Los Angeles, CA (February 13, 2015)—The annual Grammy Awards, held yearly the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, are always a hotbed of RF activity, between the performers’ mics and in-ears, production needs, broadcasters and the surrounding area. For this year’s event, broadcast this past Sunday, Shure mics and in-ears were used by many of the artists, ranging from AC/DC to John Legend.
Although artists brought their own custom earphones, all but one of the in-ear monitoring systems used were Shure PSM 1000, with 24 channels split between two stages. Both Shure Axient and UHF-R wireless systems were in use. AC/DC selected Axient for lead vocals and Angus Young’s guitar, with backing vocals on UHF-R systems with Beta 58A capsules. Axient handheld systems were also selected by Sir Paul McCartney (Beta 58A), Adam Levine (SM58), Juanes (Beta 58A), and Pharrell Williams.
“We tried the Axient systems in rehearsals and were very happy with the way they sounded on both guitars and vocals,” said “Pab” Boothroyd, FOH engineer for AC/DC and Paul McCartney. “Requesting them for our Grammy performances was an easy choice.”
Shure UHF-R systems were also used by Sir Tom Jones, John Mayer, Usher, Eric Church, Rihanna, and Common. In addition, the podium microphones were powered by Shure UR1 bodypacks, eliminating the need to run cables across the stage.
Of course, not all vocals were wireless. The Beta 58A was the microphone of choice for Hozier, while the SM58 was selected for Brandy Clark’s performance with Dwight Yoakum, for Sia’s theatrical performance, and backing vocals on several numbers.
Another first for this year’s Grammy telecast was the use of Shure Beta 181 microphones on acoustic pianos. The move was suggested by co-broadcast music mixer Eric Schilling and FOH music mixer Ron Reaves, who said, “It’s the best piano sound ever, and they were the only piano mics we used on the show.”
Eric Schilling explains, “After Ron Reaves tried them out on the Latin Grammy Awards, we both agreed that we wanted to use the Beta 181 in all the pianos on this show. They have such a pleasing top end and great rejection. There was very little we had to do to them.”
Along with Schilling and Reaves, audio coordinator Michael Abbott’s crew included production mixer Thomas Holmes, co-broadcast music mixer John Harris, and FOH production mixer Mikael Stewart of ATK Audiotek. The team also included monitor mixers Michael Parker and Tom Pesa, with Dave Bellamy of Soundtronics handling RF coordination.