This year’s Montreux Jazz Festival, which took place July 5 through July 20, hosted a galaxy of famous artists from around the globe, including Green Day, ZZ Top, The Hives, Prince, and Sting. As in years past, Shure was an official Technical Partner of the festival and responsible for all microphones, in-ear monitoring, and wireless microphone systems for the 16 different stages and locations.
For the main stage in the Auditorium Stravinski, the Axient Wireless Management Network was the system of choice, reportedly delivering flawless, interference-free performance.
More than 1,500 Shure products were in use at the 47th Jazz Festival, including 18 channels of Axient, 50 channels of UHF-R Wireless Systems, 22 channels of PSM 1000 Personal Monitor Systems, 4 channels of PSM 900 Personal Monitor Systems, and 8 channels of ULX-D Digital Wireless Systems.
James Drake, the sound engineer responsible for microphones and wireless systems on the Stravinski stage, says he was impressed by the extensive feature set and sound quality delivered by Axient.
“By far the top of the list of my favorite features is the spectrum scanning and management.” Drake says. “During one show we experienced interference from a rogue transmitter, but the performance was not affected in any way. Changing frequencies on the receiver and simultaneously on the transmitter is super quick. The fact that the scanner holds a list of spare frequencies to switch to is very comforting.
“What I would say is that the goal is for wireless is to be transparent,” Drake continues. “The closer wireless mics get to the sound of wired mics, the closer we get to achieving this goal. We work with many different touring engineers. We are in constant radio communication with the recording truck, and nobody questions the sound quality of the Axient system. Using the KSM9 for vocals is often requested, and pairing this capsule with the Axient wireless offers the best possible combination.”
The touring-grade rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries and chargers deployed by Axient deliver real-time intelligence about power levels and charging histories. “The batteries are fantastic. This is the first time that I am happy to go rechargeable and not ask for bulk boxes of batteries,” Drake adds.
One of this year’s festival highlights was the performances of Prince on the nights of July 13-15, where he played two of the concerts with a big band. For these shows, the production crew used all 18 channels of Axient, and they performed without a hitch.
“By having the best tools available to do the job, our level of confidence is higher, and so the general vibe on stage is just better,” Drake concludes. “The experience working with Axient was 100 percent positive; this is how wireless should work. I wish I could use the Axient system for every wireless gig.”