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Miking Ricky Skaggs at the CMAs

Skaggs’ CMA set brought old- and new-school performers together for a show highlight.

Nashville, TN (November 16, 2018)—The annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards always serves up some of the biggest names in country music, presenting multiple generations’ favorite artists. This year’s edition, held Wednesday night, was no different, as current-day artists like Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs and Bebe Rexha and legends like Ricky Skaggs all took to the stage—and as it happens, all four used Sennheiser and Neumann wireless microphones for the event.

Skaggs used a Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless system coupled with a Neumann KK 204 cardioid capsule, which was also used by his entourage of backup singers. Skaggs, who was recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, had an all-acoustic lineup featuring his bluegrass band Kentucky Thunder. They performed the old-time standard “Black Eyed Suzie,” before moving into some of his own country music hits.

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Skaggs also used a Neumann TLM 49 to capture his signature mandolin sound. His band was also outfitted with Sennheiser and Neumann, including the Sennheiser e 914 and Neumann KM 184 on acoustic guitars; an additional Neumann TLM 49 for the banjo, and a Neumann KMS 104 for fiddle.

Skaggs’ drummer, who used Sennheiser e 904 and e 902 microphones on toms and kick drums, respectively, as well as Neumann KM 184 overhead mics, then revved up the medley, ushering in a full acoustic and electric band for a performance of some of Skaggs’ country hits. Joined first by Keith Urban, plus John Osborne the from Brothers Osborne, for a rendition “Highway 40 Blues,” Skaggs’ set crested with a performance of “Country Boy,” as he was joined by country music stars Brad Paisley and Marty Stuart, as well as young musicians Carson Peters, Sierra Hull, and Justin Moses.

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Skaggs’ tour manager and monitor engineer Grant Hartford, noted, “Ricky is very well acquainted with audio equipment, and he’s got a long history with Neumann because of the build quality and sound quality of each mic. He’s been a longtime user of Neumann on the stage, as well. A big part of our sound on the road comes from the Neumann mics, both on his vocals and especially the mandolin, with the TLM 49, which helps him to get a good bark and chop out of his mandolin playing. It’s just always been a part of our workflow.”

Sennheiser •