The Show Goes On With 350 Microphones, 16 Wireless Channels
NASHVILLE, TN, June 18, 2009 — Broadcast live from the Grand Ole Opry on Gospel Music Television, the 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards relied on audio input provided almost entirely by Shure. A total of 350 microphones were allotted to the task, 16 of which operated on Shure UHF-R® wireless channels. Among these 16 channels, 12 worked with either KSM9 or Beta 58A® handheld transmitters used for performances by Shure endorsers, including Chris Tomlin, Third Day, Natalie Grant, and MercyMe. Grant – who appeared before the crowd with a KSM9 – also took home Female Vocalist of the Year honors, joining other Shure endorsers Casting Crowns (Group of the Year), her husband, Bernie Herms (Producer of the Year), and Third Day (Best Pop/Contemporary Album) as the evening's big winners.
"Although 16 RF mics may not seem like a lot for an awards show," audio producer Tom Davis of Nashville-based Seismic Sound noted, "when you factor in all of the other wireless systems onstage--guitars, ear monitors, communications, and whatnot--it got to be a bit of a monkey puzzle. It took me a couple days just to map out the traffic once I got all of the requests in from the performing artists on what mics they wanted to use."
Seated at a Euphonix System 5 digital console in the Opry control room, Tom Davis managed the music mix for the show with assistance from Kevin Reinen and King Williams, while Michael Davis (no relation) stood-in as production mixer in the Camp Digital HD video truck.
Music and production mix for the audience was handled by Tommy Hensley and Bob Bussiere, and the monitor mixer was Kevin McGinty. On the music side of the equation, turnarounds between acts generally lasted just three minutes, a harsh reality that was tamed by a practice Tom Davis has honed at the CMAs and other award shows: All the gear for each performer and his or her accompanying band was set up in advance on its own rolling cart in the wings, and then simply pushed into place when needed. Once in place, linking each cart to the house and production truck was as easy as plugging in via a multi-pin stage box.
"Now you can see why we needed so many mics," Davis said, revealing the obvious. "Every drum kit, every guitar amp, keyboard, vocal mic – they all had to be put together on their own respective carts. Beyond our RF mics, we had 45 hardwired SM57s, 30 KSM32s, 22 Beta 58A®s, Beta 52®As, Beta 91s, KSM27s...the body count just went on."
Vocals being paramount in performances like these, Davis locked his UHF-R receiver frequencies in solidly for the duration of the show.
"All of our RF receivers for vocals stayed landed the whole time," he further explained. "Then we just handed-off each artist his or her mic. The auto-sync feature between the Shure transmitters and receivers made this an especially speedy process in terms of setup."
For gospel and Christian artists as well as their fans, the week surrounding the GMA Dove Awards is a big one where all the stars shine.
"These people are exceptionally talented," Davis said of the artists heard at the event. "Just like anything in these recessionary times, however, part of the challenge of doing this show revolved around budget. This isn't the Academy Awards or CMAs, but those in attendance and watching at home expect the same production values. Thanks to the resources afforded us by Shure, we were able to provide sound that was comparable to, or even better than, any similar show."