Ed Sheeran performed a guitar-centric, stripped down version of Thinking Out Loud (photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
USA - At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards held at Los Angeles' Staples Centre, audio manufacturer Sennheiser once again delivered reliable and detailed wireless audio to a host of world-class recording artists including Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Beyoncé, Madonna, Tony Bennett, Annie Lennox, Miranda Lambert and many others.

Sennheiser user Sam Smith scooped up four awards, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album; Ed Sheeran performed a guitar-centric, stripped down version of his blockbuster Thinking Out Loud, singing through a Sennheiser SKM 2000/MD 9235 combination, and Beyoncé delivered the performance of a lifetime through the Sennheiser Digital 9000 wireless system.

During a ceremony that featured no less than 23 live performances, Beyoncé's powerful rendition of Thomas A. Dorsey's Take My Hand, Precious Lord - a traditional gospel hymn also sung by Mahalia Jackson at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral in 1968 - was the emotional pinnacle of the evening. Dressed in an angelic white gown and standing reverently amidst a choir of 12 men and a swooning church organ, Beyoncé's vocal navigated effortlessly through the quiet valleys and explosive passages of the timeless hymn.

The Sennheiser Digital 9000 was successful in capturing every nuance of Beyoncé's extraordinary range and vocal expression. "For this particular performance, she wanted to go for an old school vibe of singing in a church," observes Stephen Curtin, Beyoncé's FOH Engineer. "I had 100 percent confidence in the Digital 9000, since we just used it on Beyoncé and Jay Z's stadium tour, where it was rock solid. People may not be aware of this, but Beyoncé's Grammy performance was right in front of the P.A. system with SPLs reaching approximately 100 dB. We ran the vocals on top of all this without any issues at all. Having that kind of control is an entirely new experience in itself."

At monitors, James Berry was pleased with the performance of the SKM 9000 transmitter and MD 9235 capsule combination: "The audio was pure and clean, and represented her vocal better than any other microphone out there."

The audience was completely transfixed when Mary J. Blige joined Sam Smith on stage for an emotionally charged performance of his instant classic Stay With Me. Smith crooned through a Sennheiser SKM 2000 handheld transmitter coupled with an MMK 965 capsule, while Blige provided capable accompaniment singing through her Sennheiser SKM 5200 transmitter / Neumann KK 105 S capsule combination.

Madonna's performance of Living For Love was highlighted with her singing through a Sennheiser SKM 5200 transmitter coupled with an MD 5005 capsule, along with a Sennheiser 2000 IEM wireless system for monitoring.

Over the course of the evening, hosts and presenters such as Smokey Robinson, Miley Cyrus, LL Cool J and others used Sennheiser SKM 5200 handheld transmitters both on and off stage, coupled with with Neumann KK 105 S capsules.

In addition to having its products represented in the majority of Grammy performances, Sennheiser was also on the ground to support the event's enclave of FOH engineers, monitor engineers, broadcast professionals and RF technicians. "We wanted to use the Digital 9000 for the Grammys, but the sound vendor that we normally source it from had it out on another project," recalls Stephen Curtin. "We called up Sennheiser and asked if they could send a unit out, and before we knew it we had one on the ground with a complete microphone package. To be able to get a wireless system of that caliber so quickly was a great example of the support we received."

(Jim Evans)

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