Grammy Gear, Artists Unveiled

Feb 17, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors

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The 46th Annual Grammy Awards broadcast, held February 8, 2004, will be remembered for highlighting some of the industry's most notable musicians, as well as for some unfortunate midshow production glitches. Audio patching difficulties aside, the event's gear was both functional, even innovative, and helped to earn a positive overall response from this year's Grammy audience.

Among the manufacturers at the show this year were Lexicon, ADAM Audio, Audio-Technica, Sennheiser and Neumann. This was the second year in a row that the Lexicon Pro™ 960L Multi-Channel Digital Effects System was used for the Grammys, handling up to eight channels of discrete digital audio simultaneously. CBS distributed HDTV’s 1,080 lines of picture resolution and 5.1 channels of CD-quality surround sound in a number of major markets on its High-Definition Television Network.

The HDTV/5.1 broadcast was mixed and monitored by a combination of top-tier professionals, including award-winning location recording specialists Effanel Music. The 5.1 mix was supervised by Phil Ramone, chairman of the Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing, along with advisory council member Hank Neuberger and Murray Allen for Cossette Productions.

Effanel president Randy Ezratty (pictured, right) was the official 5.1 sound designer, and music mixers included John Harris and Jay Vicari. Effanel Music used an AMS-Neve Capricorn digital console that allowed the audio teams to generate both a purpose-built stereo mix and a separate 5.1 mix simultaneously. Ezratty added other mono and stereo elements and “sweetened” the audio using the Lexicon 960L.

In addition, Ezratty purchased a 5.1 system comprising five ADAM Audio S2-A two-way active near-field monitors, along with a Sub-P powered subwoofer. The system was installed in one of Effanel’s mobile facilities at the Staples Center, and was used by Ezratty to monitor and mix the 5.1 feed. Says Ezratty, “There were a lot of golden ears at the Grammys, and the ADAMs blew us all away!" The S2-A houses ADAM’s noted A.R.T. folded-ribbon tweeter and a 7.25-inch Hexacone woofer, along with dual 150W discrete amplifiers. The Sub-P contains an 11-inch woofer, and is powered by a 200W amplifier.

The A-T Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless System was used for front-line vocals for The Beatles Tribute that featured Vince Gill, Dave Matthews and Sting; Alicia Keys (pictured); the Foo Fighters; George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic with members of OutKast and Earth, Wind & Fire; Robert Randolph & The Family Band; Sean Paul; and the Black Eyed Peas. In addition, three Audio-Technica AT4050s were used for vocals on the Warren Zevon Tribute that featured Jackson Browne, Dwight Yoakam, Billy Bob Thornton, The Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit, Jorge Calderón, and Zevon’s children, Jordan and Arial.

This year's multiple Grammy-winner and standout performer, Beyoncé (pictured), took home five trophies and used a satin-nickel finish Sennheiser SKM 5000-N with Neumann KK 105-S capsule. The singer ties Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Lauryn Hill for the most Grammys won by a female artist. Coincidently, all five-time Grammy female artists used either Sennheiser or Neumann microphones during their Grammy performances: Alicia Keys (SK 5012), Norah Jones (KMS 105) and Lauren Hill (SKM 5000).

Celine Dion remained poised when an audio patching problem threatened to spoil her tribute to Luther Vandross. Dion has been using an SKM 5000 wireless for nearly a decade, but used the KK 105-S capsule delivered her rendition of "Dance With My Father."

Other performers who used a Neumann KMS 150 vocal mic onstage included Sting (pictured, bottom right), the White Stripes and Sarah McLachlan.

For more information about this year's Grammy Awards, go to www.grammy.com. To check out more about Sennheiser, click on www.sennheiserusa.com; ADAM Audio information can be found at www.adam-audio.com.

Beyoncé and Sting photo credits: Getty Images






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