Sennheiser's new bodypack transmitter for award-winning musical Come from Away

Sennheiser pointed the play's sound designer, Gareth Owen, to the new SK 6212, a light and compact digital mini-bodypack transmitter compatible with both the Sennheiser Digital 6000 and Digital 9000 systems
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Come from Away's sound designer Gareth Owen with his third Olivier award

Come from Away's sound designer Gareth Owen with his third Olivier award

The international award-winning musical Come from Away, playing on Broadway and in the West End, has its cast members using Sennheiser’s new SK 6212 bodypack transmitter.

The Sankoff/Hein musical Come from Away is a multi-threaded story focussing on the residents of Gander, Newfoundland, and some of the 70,000 passengers from 38 flights diverted to that small Canadian town in the week after the 9/11 attacks.

Recently, the musical scored four wins at the 2019 Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer, Best Music, and Best Sound Design. The Sound Design Award went to sound designer Gareth Owen, which was his third Olivier since 2014.

After an initial run with the London cast in Dublin, Owen felt that the traditional radio mic bodypack transmitter size was too big: “The holy grails of radio mics for musical theatre are invisible packs and invisible microphones – those are issues that are always coming up. For this show, the cast have to be double-miked because they don’t leave the stage, so there was a lot of pressure on us to find something smaller.”

Sennheiser pointed Owen to the new SK 6212, a light and compact digital mini-bodypack transmitter compatible with both the Sennheiser Digital 6000 and Digital 9000 systems. It’s as small as a matchbox at only 63 x 47 x 20mm, weighs just 112g, and achieves a guaranteed 12 hours of operation on one battery charge.

“We already knew that the Sennheiser digital radio systems were a big step up in quality,” said Owen. “Now we have the first ever transmitter small enough that you don’t get into an argument when you say you want to use two radio mics on a show – and it’s got a battery life that means we don’t have to change batteries between shows.”

Reese Kirsh, head of sound for the London production of Come from Away, stated: “The SK 6212’s battery life has been a game changer for production and rehearsal periods. We can get a whole day of work from a single charge, freeing up time for us to concentrate on other issues… We can hide the pack better than ever, and as it’s so durable we have no breakage fears with high-energy performances like this one.”

Kirsh also reported that the SK 6212 is appreciated by the artists too: “They love wearing the pack too. We’re constantly hearing comments like, ‘They’re so small and light, I feel like I’m not wearing them at all.’”

Since opening, the London version of Come from Away has paved the way for the US tour, which is following suit, swapping out older systems for the newer SK 6212 transmitters.

“I also have to mention the great support from Tim Sherratt and Simon Holley of Sennheiser,” added Owen. “They’ve been very good at delivering exactly what they’ve said they can do, and they haven’t made any promises they can’t keep. I’ve been very grateful for that.”

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