With a live audience of more than 67,612 and 100m television viewers, Super Bowl 52 proved that even record-setting low temperatures cannot deter American football fans. Ahead of the game between the New England Patriots faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles, Pink set the tone for the evening with a rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, using a Focusrite RedNet network to link field PA speakers, monitor speakers, wireless microphones and in-ear monitors, and sung through a Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless mic system.

Pik performing at Super Bowl 52‘For an artist whose vocal performance is so well renowned, it is important for us to have the ultimate equipment specification both on tour and during the Super Bowl,’ says her monitor Eengineer, Jon Lewis. ‘We have a very strong relationship with Sennheiser, and the Digital 6000 gives us the best digital audio quality as well as dependable RF.’

The Pink team has been using the Digital 6000 system over the last several months while touring, and appearing on high-profile television programmes and award shows such as Saturday Night Live, the Grammy Awards, the Video Music Awards and others. During her ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ performance, Pink used a Sennheiser SKM 6000 handheld transmitter, coupled with an MD 9235 capsule.

‘We have always been really happy with her voice on the MD 5235 capsule, so when we moved over to the Digital 6000 series, it was a very natural progression,’ Lewis explains.

FOH engineer Dave Bracey has an affinity for the Digital 6000 system and its role during an artist performance: ‘The reason I love that microphone is because it is able to capture the complete character and nuances of a singer’s voice. In fact, it is capable of reproducing the exact character of whatever you are miking up – including the best live singing voices in the world,’ he says.

For Lewis, the Digital 6000 series succeeds on a number of fronts – most importantly on the stage: ‘I first used the Digital 6000 on a recommendation from Dave [Bracey], who had used it with Adele. Since then, I’ve just been blown away with the distance range and quality. It has proven to work equally well on both in-ears and through wedges, and the microphone itself can handle being in environments with super-high noise levels like the Super Bowl.’

The sound system network was enabled by 48 RedNet, marking the second consecutive year that ATK Audiotek has employed RedNet for the event. It was larger than last year’s RedNet system because ATK Audiotek networked the entire live-sound system in the bowl this year, including cart-mounted field PA speakers that are wheeled into place for the performances, wireless microphones, wedge monitor speakers used for the pre-game events such as the national anthem, and IEM monitors used by Timberlake and other onstage performers.

‘The flexibility that we had with the RedNet system was incredible,’ says Kirk Powell, ATK’s engineer in charge. ‘We were able to send any signal anywhere in the venue, because we were no longer restricted by where we had cables going. Once we had the network infrastructure in place, all we had to do if we need a microphone somewhere was just plug it into the network, and RedNet did the rest.’

Powell says RedNet offered other benefits at the complex live event, including the ability to keep the entire audio signal almost exclusively digital from beginning to end. ‘We didn’t have to have a number of A/D and D/A conversions in the system, which made the entire process smooth,’ he explains.

In what was a physically smaller venue this year, RedNet kept cabling to a minimum: ‘RedNet definitely helped reduce the amount of space we needed for everything, which was important in the smaller stadium and at an event where we were adding more elements onto the system than we had last year, like the wireless mics and monitors,’ he adds. ‘RedNet helped make a more complicated project simpler, and the value of that is enormous when you’re doing an event like the Super Bowl.’

As the most-watched annual sporting event in the US, this year’s Super Bowl did not disappoint in delivering a spectacular outcome, with the Philadelphia Eagles snatching up their first ever Super Bowl title.

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