Pussycat Dolls Fall For Sennheiser & Fritz

Stationed at front-of-house, Fritz is one of the most important members of the production crew on the Pussycat Dolls'' nationwide tour, yet he won''t be collecting any per diems and he doesn''t need a hotel room. Fritz, otherwise known as the Neumann KU 100 dummy head, is helping Bryan Cross, live sound engineer and production manager for the Pussycat Dolls, monitor the sound from the audience perspective, as he mixes the girls'' Sennheiser evolution wireless G2 microphone and wireless monitor systems from a mixing console at the side of the stage.

"I'm doing monitors and front-of-house for the girls off of the monitor desk," explains Cross, as the Pussycat Dolls set off on a two-month jaunt accompanying the Black Eyed Peas on their "Honda Civic Tour." "I have the dummy head sitting out at front-of-house and it's returning two lines back to 'monitor world' that are feeding a pair of JBL 4328 studio monitors. I'm sending all my monitor mixes pre-fader from the console, using the internal effects, and mixing left/right on the faders and sending it to the house."

Says Cross of the KU 100 model human head, which features microphone elements located inside its replica ears and produces highly realistic binaural stereo, "I've always wanted to own a KU 100, and this justified me buying it! I also have a split from the head going to my laptop running SmaartLive(tm), so I'm able to hear those microphones out front, while being able to visualize it on SmaartLive. "In addition, I'm using a pair of Neumann 184s for my audience mic."

Cross chose Sennheiser ew 300 IEM G2 wireless monitor systems and SKM 935 G2 handheld wireless microphones for the Pussycat Dolls, who have had three chart-topping singles released off their debut album, which has gone platinum around the world. "This Black Eyed Peas tour will introduce them to a new audience. Hopefully it will grow into a headline summer run," he adds.

Noted Cross, "Sennheiser's compact ear monitor body-packs are the perfect size. I have six very petite women on stage doing high-energy choreography. The Sennheiser monitor system is about half the size of other systems. There are parts of the show where the girls have hardly anything on, but I can fit the EK 300 IEM G2 body-pack receivers into the most minimal wardrobe. That ear pack hides in almost anything and is very comfortable as they do their dance numbers."

The autoscan feature of Sennheiser's second generation wireless microphone and wireless monitor systems is a real time saver, according to Cross. "I not only do the audio side of things but I also tour manage the girls. That autoscan feature frees up about thirty minutes of my workday searching for clean frequencies to use. When you're multi-tasking, that thirty minutes is indispensable."

Cross is a longtime user of Sennheiser equipment who has toured with Tower of Power, Vertical Horizon, Lifehouse, and, most recently, Howie Day. "Sennheiser is a great company to deal with, with great product support and customer service. I love the people there. And you can't beat Sennheiser gear. It comes to work every night you do."

The Sennheiser wireless systems for the Pussycat Dolls have benefited from the involvement of other vendors, according to Cross. "Marty Garcia at Future Sonics has helped us out tremendously. All the girls are using custom-designed Future Sonics Ear Monitors(r), and Marty's been great helping pull the whole project together. Dave Shoman, operations manager at Professional Wireless provided me with helical antennas for the wireless microphones and monitor systems, which give me an extra 18dB of boost on transmission and reception."

Brian Duffy and Scott Hamilton at 717 Labs have designed and built a power supply for the ear units that replaces the usual 'wall warts.' "Brian and I have toured together for about the last ten years," says Cross. "I have serial number 002 of the Wart Remover. I fly with these Sennheiser wireless racks for one-offs with the girls and it saves me about six-and-a-half pounds on one rack. Plus, it gets rid of all that clutter and makes it all so much more reliable."

The task of mixing front-of-house and monitors is not too onerous, he says. "I have two channels of track coming from Pro Tools and six wireless mics on stage. That's eight channels on the console. There's no reason why I shouldn't be able to do it from one desk!"

Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is the acknowledged world leader in microphone technology, RF-wireless and infrared sound transmission, headphone transducer technology, and most recently, in the development of active noise-cancellation. Sennheiser Electronic Corporation is the U.S. wholly-owned subsidiary, with headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Neumann's awardwinning line of microphones has set the standard in theindustry since 1928. In 1999, Neumann received the prestigious Technical Grammy(r) for their 70 years of innovation in microphone design and contribution to the music industry. A continuing commitment to provide innovative, technically refined products and engineering solutions of proven quality ensures that Neumann's stature will remain unassailable.