US: The 49th Annual Grammy Awards took place last week, aided by an extensive technical infrastructure that included microphones and wireless systems from Audio-Technica and Shure, and monitors from Genelec. Described as the most complex instalment of Grammy history, the event is now moving towards a "total HDTV/5.1 broadcast in 2009", reports David Davies.
The sound system for the event was provided by ATK AudioTek with engineers Ron Reaves and Mikael Stewart at front-of-house; Phil Ramone and Hank Neuberger supervised the broadcast audio. Meanwhile, John Harris, Eric Schilling and Joel Singer worked on the show's music mix in the XM Productions/Effanel Music-supplied L7 remote truck. Genelec 8200 Series DSP Monitoring Systems were among the equipment utilised in L7. Pro-audio suppliers included Audio-Technica, which provided equipment including the Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF Wireless System, the AEW-T4100 handheld microphone/transmitter and numerous instrumental microphones. Meanwhile, Shure microphones were in use during performances by the Dixie Chicks (SM58 UHF-R Wireless), Carrie Underwood (UHF-R Wireless) and Christina Aguilera (Beta 87 UHF-R Wireless).
"Each year the bar is raised on the overall production, particularly on the audio quality of the telecast," Neil Portnow, president of The Recording Academy, tells PSN-e. "We are moving to total HDTV/5.1 broadcast in 2009, so this year's show once again helped set the stage for that transition and further extended the boundaries of broadcast television."
A night headlined by the reformation of The Police and the resurgence of the Dixie Chicks - the latter walking away with five trophies - also brought awards for several recording studio mainstays. Rick Rubin was named Producer of the Year, while Dave Fridmann and The Flaming Lips picked up Best Engineered Album, Non Classical, for the band's At War With the Mystics. There was also an honour for Elliot Scheiner (credited as surround mix engineer), Darcy Proper (surround mastering engineer) and Donald Fagen (surround producer) when the latter's Morph the Cat was named Best Surround Album.