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“And The Winner Is…” Gareth Owen And The Sennheiser 9000 Series
On Sunday 13th April, the cream of the UK theatre industry gathered at London’s Royal Opera House for the 2014 Olivier Awards. Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along walked away with two of the illustrious prizes, recognition aided by the performance of the show’s Sennheiser Digital 9000 series digital wireless system.
With sound design by the twice previously-nominated Gareth Owen, Merrily We Roll Along claimed more five star reviews than any other West End show in history. This was borne out at the Oliviers, with Gareth winning an award for Best Sound Design, while the show was also awarded the Best Musical Revival prize.
“Merrily was a really good test for the 9000 system because, with Sondheim, the trick is to make the show sound unamplified, but without losing the excitement. You tend to put so much effort into making a Sondheim musical sound natural that it’s easy to make it sound boring,” says Gareth.
To achieve this, the quality of the vocal sound was paramount, which is why Gareth chose eight Sennheiser 9000 series systems alongside 24 EM3732-II systems.
“The 9000 Series gave the production a vocal clarity and presence, a true naturalness which was fantastic. It was almost glass-like in its transparency,” he says
“Many radio systems apply their own character to the voice, which, with some performers, can be very helpful! But with Sondheim shows you really need that crystalline quality to show the performers at their very best - what you hear coming out of the 9000 series is exactly what’s going in. On Merrily, this was a truly great thing.”
“We were thrilled to be able to join Gareth and his team at the Olivier Awards and congratulate him on their achievement, and especially pleased that the 9000 series proved itself to be a vital component in his system design,” adds Tim Sherratt, Engineering and Technical Services Manager at Sennheiser UK. “We were also delighted to give our support to another of the nominees Simon Baker for the Light Princess at the National Theatre, Lyttelton where the 9000 series was also used in force.”