Marking 20 years, Culcha Candela’s Too True to be Beautiful tour saw the new Sennheiser EW-DX wireless system take its maiden outing on an extensive tour of Germany.

‘I’m absolutely thrilled by our new Sennheiser systems,’ reports monitor mixer Yannick Spohr. ‘For example, when dealing with frequency management, one thing that really impressed me is that your hand doesn’t ‘seize up’ during the sync process. With the EW-DX system, synchronisation is really relaxed and is carried out using Bluetooth, which works without any problems at all even at some distance across the stage.’

Culcha Candela’s Too True to be Beautiful tourOn their Too True to be Beautiful tour, multi-cultural Berlin four-piece share the stage with two backing vocalists, a percussionist and several dancers. Almost all vocals use Sennheiser EW-DX SKM handheld transmitters fitted with MMD 945 dynamic microphone heads (super-cardioid), the only exception being percussionist Michael Escuriola, who uses a Sennheiser HSP 4 neckband mic and an EW-DX SK bodypack transmitter. In addition to the six EW-DX SKM, there is also a handheld transmitter for guests as well as a spare.

Culcha Candela’s equipment includes five 9.5-inch EW-DX EM two-channel UHF receivers in the R1-9 frequency range (520-608MHz). Their analogue outputs are connected with an audio splitter to ensure the FOH and monitoring consoles have independent access the mic signals. Two Sennheiser EW-D ASA splitters – cascaded to produce an eight-channel splitter – are connected to ADP-UHF passive directional antennas (470-1050MHz), so that eight channels can be received via the two antennae.

The special features of the new Sennheiser EW-DX series include Intelligent Switching Diversity, which enables antennae to be switched between audio frames – a process that guarantees stable transmission without audible artefacts. Latency, which is always a factor in digital systems, is 1.9ms, making it imperceptible in practical application. Using the Sennheiser Performance Audio Codec (SePac) for audio transparency, EW-DX systems offer switching bandwidth of up to 88MHz to support the use of up to 146 channels in standard mode and up to 293 channels in Link Density mode

Spohr is also positive about the battery technology of the EW-DX: ‘At the moment, there aren’t any matching LM 6070 modules for the L 6000 19-inch charging station, which is why we are using L 70 USB units for the time being. It’s fantastic that the batteries have a life of 11-to-12 hours, and I can rely on the display for the remaining battery life shown in hours and minutes – no comparison with a bar display that is much less accurate.

‘During the show, I always keep an eye on the Wireless Systems Manager. The Sennheiser software continuously shows all relevant parameters, and I don’t have to keep bending down to look into the rack.’

Monitor mixer, Yannick SpohrFor many years now, Culcha Candela have been using in-ear systems from Sennheiser’s 2000 series, and even though they have been in operation in countless concerts, they still do their job perfectly. The systems used are EK 2000 IEM, which communicate in the AW+ band (470–558MHz) with four SR 2000 IEM units. For the tour, an additional channel was hired for the percussionist. An A 5000-CP passive antenna with circular polarisation connected to an AC 3000 Active Transmitter Combiner covers the large performance area of the stage.

Spohr notes the stability of the systems’ reception: ‘Even in critical RF environments, there are no problems with interference or audible dropouts. But we have to make sure that the carrier frequencies are set at a reasonable distance from one another. For the interconnected system, the WSM software, just like in Sennheiser high-end Digital 6000 and Digital 9000 systems, calculates an equidistant grid that works reliably without intermodulation. I’m very familiar with the WSM software, but I haven’t yet tried the Sennheiser Smart Assist App or Control Cockpit.’

The man responsible for FOH sound during the tour is Sven Geiger, who belongs to a select group of sound engineers who regularly work both in the studio and on live concerts.

‘The FOH mixing is certainly not a trivial matter, even if various stems for Culcha Candela come from a hard disk,’ he says. ‘The band put everything they’ve got into their shows and my job is not only to make sure the audience can enjoy a powerful sound when they are dancing, I also want them to understand the lyrics of the songs without difficulty and without letting the music fade into the background.

‘EW-DX is a quantum leap forward in quality compared to former analogue systems, and the vocals come through even better,’ he continues. ‘The sound overall seems cleaner and clearer. By the way, you can also notice this on the recordings of the shows when you listen in to the individual tracks later.’

‘I can still remember the first time we performed with professional equipment,’ recalls Candela vocalist Mateo Jasik. ‘For us, it was a quantum leap forward when we no longer had to go on stage with wired mics and wedges, but could rely on wireless channels and wireless in-ear solutions. With the EW-DX systems, I can’t hear any noise interference in my in-ear headphones, and so far on the tour I haven’t noticed a single dropout. The sound of EW-DX is ace, absolutely wicked.’

‘The pop business is fast-moving and bands come and go, so I’m always really happy to see German acts who are still successful many years after their breakthrough, and who fill huge venues with their concerts – and who are reaching a lot of young people alongside their established fan base,’ adds Sennheiser Relations Manager Thomas Holz. ‘Culcha Candela have always relied on professional wireless systems from Sennheiser, and, together with us and the new EW-DX systems, they are taking the logical step into the digital future.’


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