24/01/2019 Anaheim

BODYPACK FOR A BODYGUARD – THE NEW SENNHEISER SK 6212 IS A HIT

The Bodyguard stage musical is an ambitious show, with a large cast, orchestra, and crew required to bring the classic, soulful song list to life alongside Alexander Dinelaris’ acclaimed libretto. Since its successful West End run, the show has toured the world and now has a second UK tour underway, with Alexandra Burke taking the lead as singer Rachel Marron. It is also proving to be a showcase first outing for the new Sennheiser SK 6212 mini-bodypack transmitter, supplied by Autograph Sound.

Alexandra Burke and Company in The Bodyguard UK Tour Photo by Paul Coltas
Alexandra Burke, Benoît Maréchal and Company in The Bodyguard UK Tour. Photo by Paul Coltas

From the start of this run, Sound Designer for the show Richard Brooker was sold on using a digital wireless system, having already used Sennheiser’s Digital 9000 system on Bend it Like Beckham and Dreamgirls. “Moving to digital gave a new sound that is much more open and clear,” he recalls. “It isn’t compromised by the companding process... It’s much more transparent.”

 

For The Bodyguard, Brooker, who works alongside Associate Sound Designer Kelsh Buckman-Drange and Production Sound Engineer Josh Richardson, wanted a digital system with a smaller bodypack to give him greater choice for concealment, more comfort for the cast and a simple solution for the audio team. He chose the new Sennheiser SK 6212 mini-bodypack, which was previewed at the 2018 IBC exhibition.

 

“It has the signature sound that I would expect from Sennheiser, but it’s in a much smaller package,” he says. “And the battery life is unbelievable. Sennheiser claimed it would do 12 hours, and it does!”

 

Part of the Sennheiser Digital 6000 system, the SK 6212 dimensions are just 63 x 47 x 20mm. It has rounded edges and corners, and it weighs in at a tiny 112g, including the rechargeable battery. It also uses the same audio codec as the Digital 9000 system and is intermodulation-free, which means it is exceptionally spectrum-efficient.

 

Brooker has specified 20 channels of SK 6212 on The Bodyguard. Alexandra Burke wears two of the mini-bodypacks for her main and spare microphones, plus another bodypack for an IEM system in certain parts of the show. “That’s quite a lot to hide in a skimpy outfit,” notes Brooker. “And it’s no longer a problem.”

 

And when it comes to sound quality, he’s convinced that the system is spot-on and notes that the show’s operational sound team, Gareth Willox and James Melling, are also fans of the SK 6212s, enjoying the transparent sound and extended battery life.

 

“The proof of the pudding is that there’s a lot less vocal EQ this time round than there was on the last tour. It has a much flatter response, so we don’t need it quite so much... It’s difficult to say if it sounds the same as the 9000 without doing a direct comparison, but if it doesn’t, then it definitely sounds better. It’s new digital technology in a smaller package, with longer battery life, and great sound – it’s definitely the way forward.”

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Maik Robbe
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Sarah James
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