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GRAMMYs 2020 powered by fully digital signal path with Sennheiser’s 6000 system

Sennheiser’s Digital 6000 facilitated a completely digital signal path for the show

Lizzo. Getty Images.

Pro audio powerhouse Sennheiser’s Digital 6000 wireless microphone system powered a completely digital signal path for the GRAMMY Awards 2020, marking a first for the show. You can read more about who won at the Awards ceremony here.

More than 20 channels of Sennheiser Digital 6000 RF were deployed across the event, which saw mesmerising performances from the likes of Lizzo, Brandi Carlile, and Blake Shelton. After receiving the microphone signal, each receiver channel was then relayed across a dual-redundant Dante network which carried multiple streams of identical multi-channel audio all the way to various digital mixing consoles located throughout the venue.

Jeff Peterson, PA designer for ATK Audiotek, commented: “This is the first time the GRAMMY Awards has been able to deliver the vocal wireless mics on a completely digital path all the way to every mixing console.

“The RF on this show is complex, to say the least. Monitoring, control, and flexibility are the features that help us the most, and we benefit considerably by the Digital 6000’s resistance to interference, in addition to its efficient use of bandwidth.”

According to GRAMMY Awards audio coordinator Michael Abbott, by combining a high-quality digital wireless microphone system and a Dante network as a transport protocol, the show has achieved a vastly improved frequency response. “The mixers have commented on how they are able to do less EQ carving in the low-mid frequencies, and the extended high frequency response we are getting with the wireless mics is introducing low pass filtering – which we have not had to do in the past.”

Abbott, who has been using Sennheiser systems on the GRAMMY Awards for more than 30 years, specified the Digital 6000 system for all of the production and MC microphones at this year’s show. “We appreciate the frequency agility of the Digital 6000 in such an RF-intense environment,” he said. “This allows us to deploy multiple transmitters and receivers with reliable performance.”

Stephen Vaughn, coordinator for Soundtronics Wireless, ensured that all of the wireless microphones and in-ear monitors worked in harmony with each other. “The Digital 6000 is impressive,” he stated. “The amount of frequencies I can get in one TV channel is the part that really helps me out in today’s environment. Even if you don’t have a scope, you can just look at the quality metre on the front of the unit and tell whether or not you are taking on interference or not. Also, the fact that the Digital 6000 transmitters use rechargeable batteries is a key factor for me, since I am tired of dumping hundreds of batteries in the trash. With the 6000, there is none of that: you just recharge them and just reuse them. I am leaving a much greener footprint during these shows and I feel more comfortable using these over disposable batteries.”

Lizzo sang through a Sennheiser SKM 6000 handheld transmitter coupled with an MD 9235 capsule.  The GRAMMY winner’s flute was adorned with a Sennheiser SK 6212 wireless mini-bodypack transmitter and an ME 104 lavalier microphone.

“The SKM 6000 and MD 9235 has been my go-to combination since the D6000 line debuted – the capsule is a perfect fit for Lizzo’s powerful vocal,” said Brandon Blackwell, FOH engineer for Lizzo. “She is a very strong vocalist and unlike capsules from other manufacturers, the frequency response does not seem to collapse, losing the warmth in the low mid frequencies and the high-end definition.”

For her flute performances, Blackwell said that going wireless has been liberating: “When I first joined, Lizzo was playing her flute into her vocal microphone on a stand. Now, with the SK 6212 transmitter, she can play when and wherever she wants. The transmitter is so small and lightweight, that you can barely see it. Paired with the cardioid ME 104 lavalier microphone and some precise placement by our monitor engineer/flute tech Loreen Bohannon, we get a rich sound from her flute. Also, can we talk about the battery life? It is amazing.”

You can find out more about Lizzo’s general tour set up from her engineers here. Sennheiser’s 6000 was also recently used on Frank Turner’s tour.