise the audio operations for Wicked's second North American tour.
New York (July 25, 2011)—-The current national theatrical tour of the Broadway hit Wicked sports extensive amounts of Sennheiser wireless products.
Michael "Fodder" Carrico and Anthony Jones, who supervise the audio operations for Wicked's second North American tour, are responsible for keeping the audio running smoothly during the shows, monitoring the performance of the wireless RF and mixing the shows from FOH. Wicked Sound Designer Tony Meola was responsible for choosing Sennheiser. "All of the wireless we use on the tour is Sennheiser," Jones says. "We have 44 SK 5212 body pack transmitters coupled with Sennheiser's top of the line EM 3732 receivers; these cover the microphones for the entire cast."
Adhering to the production schedule while on the road with Wicked is fundamentally important. By lunchtime on the first day of load-in, the crew likes to have the sound up and running in time to make any fine-tuning adjustments. Jones says that the SK 5212 is an enormous time saver in this regard since wireless pairing is done automatically via a built-in infrared sensor. "You just enter the frequency into the receiver, hold the transmitter next to it and then you're done. Then you can move on and work on something else."
Sennheiser's Wireless Systems Manager (WSM) software gives Jones and Carrico full visibility into the entire wireless operation, helping eliminate operational and logistical challenges. "You've got 44 receivers that could be set up in a basement somewhere,” Jones says. “Before you go running around trying to solve a problem, you can boot up WSM and see if it is RF strain on an antenna, a dead battery or even if the muting is on. This saves a lot of headache."
Recently, the Wicked tour passed through Albuquerque, where Sennheiser has a wireless plant that manufactures microphones, wireless personal monitors and wireless transmission systems. Jones and Carrico took the opportunity to visit the plant and see the people and the process behind the products. "We were playing for three weeks at Popejoy Hall at University of New Mexico," Jones recalls. "We were invited on a tour of the facility and it was very enlightening to say the least."