Robbie Williams spent much of April, May and June on tour throughout Europe promoting his latest album, Swings Both Ways – culminating in four nights at The O2 Arena in London – with a package of Sennheiser microphones and in-ear monitors.
The tour’s audio system was supplied by Britannia Row Productions, and included 10 channels of Sennheiser SKM 5200 series handheld microphones with MD 5235 capsules and 22 channels of 2000 series in-ear monitors.
“There were a lot of challenges with the vocal microphones, because on this tour there is a great dynamic in the style of song – from solo ballads, through swing numbers to full-on rock mode,” Simon Hodges, FOH engineer, comments. “This is a challenge for the mic, especially when Robbie is in front of the PA a lot of the time.”
While Hodges and monitor engineer Pete McGlynn were already fans of the SKM 5200/MD 5235 combination, Sennheiser UK’s Mark Saunders says he was “keen to help them improve the sound even further”. “Mark produced a variation of the MD 5235 that has a slightly more manageable low end response as the proximity changes,” McGlynn explains. “It proved to be hugely beneficial if Robbie gets right on the mic, without having to use extra compression or dynamic EQ. The result was a very natural sound.”
“The new version gave us an uncoloured, intelligible vocal sound even when being pushed hard in front if the PA,” Hodges concludes.
The Swings Both Ways tour continues in September with eight dates in Australia.