17/06/2015 Wedemark/Vienna

ORF relies on Sennheiser Digital 9000 at the Eurovision Song Contest

Austria’s ORF delivered a show full of artistic superlatives as host broadcaster for the 60th Eurovision Song Contest final on 23 May. For the microphone and monitoring systems, the ORF relied on the RF experts from Grothusen Audio Video who were supported by audio specialists Sennheiser. All of the contest participants used Sennheiser equipment: wireless microphones from the Digital 9000 series and monitoring systems from the 2000 series.

Gerhard Vonwald, Technical Director at Grothusen Audio Video and Head of Wireless Audio for the song contest, was responsible for the planning and implementation of the radio microphone and IEM systems. Vonwald had been onsite at the venue since 20 April to support the set-up of the systems, the rehearsals and the shows themselves. With his 15-strong team, he worked alongside Gerhard Jansa, ORF’s Head of Sound for the song contest.

Gerhard Vonwald: “The final – like all the 11 audience shows before it – went off perfectly. The shows created a unique experience for a total of 100,000 spectators attending the 12 live shows as well as the TV and online audience. Our wireless microphone system included 96 channels of Digital 9000, to which were added 32 channels for the artists’ in-ear monitors.”

“Naturally, the frequency spectrum in Vienna was very tightly packed. Inside the venue, it was not only the microphones and the monitoring systems that needed frequencies, but also the numerous intercom systems – about 600 walkie-talkies were being used – the wireless cameras, LTE transmitter base stations, and the effects and lighting control systems,” explained Gerhard Vonwald. “And to make matters worse, the metal tubes of the stage set generated RF reflections that were very difficult to control and made positioning the 11 transmitting and receiving antennas a challenge. Interference was also caused by the huge LED walls and the LED floor. It was really helpful that Digital 9000 generates hardly any intermodulation products and can therefore handle the frequencies extremely efficiently. It enabled us to simply arrange the microphone frequencies at small 600 kHz steps, and this really made planning much easier and ultimately was actually what made it possible to have such a high number of microphone channels.”

It was Måns Zelmerlöw who took the ESC crown: his song “Heroes” received 365 points, making it the sixth time that Sweden has won the competition. The result means that, after its short intermezzo in central Europe, the contest will be returning to Scandinavia: the date – 14 May 2016 – has already been reserved for the grand final in Sweden.




Sennheiser wireless equipment at the ESC
12 x EM 9046 digital eight-channel receivers
56 x SKM 9000 digital handheld transmitters (incl. spares)
56 x ME 9005 microphone heads (permanently polarised condensers, super-cardioid)
56 x SK 9000 digital bodypack transmitters (incl. spares)
60 Sennheiser headmics (custom product)
16 x SR 2050 dual-channel stereo IEM transmitter
140 x EK 2000 IEM monitor receivers
4 x AC 3200-II antenna combiners
11 x A 5000-CP circularly polarised antennas
2 x AD 9000 directional antennas
2 x A 9000 omni-directional antennas
850 metres of antenna cables

Members of the Wireless Audio Team under Gerhard Vonwald: Volker Schmitt, Kevin Jungk, Gerhard Spyra, Jonas Næsby, Viola Gundendorfer, Regina Holzmann, Konstanze Kainz, Michael Klapper, Christian Camus, Niko Wagner, Florian Bach, Ewald Herger, Andi Putz, Andreas Neumann, Marco Meirone


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Stephanie Schmidt
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