Niles, IL., February 16, 2017—The 59th annual GRAMMY Awards show, broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, brought together an eclectic mix of talented musicians to celebrate the music industry. Hosted by James Corden and dominated by multiple award winners Adele, Beyoncé, and Chance The Rapper, the show featured a wide range of musical styles and unexpected talent pairings. Audio for the CBS telecast was mixed and managed by audio recording trucks from Music Mix Mobile, backline equipment and expertise from ATK Audiotek, and RF system design and frequency coordination by Soundtronics.
As always, performers were encouraged to use their preferred wireless microphones, a Recording Academy policy designed to make the musicians feel comfortable on stage. To help ensure an interference-free evening, the audio crew paired Shure UHF-R® transmitters with Axient AXT400 receivers for increased selectivity. Even the podium microphones were wireless, with Shure UR1 transmitters hidden beneath. In addition, nearly all of the in-ear monitor systems used were Shure PSM 1000 units. The show’s monitor mixers were Mike Parker and Tom Pesa. Dave Bellamy of Soundtronics handled frequency coordination duties.
“In such a heavy RF environment, we need every frequency we can spare,” said Audio Coordinator Michael Abbott. “The flexibility of Axient receivers, with their ability to accommodate a mix of Axient and custom UHF-R transmitters in different ranges, helped meet the needs of artists who requested Shure.”
Those artists included Best Country Solo Performance winner Maren Morris, who sang on a gold plated UR2 transmitter with the classic SM58® mic element. The UR2/SM58 was also used by Demi Lovato, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, Tamela Mann, and Kirk Franklin, along with members of Little Big Town.
KSM9 condenser mic elements were found atop the Shure UR2 transmitters used by three members of Pentatonix and one from Little Big Town, while the revolutionary KSM8 dual-diaphragm dynamic was used by Tori Kelly, Cynthi Erivo, and was also featured in Best Americana Album winner William Bell’s performance with Gary Clark Jr. Full Axient systems were used for performances by A Tribe Called Quest, John Legend, and Chance The Rapper.
Of course, not every microphone on stage was wireless. Best Country Album winner Sturgill Simpson sang through a Shure 5575LE, a limited-edition 75th anniversary version of the classic Model 55 Unidyne microphone. All acoustic pianos on the telecast were miked with Beta 181/C condensers, and many guitar cabinets benefitted by using the Shure KSM313 ribbon microphone.
“I've been using the KSM313 Ribbon mics on so many applications lately,” notes music mixer John Harris of Music Mix Mobile. “On this show, we use them on guitar cabinet, where they capture an amazing amount of depth.”
Overall, the 2017 GRAMMY Awards broadcast was as challenging a live event as ever. On the broadcast side, the overall production mixer was Tom Holmes. Inside the Music Mix Mobile trucks, Eric Schilling and John Harris alternated mix duties throughout the lengthy show. Inside the Staples Center, the FOH production mix was provided by Mikael Stewart of ATK Audiotek, working with FOH music mixer Ron Reaves.
“The GRAMMY Awards broadcast is always full of challenges and surprises, and this year was no exception,” notes Shure Artist Relations Manager Cory Lorentz. “We’re always pleased to see so many Shure mics and wireless systems on stage, helping make the GRAMMYs happen for a global audience.”