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Martin Heats Up With Lectrosonics

Ricky Martin’s monitor engineer, Raphael Alkins, collaborated with guitar tech Tim Wright in choosing Lectrosonics IS400 wireless beltpack instrument system for use with the band’s guitarists.

“We use acoustic guitars with electric pickups on a number of Ricky’s songs,” says Alkins. “Because of the DC battery that drives the pickup, when they feed wireless systems using compandors, the guitar’s sound ends up getting compressed to the point where it’s not very musical. This is where the IS400 really shines. The Lectrosonics gear doesn’t use a compandor, so the guitar sounds perfectly natural—big and full, with a rich, musical tone.

“We’ve put our four IS400 systems through the ringer,” Alkins continues, “and we haven’t had a single problem. Wireless systems tend to be heavily dependent upon a straight ‘line of sight’ for optimum performance, and while we make every effort to maintain this, our guitarists move all over the place, so that’s not always possible. Even when they’re beyond the arc, we’ve had great reception with the IS400.”

Some of the onstage visual effects are accomplished by a curtain of LED lights that wraps around the performers, and this has been quite a challenge to work with at times. “With some of our wireless gear, we’ve had problems because of the interference the curtain creates,” says Alkins, “but our IS400 beltpacks just keep on transmitting—clear as a bell. The guitarists are wearing as many as three beltpacks—one each for a wireless mic, an in-ear monitor and the IS400 for their instrument. Having three wireless systems in such close proximity to one another can create some real headaches, but not once has the Lectrosonics gear been the source of our difficulties. Both the musicians and tech crew have been really impressed.”

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