Senator John McCain
Sound reinforcement provider massAV, based in Billerica, Mass., managed event staging for Senator John McCain (pictured) during campaigning leading up to the New Hampshire primary. Chief audio engineer Steve Shepard worked with staff members Sarith Nhem and John Inza in using Shure’s UHF-R wireless microphone system for stable RF operations during campaign stops.
“The potential for wireless RF interference is always hanging over our heads,” Shepard says. “We have people in the crowd asking the candidate questions using handheld transmitters held at waist level, you name it. If anything can happen, it probably will. At one event, my colleagues Sarith and John were told they’d need a system to cover a crowd of 300; 2,500 showed up instead.
“With UHF-R, users can totally misbehave with our handheld mics and everything remains just fine,” Shepard continues. “John McCain can be fairly soft-spoken, and he doesn’t have the best mic technique, but with UHF-R you can still get what you need out of him and his voice comes across clearly, even if he occasionally wraps his hand around the transmitter’s antenna.”
Shepard uses the hardwired Beta 87C cardioid condenser on a tripod stand for many podium applications. “No one can get a bad sound out of it,” Shepard states. He adds that the Beta 87C is “rock-solid,” and that it is tolerant and always fairly flat sounding, regardless of whether the person speaking is standing three feet away or talking forcefully right into it.
Stan Dickerson of OSA International developed a wireless blueprint using 20 channels of Shure UHF-R that saw duty in multiple locations. With offices in Chicago, Orlando, Detroit, Las Vegas and Branson, Mo., OSA is an event staging/production services company that uses UHF-R to help tame hostile RF environments.
“Coordinating wireless frequencies can be tough enough in places like L.A. without all the chaos generated by a campaign stop,” Dickerson says. “When the candidates come to town, it gets significantly worse as the press corps follows, bringing their own wireless gear with them and compounding the problem. Fortunately, the agility and automatic frequency selection capabilities of our UHF-R systems allow us to stay a step ahead in the game. Whether we’re on the campaign trail or doing a corporate event, we’ve also found that no one will turn down an opportunity to use UHF-R. The performance is great.”
Senator Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Los Angeles
For L.A. campaign stops featuring appearances by Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, OSA used a good portion of its 20 channels of UHF-R with Shure’s subminiature WL51 lavalier microphones. Citing the excellent rejection of the microphones for broadcast use, where the goal is to eliminate as much of the extraneous room noise as possible, Dickerson adds that the WL51 is great sounding as well, and with its cardioid pattern, met the requirements of the task.
“The candidates need to hear themselves, and both the live audience and those watching the broadcast need to hear the candidates,” he says. “Any deviation from that plan would be disastrous. Being able to rely on your microphones and wireless systems without worry frees you up to concentrate on other pressing matters at hand, which there always seem to be plenty of.”