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Billboard Latin Music Awards Rely On Shure Wireless Systems

Jenni Rivera performs with Shure Axient Wireless during Billboard Latin Music Awards 2012 at Bank United Center on April 26, 2012 in Miami, Florida.

Photo: John Parra/Getty Images

Shure Inc. in Niles, Ill., reports that the producers of this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards used Shure products exclusively for the telecast and live-sound production of the event, including several wireless microphone and personal monitor systems. The event was held on April 26 in the 8,000-seat BankUnited Center in Miami, Fla., and was broadcast live to 2.4 million viewers by Telemundo. The show, which garnered its highest television ratings ever, featured performances by Prince Royce, Don Omar, Pitbull, Marc Anthony, and many others.

“We’ve been working with Shure for the past six years — we’ve had Shure reps on site, and used Shure products,” says Juan “JC” Aguila, Network Audio Supervisor for NBC/Telemundo, and the Audio Coordinator for the event, “but this year was unique. Every artist performed with Shure products.”

Capturing the sound of the performers for the live and television audiences was a major undertaking. There were four stages: two main stages for large bands and two auxiliary stages for single artists. While one stage was in use, the others were being set up for subsequent acts, and all of them needed microphones and monitor systems because sound had to be sent to front-of-house, the monitor position, the broadcast mixer, and to the broadcast truck. As the Audio Coordinator, Aguila supervised the set up and running of the myriad audio systems at the venue and made sure that everything worked perfectly.

Marc Anthony performs with Shure Axient Wireless during Billboard Latin Music Awards 2012 at Bank United Center on April 26, 2012 in Miami, Florida.

Photo: John Parra/Getty Images

Almost all of the vocalists used wireless microphones, typically Shure’s new Axient wireless transmitters with KSM9, Beta 58, or Beta 87 capsules. “Don Omar used a Beta 58,” says Aguila, “and Marc Anthony a KSM9 Axient.” The only vocalist to eschew wireless was Juanes, who sang using a wired KSM9. Aguila says that all of the wireless systems performed flawlessly, without a single dropout.

Besides the Axient systems, Shure UHF-R wireless systems were also used for some of the evening’s performances. All of the wireless in-ear monitor systems were Shure PSM 1000 personal monitor systems. According to Aguila, most of the performers were wowed by the sound, “Musicians came up after their performance and told my stage guys, ‘Hey the EQ was perfect.’ It was very solid and sounded really good.”

Aguila chose a KSM313 ribbon microphone for the show’s offstage announcer, whose voice he described as having more of a midrange, rather than bottom heavy, quality. “I love the sound of that mic. It provides crispness, but also a warmer sound,” Aguila says. “That was the first time I used it, and I was very impressed.”

With so many acts performing, there were dozens of instrument mics used over the course of the evening in addition to all of the wireless gear. Aguila and company relied on Shure’s diverse catalog to find a number of great-sounding solutions.

For the kick drums, a Beta 91A boundary mic was placed inside the drum, and a Beta 52A, a dynamic kick-drum mic, on the outside. The combination provided what Aguila termed an “amazing sound.” The Beta 181C condensers were used for miking the piano. “I was very impressed,” says Aguila. In addition, several SM57s and Beta 57As were selected for a variety of applications. “Those are the most versatile mics,” he says.

Overall, the Shure wired microphones and wireless products were a huge part of the highly successful production. “Myself and the entire team, from the stage guy to the music mixer, production mixer—going up to upper-level management—everybody was happy,” Aguila says. “The show sounded very good.”

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