"Tonight Show" Upgrades Cast Mics

Mar 26, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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Audio engineer Pat Lucatorto, show mixer on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for the past two years, has recently upgraded all eight cast mics. "We use five lavaliers for guests, and now all five of those are Sennheiser MKE Platinums, plus Jay and Kevin Eubanks [house band leader and Leno sidekick], so that's seven. The eighth is a spare."

The eight lavalier microphones—normally allocated to Leno, Eubanks and the show's speaking guests—are occasionally supplemented for larger performances. "Depending on the number of guests, we will add to that," said Lucatorto. "I think the most lavs we've had on the show was close to 30. We had a theatrical production as our musical number, so we probably had 20 cast mics on singers. In those cases, we used the venerable Sennheiser MKE 2s."

The Tonight Show, which features an Innova-Son digital console mixing the house sound for the audience, switched over to Sennheiser SK 5012 subminiature wireless bodypack transmitters a few months ago. "The SK 5012 sounds great and it's perfect for guests, especially women, who prefer a 'barely there' transmitter," said Lucatorto. "The extraordinarily small dimensions of the 5012 make them easy to hide on the person." Lucatorto noted that many guests are not used to wearing wireless microphone apparatus, "since boom microphones are more typically used in film and TV production. Wearing a lav and bodypack is a chore for them. We figure the smaller we can get them, the easier it is to get them to wear them, so we can put them on in the right position."

For more on the Sennheiser microphones, visit www.sennheiserusa.com.

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