Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless system used during Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII halftime show

Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless system used during Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII halftime show
Rihanna's performance at the Super Bowl was driven by Sennheiser’s Digital 6000 wireless microphone system and a custom chrome SKM 6000 transmitter with an MD 9235 dynamic cardioid microphone capsule.

The choice to go with the Sennheiser wireless system may seem like a minor detail, but the sonic integrity of the performance hung in the balance as the State Farm Arena in the greater Phoenix area is technically one of the most challenging environments for coordinating wireless frequencies.

There were over 2000 frequencies coordinated in Phoenix over the Super Bowl weekend as dozens of simultaneous events took place in the area, including the 2023 NFL Honors Awards, various VIP events, outdoor concerts and more. With this, and the ever-shrinking spectrum available for wireless microphone operators, the audio engineers and frequency coordinators for this year’s broadcast had their work cut out for them.

“Phoenix is a challenging city because it is the only one that officially does not have a vacant UHF TV channel. They are all allocated for broadcast, so there is very little spectrum available for wireless mics,” says Joe Ciaudelli, director of spectrum & innovation at Sennheiser, “to make matters more complicated, although it is an indoor stadium with a retractable roof, the State Farm Arena does not provide much shielding from outside RF signals, making it vulnerable to interference.” 

Beyond safeguarding the wireless signal via the STA and directional antennas, the audio team had to be thoughtful with the choice of the wireless microphone system for Rihanna. Not only to ensure her vocals sounded as remarkable as the last time she performed live all those years ago, but also to combat the tough RF environment and establish a reliable wireless connection.

images: Imago

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