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Britannia Row takes MTV’s Europe Music Awards to the next level

Brit Row has deployed audio requirements to MTV's Europe Music Awards since 1997

Since 1997, Britannia Row has deployed audio requirements to MTV’s Europe Music Awards and this year was no different.

The 14-strong Brit Row team provided an L-Acoustics PA rig, Sennheiser mics and IEMs, and a plethora of DiGiCo SD7s (monitors), SD5s (FOH) and SD12s for the event.

This year’s winners included Artist of the Year – Ariana Grande, Best Live – BTS and Best Song – ‘Bad Guy by Billie Eilish, all of whom were honoured in a live televised ceremony staged in the Andalusian capital of Seville.  

“They’re the best in the business; a lot of artists feel comforted when they come to perform and see they’re in the hands of Brit Row. For 22 years, they’ve never let us down,” commented Andy Derbyshire, production executive, MTV EMAs. “This is MTV’s biggest annual awards show outside the US, so it’s of critical importance that it’s technically delivered to the highest level possible.

“We have major artists on this show, and there must be zero compromises with audio. We require the pinnacle of service, and for sound, this directs us to Brit Row. Their professional delivery, crew quality and crew continuity are imperative in making the EMAs a success.”

Pop stars Dua Lipa, Niall Horan and Mabel all performed at the event. Rod Clarkson, Mabel’s monitor engineer, said: “Having worked on the EMAs several times before, I’m acutely aware of the massive audience exposure and therefore the high expectations for any artist performing, so it’s always comforting for me and my artists to step up towards supremely well-prepared kit, along with an experienced and unflappable crew.

“I used a house SD7, and straight away, I knew live sound supervisor Colin Pink’s monitoring team of Dan Ungaretti and Wayne Sargent, had gone that extra mile to make things straightforward and flexible – even with the line-up and show changes happening right up to the last minute. Our pre-camera rehearsal soundcheck was always going to be very short, yet the skilled assistance of Josh Lloyd at FOH meant we were ready in good time.”

Clarkson has used an SD7 since 2007. “Its forward-thinking design has developed and expanded with the changing demands of modern productions,” he noted. “Putting an artist who’s used to handheld microphones on a headset would often provide the monitor engineer with a little challenge, but the standard onboard tools on the SD7 were more than enough to provide control of the vocal for both Mabel’s IEM and the dancers’ L-Acoustics stage monitoring. Having said that, the Cardioid Sennheiser HSP-4 headset sounded great from the word go, so that made things much easier.”

The Brit Row crew also had RF duties well under control. Clarkson continued: “The knowledge of Sapna Patel and Josh Thomas meant we had a well-distributed and backed up RF system around an LED-heavy screen-laden stage. On other shows with less experienced providers, I would have RF concerns. However, I knew Brit Row would cover this to the highest standard.”

Lloyd commented further: “On a multi-band, multi-artist show like this, there’s a lot of expectation across the board, in every technical department. This show needs big looks for television and so the EMAs always look incredible, but the PA design has to fit around its aesthetic while still achieving even coverage and seamless RF.”

Lloyd designed the PA system using a combination of Kara and K2 and boxes of the new L-Acoustics ARCS A15 line source, making this one of the first large-scale projects to use the product. He said: “These boxes are very useful in being able to control the floor because they have exceptional horizontal directivity. I think this is the best-sounding MTV show we’ve ever done.”

Clarkson summed up: “Working alongside Colin Pink and the entire Brit Row team is a pleasure and having always received awesome levels of support in the UK, Europe and worldwide, I’ll forever be happy to work alongside them.”