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Sennheiser mics ‘falling free’ on Madonna tour

Madonna’s 2012 MDNA World Tour makes use of six Sennheiser SKM 5200 microphones, which have stood up to the significant battering they take from the staged violence at each show.

Madonna’s 2012 MDNA World Tour features a large Sennheiser microphone and RF system, provided by Eighth Day Sound. As monitor engineer Matt Napier explained, the six Sennheiser SKM 5200 microphones used for each show get tested to the limit: “The 5200s get a real battering. The whole first section of the show is highly stylised with an almost comic book aggression. There is a lot of staged violence and the microphones get hurled around and are frequently being thrown to and from dancers and onto the floor,” he said. “We’re going through a new microphone every ten shows or so. But given that the 5200 is not a microphone designed for such abuse, I think they are standing up remarkably well. Of course we have a whole drawer of spares from Sennheiser!” An additional six 5200s with MD 5005 capsules are used throughout the tour for backing and guest vocal microphones. Together with Madonna’s vocal mics, these use 12 MkII 3732 wireless receivers. Fourteen 2000 series wireless systems are used for in-ear monitors, with 14 more for guitar systems. In addition, a percussion trio uses SKP 2000 plug in transmitters, taking the overall wireless channel count to around 50. “The plug-in transmitters are a very useful solution, because the trio comes on stage, does its section and goes off again. There’s no time to cable the musicians up. It’s a very neat way of using RF,” said Napier. “On top of everything else, there is also a wireless comms system, so we are probably up to 70 channels of RF at each show – and we have had no problems at all.