Sennheiser and Neumann wireless microphones were recently deployed for the 52nd Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards for multiple Grammy Award-winning artist Ricky Skaggs, as well as Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs and pop music singer/songwriter Bebe Rexha.
The evening featured a performance by Skaggs on 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 a heartfelt rendition of the old-time standard “Black Eyed Suzie,” before moving into some of his own hits.
A longtime advocate of Neumann microphones, Skaggs also relied on a Neumann TLM 49 to capture his signature mandolin sound. His band was also outfitted with Sennheiser and Neumann products, including the Sennheiser e 914 and Neumann KM 184, which were chosen to reproduce the accompanying acoustic guitars; an additional Neumann TLM 49 was used with the banjo, as well as a Neumann KMS 104 for fiddle.
Skaggs’ drummer — relying on 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’ iconic country hits.
Joined first by Keith Urban, plus John Osborne the from Brothers Osborne, for a rendition “Highway 40 Blues,” Skaggs’ set crescendoed into 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.
When it came to choosing the mics Skaggs would use for the CMA Awards, his tour manager and monitor engineer Grant Hartford said that Sennheiser and Neumann were the ideal choice, in terms of both reliability and transparency.
“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,” Hartford says. “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.”
The CMA Awards also featured performances by country music’s next generation of artists, including New Artist of the Year winner Luke Combs, who used a Sennheiser SKM 5200 handheld transmitter coupled with a Neumann KK 104 microphone capsule for his performance of “She Got The Best Of Me,” and Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Kelsea Ballerini, who performed her hit “Miss Me More” using a Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless system and MD 9235 capsule combination.
In addition to the evening’s memorable country music performances, Sennheiser was featured prominently throughout the CMA Awards. Pop music artist Bebe Rexha, whose co-writing credits on the song “Meant To Be” with Florida Georgia Line have earned her two nominations, performed the song using a Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless system and MD 9235 capsule combination.
All in all, it was another memorable awards ceremony for both the performers and audience, with Sennheiser wireless and wired microphones delivering outstanding clarity, reliability and audio quality throughout the entire evening.