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Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Innovating the hard rock and heavy metal genres for close to forty years - The Scorpions. (Photo Credit: (c)Torsten Hemke)

OLD LYME, CONNECTICUT - DECEMBER 2009: The Scorpions command a passionate and massive following, which has grown with their recent chart-topping release, "Humanity: Hour 1." That's a laudable accomplishment for any band, let alone one that has been defining and innovating the hard rock and heavy metal genres for close to forty years. Almost from the beginning, the Scorpions and their long-time FOH engineer Achim Schulze have worked closely with Sennheiser, not only relying on Sennheiser's high-end sound and rock-solid RF technology for tour after triumphant tour, but also helping define that sound and technology. The band's latest DVD release "Amazonia - Live in the Jungle" showcases the Scorpions' intense live performance using a full array of Sennheiser microphones, wireless technology, and wireless personal monitors in front of 40,000 fervent fans in Brazil, with part of the proceeds going toward Greenpeace's efforts to slow tropical deforestation. The band will use the same Sennheiser gear on its highly anticipated "Get Your Sting and Blackout" World Tour 2010.


Schulze has spent most of his professional life behind the FOH desk for the Scorpions, joining them in 1979 while working for the touring company the band hired, Rocksound. "Rocksound had a very close relationship with Sennheiser," he recalled. "We discussed product ideas with Sennheiser, and we were among the first bands to test their prototypes."


Back in the days before Sennheiser wireless personal monitors were the norm, Schulze and front man Klaus Meine traveled to the Sennheiser headquarters in Wedemark with their personal monitor wedges to test vocal microphones. "Not only did Sennheiser give us the freedom to test products they had, as well as everything they had in the works, the Sennheiser engineers also modified microphones to help us get the sound we were looking for," said Schulze.

"Today, Klaus uses the Sennheiser e 935 capsule. With the wireless SKM 935 G2, Klaus' voice is always powerful and nuanced and seems to find its own place in the mix." Three wired e 935 microphones deliver all of the band's backing vocals. A super-cardioid e 945 provides the pickup for guitarist Matthias Jabs' talk box.


The Scorpions' monitor engineer, Glen Schmeling, joined the band several years ago, after cutting his teeth in the 1990s working for bands, award shows, and big corporate events. "Sennheiser has always been my first choice because whatever the challenges, Sennheiser technology has always made my work trouble-free," he said. "When I came to work for the Scorpions, I was glad to see that they were already part of the Sennheiser family."


The Scorpions were using wireless personal monitors long before the technology came into vogue and, indeed, helped trail blaze the modification of Sennheiser broadcast pocket receivers for live performance. Today, every member of the band uses Sennheiser EK 300 IEM G2 wireless personal monitors, and Schmeling uses several Sennheiser NET 1 frequency management systems to keep the band's RF traffic flowing without conflict. "As long as I apply a few simple rules about antenna spacing and type, our Sennheiser system works flawlessly around the world, even in tough RF environments," he explained.

For his deskwork, Schmeling uses Sennheiser HD 25 headphones for their ability to reproduce faithful - even at very loud volumes.


The Scorpions also travel with a mic case brimming with Sennheiser wired mics, many of which share a history with the band. For instance, with all their traveling, setting up, and tearing down, they had always longed for a small drum mic that would clip to a drum rim instead of requiring a space-hogging stand. A little while later, the Sennheiser e 604 was born, and the Scorpions were among the first bands to beta-test it. The e 604 and the later e 904 are both now modern classics of the live drum set-up. The e 904s grace the toms of drummer James Kottak. In addition, a built-in e 902 picks up the kick, an e 905 catches the sizzle and thump of the snare, and a multitude of e 914 small-diaphragm condensers capture cymbals and overheads.

Flanking the drums, Sennheiser e 906s blanket the guitar amps of Jabs and Rudolf Schenker.


Because they travel the world so frequently and have been at it for so long, no one knows the rigors of the road like the Scorpions and their technical staff. Thus, they appreciate the kindness and convenience offered by Sennheiser's Global Relations team. "The last time we were in Greece, we ran into a technical problem just before the show that threatened to bury us,"

said Schulze. "Pierre Morant and his colleagues from the Sennheiser Global Relations team responded immediately and literally saved the show. It's good to know that wherever we go, we can rely on that kind of super-responsive support and service."



Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Sennheiser's pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.