So who needs instruments anyway? Naturally 7 certainly don’t. The 7-member American band has developed a distinctive a cappella style including extensive beatboxing which they call Vocal Play. Long-time Sennheiser users, the group has enjoyed quiet success in Europe over the last few years, but has recently exploded onto the international stage with a succession of high-profile shows including a sold-out 32-show run with Europe’s Night of the Proms tour with Mick Hucknall, The Jacksons and Anastacia; two sold-out shows in New York opening for Coldplay; and now, the icing on the cake, Naturally 7 are currently the special guests of superstar Michael Bublé as they open for him on his world “To Be Loved“ tour. This is the third world tour that N7 have opened for Bublé, proof of the singer’s high regard for the band. They have already performed ten huge shows at London’s O2 Arena and are now touring throughout the US before heading back to Europe in February 2014.
The choice of microphones, whilst important for any band, is therefore critical for N7 whose only form of instrumentation is the human voice. Their current set-up is based on Sennheiser EM 3732-II wireless microphone receivers in combination with SKM 2000 transmitters and evolution wireless G3 IEM systems with beltpacks. When it comes to capsules, most of the band is on Sennheiser MMD 935 capsules with the exception of the two main lead singers, who are using KK 205 capsules from Neumann.
“For N7, the single most important goal in the choice of microphones is power,” confirmed the band’s FoH engineer, James Caran. “The task is nothing less than to take the energy of the human voice all the way to the limit. We are often up against acts with huge sonic firepower – live drums, guitars, bass, horns, keyboards – all elements that we instead create from the mouth into the microphone. From there, we can fill festival venues, theatres and arenas with sound. That first moment is, therefore, absolutely crucial – that’s when you’ve got to grab your audience and get their attention, and we trust our SKM 2000 handhelds with MMD 935 capsules to capture everything from vocal drums and bass to the highest tenor. It gives us power, and along with it, detail, clarity and a beautiful tone.”
Caran was equally impressed with the Neumann KK 205 capsules which he selected for two of the main lead singers in order to provide some differentiation from the rest of the group. “I love the lush, full characteristics of these capsules, yet they are still able to propel the voice with power and control and offer excellent resistance to feedback,” he confirmed.
Production manager Andrew Lefkowits is in full agreement with Caran. Having been with Naturally 7 for nearly ten years, first as their sole audio engineer as well as production manager until early in 2011 when James Caran came on board, he knows the band intimately. “Our only inputs for the show are wireless mics, so our first priority is great sound quality,” he said. “The 935 capsule was a true game changer for us in terms of clarity, presence and feedback rejection. It is equally capable of capturing an amazing lead vocal as it is capturing our beat box or vocal bass – it can take the high pressures of beat boxing without flinching. With five guys on 935s we’ve got great sound and gain before feedback.”
“Nevertheless, that said, having great quality at the mic is useless without bullet-proof wireless. In these days of HDTV and shrinking wireless bandwidth, having powerful, reliable wireless that is easy to set up is a must, and Sennheiser has always been the best when it comes to wireless reliability.”
Currently on the third leg of the US tour which is playing arenas throughout the western side of the States, Naturally 7 are going down a storm with audiences everywhere. They even have the opportunity to play some of their own shows which have been equally well received. Lefkowits reports that things couldn’t be going better for them all, and that much of that is due to the confidence they have in their equipment and in particular, the relationship with Sennheiser and the support provided by their Global Relations team. “We’re all thrilled to be working with Sennheiser in such a privileged capacity,” he said. “When you’re on a major international tour like this, it’s vital to know that you can rely 100% on your equipment, and for us, microphone choice is make or break. Sennheiser is a brand we have been using for years and that we know and respect. That kind of peace of mind just can’t be bought.”
Naturally 7 will be releasing their brand new album, “Hidden in plain sight” in February 2014. The album will be released on the Hidden Beach label, distributed by Universal.
Vorm geven aan de sound van morgen en voor zijn klanten unieke klankervaringen tot stand brengen… Dat is het doel waarrond wereldwijd alle medewerkers en partners van Sennheiser zich verenigen. De onderneming is opgericht in 1945 en uitgegroeid tot een van ’s werelds toonaangevende producenten van koptelefoons, microfoons en draadloze zendersystemen. Met zijn 21 verkoopfilialen en partnerrelaties van vele jaren is de groep actief in ruim 50 landen. Daarnaast telt hij nog eens eigen productiefaciliteiten in Duitsland, Ierland, Roemenië en de VS. Sinds 2013 staat met Daniel Sennheiser en Dr. Andreas Sennheiser de derde generatie van de familie aan het hoofd van de onderneming. In 2017 genereerde de Sennheiser-groep een omzet van in totaal € 667,7 miljoen.