Bespoke Sennheiser RF solutions used for Coldplay tour

Using the company’s Media Control Protocol, Sennheiser tackles potential RF problems caused by Coldplay’s massive stadium stage layout.
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Using the company’s Media Control Protocol, Sennheiser tackles potential RF problems caused by Coldplay’s massive stadium stage layout.

A bespoke solution provided by Sennheiser has curbed potential RF issues caused by Coldplay’s stage layout. Touring a mixture of arenas and stadiums in Europe and North America since 2011, Coldplay’s shows are performed on a main stage with a centre runway projecting out and ending in a second, smaller 'B' stage. In addition there is also a C stage at the back of the arena, right amongst the audience. The entire band wears Sennheiser 2000 series IEMs and although in arenas all three stages are usually coverable from the main stage RF equipment, it hasn’t always been possible in stadiums. “In stadiums, the ‘C’ stage is usually at the opposite end of the pitch to the main stage. This, along with location specific radio pollution, meant we needed to come up with a solution for local RF transmission for the band and crew’s IEMs on the C stage.” said the band’s RF engineer Ali Viles (pictured). “It was imperative that the radio coverage to all the stages was seamless, without any signal loss or dropout. We looked at several options, but all involved complex additional infrastructure and considerable expense.” Sennheiser’s solution is based on the company’s Media Control Protocol, which enables the company’s rackmount devices to communicate directly with control units within an Ethernet network (UDP/IP). The units can then be remote-controlled and monitored directly from a central control panel, via an iPad, iPhone, or mixing console. Working with Viles, Sennheiser designed a standalone application using the Media Control Protocol, which allows simultaneous remote control of the RF mute facilities on multiple IEM transmitters. “The software means that it’s possible to have a set of identical 2000 series IEM transmitters, on the same frequencies, located local to the stages at either end of the stadium and to swap which ones are transmitting at the touch of a button from a laptop,” said Viles. “As the band run through the audience between the two stages, it’s possible to switch the RF transmission between the two locations. This means that the band hears virtually seamless coverage as they move between the stages.” In related news, Rik Simpson, Coldplay's co-producer and recording/mixing engineer has recently purchased a pair of Unity Audio Rock MK II active monitors, which he used to mix the entire forthcoming Coldplay live DVD. “They've saved my ears, it's great that I can work at low levels for long periods and hear everything,” said Simpson. The clarity and depth of perception is something that I've never expected to find on such a small speaker like The Rock. The bass response is surprisingly deep, transient response snappy, and stereo depth impressively wide. I love them!”



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