New Roads School Selects Shure Wireless for Flawless Theatrical Audio Performance

June 24, 2013

NILES, Ill. June 24, 2013—In February 2013, New Roads School, located at 3131 Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica, Calif., opened its 344-seat, state-of-the art, Ann and Jerry Moss Theater.  With acoustics designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, acoustician for the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall, the theater provides a professional performance and presentation venue for New Roads’ Kindergarten through 12th grade students, and also serves as a cultural resource for the greater Los Angeles community.

Before the theater could raise its curtain to the public, the facility needed a wireless microphone system that could support a significant number of channels in a small space. With guidance from Pro Sound & Video Los Angeles, the Shure ULX-D™ Digital Wireless System and four ULXD4Q Quad Channel Digital Wireless Receivers were installed, allowing 17 channels to go on the air simultaneously. The ULX-D systems were a perfect choice by Sean McGarry, the Ann & Jerry Moss Theater’s technical director who oversaw the installation, for their RF signal stability, sound quality, and rack space savings.

“The ULX-D gear was selected for a variety of reasons,” said McGarry. “The intuitive form factor of the ULXD4Q enables us to fit four receivers in a single rack space, keeping things looking clean. The system also sounds great and is easy to sync, even when we’re using 17 channels of wireless at once. We rely on the Shure Wireless Workbench® software, giving us the ability to easily access all of the networked receivers, making set-up and maintenance a snap. The Dante digital networking is also huge.”

When Pro Sound & Video initially worked with McGarry, only one ULX-D system—the ULXD14/98H, ideal for instruments—and one ULXD4Q was selected. However, McGarry soon realized the majority of the theater’s live performances, which span musical entertainment, book readings, solo speakers, and even a classroom for many of New Roads’ performing arts classes, would need access to more wireless microphones. This is when he added three additional ULXD4Q systems, completing the installation and expanding the system to 17 channels.

“This is a multi-use theater and after doing our homework, we knew we needed more ULX-D systems to give us the best possible wireless solution,” McGarry added. “Having gear that supports a mix of SM58® handhelds, WL185 lavs, and Shure instrument mics, we can configure the systems to support any type of performance and we know the technology will perform flawlessly.”

To reduce the theater’s environmental footprint and maximize long-term cost savings, McGarry powers transmitters with rechargeable batteries, keeping battery life up using the Shure SBC800-US eight-bay battery charger. “The rechargeables are solid. We’re eliminating waste, while also helping our theater’s sound engineer, Jim Watson, operate performances more confidently, as we can monitor battery life in hours and minutes.” McGarry’s A/V team also relies on the Shure UA874 Active Directional Antenna and UA844SWB Antenna Distribution System to improve wireless reception.

Since the wireless microphone systems have been installed, the Ann & Jerry Moss Theater has welcomed performances from musician Herb Alpert, the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra, and Live Talks Los Angeles, among others. 

“ULX-D has delivered the professional audio quality and reliability we were looking for—and it’s not just at the theater,” concluded McGarry. “If a performance requires a traveling production, we pack the ULX-D gear and transport it to other facilities with no trouble. Across the board, we’ve had nothing but a positive experience with the system.”