NILES, Ill., April, 2012 — The 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMA) show was broadcast live from Las Vegas on CBS. Hosted by country greats Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton, the show boasted two venues and a dazzling array of 24 musical performances, most of which involved Shure wireless systems.
For a live broadcast like the ACMAs, there are literally hundreds of wireless frequencies in use. Wireless systems were supplied by ATK Audiotek, while system design and frequency coordination were handled by Dave Bellamy of Soundtronics.
“We want all the artists to be comfortable in their performances, so all the major brands are available,” notes production mixer Mark King. “Obviously, my main job is handling the broadcast mix, but I also did mix a couple of artists, Chris Young and Sara Evans. They both used the new Shure Axient system, and I have to say that it really stood out as outstanding.”
This was King’s first time using Axient, which incorporates frequency diversity to ensure flawless performance even in the most challenging RF environments. “Quite frankly, I’m very impressed with Axient,” King notes. “One of the main goals of any of any wireless mic is to be as close to a hard-wired microphone as possible. We had an SM58® head on the transmitter, which is a sound that everybody knows, and the system sounded so much like a wired SM58, it was really refreshing. The other thing that impressed me about the system is that it’s very, very quiet. In fact, when I went to preview the Axient channel during commercial break, the noise floor was so low that I had to have somebody talk into it to confirm that it was actually turned on. Sonically, it’s just a beautiful system.”
The show’s monitor engineer, Jason Spence, is in full agreement. “We had a lot of Shure UHF-R® wireless on site, which is considered one of the best-sounding, most stable RF systems on the market, and was used by several acts on the broadcast,” he reports. “But hearing Axient on the same stage, it just outperforms everything else, both in sound quality and RF performance. Shure has really raised the bar with this system.”
It was another Shure product that really made Spence’s evening a success: the PSM 1000 wireless personal monitor system with diversity reception. “All the in-ear monitor systems used on the broadcast were PSM 1000s,” he reports. “We had 12 channels. I’m still trying to find the words to describe how far ahead this system is compared to everything else, even to Shure’s other products. It’s a game-changer, both for sound quality and for RF performance.”
“It’s the only system I’m aware of that can cut through the noise floor of LED lights, which is a huge issue in staging these days,” adds Spence. “A wall of unshielded LEDs can really raise the noise floor, which really makes it tough for wireless in-ears. But the PSM 1000 was rock solid. After the show, we had quite a few compliments from the artists. I would like to think it was my mixing, but I know it had more to do with the sound quality and stability of the PSM 1000. They were flawless.”