Sennheiser Digital 6000 Wi-fi System Shines Shiny Throughout Rihanna’s Tremendous Bowl LVII Halftime Efficiency

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In her first dwell efficiency in seven years, the star used a Sennheiser microphone within the face of a harsh RF atmosphere

Rihanna delivered the second-most watched halftime present in Tremendous Bowl historical past on Sunday, exceeding the typical viewership of the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs soccer match by 5 million, in response to information from Fox. The extremely anticipated efficiency was pushed by Sennheiser’s Digital 6000 wi-fi microphone system and a customized chrome SKM 6000 transmitter with an MD 9235 dynamic cardioid microphone capsule. The selection to go along with the Sennheiser wi-fi system might look like a minor element, however the sonic integrity of the efficiency hung within the stability because the State Farm Enviornment within the better Phoenix space is technically one of the difficult environments for coordinating wi-fi frequencies.

There have been over 2000 frequencies coordinated in Phoenix over the Tremendous Bowl weekend as dozens of simultaneous occasions occurred within the space, together with the 2023 NFL Honors Awards, varied VIP occasions, out of doors live shows and extra. With this, and the ever-shrinking spectrum obtainable for wi-fi microphone operators, the audio engineers and frequency coordinators for this 12 months’s broadcast had their work minimize out for them.

“Phoenix is a difficult metropolis as a result of it’s the just one that formally doesn’t have a vacant UHF TV channel. They’re all allotted for broadcast, so there’s little or no spectrum obtainable for wi-fi mics,” says Joe Ciaudelli, Director of Spectrum & Innovation at Sennheiser, “to make issues extra sophisticated, though it’s an indoor stadium with a retractable roof, the State Farm Enviornment doesn’t present a lot shielding from exterior RF indicators, making it weak to interference.” Ciaudelli is an business veteran and worldwide professional on spectrum and wi-fi system operations. He contributed the chapter on wi-fi microphones to the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Handbook and is a personal sector adviser within the U.S. delegation to the Worldwide Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations’ specialised company on data and communications.

The placement and circumstances made the already high-stakes Tremendous Bowl halftime present that rather more exacting for the audio professionals concerned. “Due to their resourcefulness and diligent planning, the audio engineers and NFL frequency coordinators had been capable of fight the cruel RF atmosphere this 12 months by leveraging Particular Non permanent Authorizations (STA) through the FCC, together with another workarounds,” recounts Ciaudelli. An STA offers licensed wi-fi microphone operators short-term entry to frequency bands that aren’t permitted for wi-fi mics. The engineers additionally leveraged channels occupied by low energy or distant TV stations and used intelligent placement of directional antennas to additional attenuate these undesirable TV indicators, earlier than being picked up by the wi-fi microphone receivers. With out this planning and resourcefulness, your complete broadcast, together with Rihanna’s efficiency, would have been liable to audio dropouts and interference – a large potential fake pas for her long-awaited exhibiting.

Past safeguarding the wi-fi sign through the STA and directional antennas, the audio group needed to be considerate with the selection of the wi-fi microphone system for Rihanna. Not solely to make sure her vocals sounded as exceptional because the final time she carried out dwell all these years in the past, but additionally to fight the robust RF atmosphere and set up a dependable wi-fi connection. Her MD 9235 microphone capsule supplied sparkle on her vocals, whereas the Digital 6000 did the remainder. Ciaudelli shares, “not solely is the Digital 6000 with the MD 9235 capsule a fantastic sounding microphone, however it additionally has such good intermodulation suppression and a clear RF sign. That is one software that might work in an atmosphere the place all others would possibly fail – it’s a marvel of engineering from each the RF and audio standpoints. I’m not stunned that it was utilized by the star.”

Ciaudelli continues, “this 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl highlights the challenges of an absence of appropriate obtainable spectrum for wi-fi mics that has led STAs to be a tiresome staple at nearly all skilled sporting occasions right this moment. Although it’s referred to as a Particular Non permanent Authorization, it’s changing into so routinely used that they may as nicely begin calling them Commonplace Non permanent Authorizations.” As skilled sporting occasions turn into extra multifaceted and the wi-fi audio and video channel counts enhance, the challenges of the spectrum crunch will solely get tougher to navigate.