Stockholm, Sweden – April 2011… With nine vocalists on stage performing directly in front of the orchestra, no visible microphones allowed on the performers, a mixture of classical music, opera, and selections from musicals, and the need for both live sound reinforcement and recording, Sweden's annual Epiphany concert turned to the experienced Lars Wern to serve as their head of live sound.
The Swedish Television Company SVT and Swedish radio broadcaster SR organized the Epiphany concert—or “Trettondagskonsert” in Swedish—in Stockholm's Berwaldhallen concert hall, home of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Anu Tali of Estonia served as conductor.
As part of his planning for the concert, Wern coordinated the choice of wireless microphone systems—the Sennheiser SK 2000-XP transmitters and EM 2050 receivers—with Sweden's DM Audio. All nine vocalists were outfitted with the new Countryman B2D Directional Lavaliere microphones. Wern discussed the challenges of this project that led to his decision to deploy the new Countryman B2D's.
“The show's producer, Bengt Wennerhost-Norrman, made it very clear there were to be no visible microphones,” states Wern. “Since the vocalists were in front of the orchestra and, as a result, highly visible at all times, we simply couldn't use conventional earset mics. In most cases for both theatre and musicals, I would typically use omnidirectional earset mics with a small boom to position the capsule close to the performer's mouth, but in this case, they were considered too visible. I was fortunate to have access to the new Countryman B2D, which is literally the world's smallest directional lavaliere mic with a size roughly the diameter of a number #2 lead pencil. I had tested these microphones previously with a variety of artists, so I was confident they would deliver in this application. Upon seeing the B2D's incredibly small size, the producer was very pleased.”
With their excellent sound quality optimized for accurate voice pick-up when positioned on either the chest or head, the Countryman B2D microphones were very discreetly placed on the performers. Wern reports most microphones were hidden in the hair on the performers' foreheads, though a few were actually secured onto the performer's chins. In all cases, the placement of the B2D's was carefully managed by the show's makeup artists and Robert Ernlund, who served as the event's wireless coordinator.
This year's performance was a resounding success—due in no small part to the performance of the Countryman B2D microphones. Reflecting on the event, Wern reports everyone involved in the production was extremely impressed. “The concert was a tremendous success,” Wern said, “and, in no small part, the Countryman B2D's were, without question, the best possible choice of microphone. The performance of the hypercardioid polar pattern made it possible to provide clean, clear sound to reinforce the vocalists without affecting the orchestra sound. The audio quality was also amazing in the broadcast signal.”
“The B2D's delivered plenty of gain before feedback and we also experienced far less sound leakage from the orchestra,” Wern continued. “The B2D's tight polar pattern provided excellent isolation. Broadcast engineers Ian Cederholm and Rune Sundvall, together with the orchestra producer Jan B. Larsson, were all very pleased with the audio quality.”
About Countryman Associates
For more than 30 years, Countryman has focused on developing microphones and accessories that deliver maximum gain before feedback, with the highest possible rejection of wind, vibration, interference, and other unwanted sounds. The result is warm, clear vocals in speaking and singing applications, delivering natural audio reinforcement that requires almost no attention from the sound engineer or the performer. For additional information about Countryman Associates, visit the company online at www.countryman.com.
Photo Info: Image of Stockholm's Berwaldhallen concert hall.