The NBA’S Portland Trail Blazers Pre-Game Broadcast Goes Wireless With Shure ULX-D™ and PSM®1000

March 28, 2013

NILES, Ill., March 28, 2013—When the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers’ broadcasting and production teams decided to move their pre-game show from a studio to the public concourse of the Rose Garden Arena, Mike Janes, the team’s Vice President of Engineering and Technology, was charged with selecting new audio gear. Searching for a flexible, intelligent solution that could deliver crystal-clear audio—for the viewers and the hosts— Janes turned to Shure ULX-D™ Digital Wireless System and PSM® 1000 Personal Monitor System.

Moving from a quiet studio to a public concourse made the broadcast more engaging and exciting for viewers, but presented challenges for hosts Adam Bjaranson and Michael Holton and the technical team. With a crowded RF environment, noisy surroundings, and the need for quick and easy setup and teardown, Janes knew he needed a flexible yet reliable wireless solution—which is why he made the decision to go with Shure’s new ULX-D system.

While great RF and audio performance are requirements, it is ease of use that has made ULX-D a crucial staple in the team’s broadcast. “Because the set goes up and comes down on a regular basis, we needed a system that was easy to use, easy to collapse, and rugged enough to withstand the repeated abuse,” said Janes. “We use the system as a mobile rack system, which enables the gear to be transported and used at other events throughout the off-season. The life we get out of the system over time is huge.”

To maximize usability, Janes pairs ULX-D with the SBC200 dual-docking battery charger. “We love the rechargability factor,” Janes said. “It makes it easy to just drop the mic in the same place and know it’s ready to perform the next time we pick it up for future games. It’s also much more cost-effective. Before the charger, we were buying fresh batteries before every broadcast, just to have peace of mind, but at $12 a game, over the course of 42 games, it wasn’t cheap. The type of cost savings we obtain from the SBC200 is a big plus.”

Making it possible for the hosts to hear clearly and comfortably was of equal concern.  Janes opted for the Shure PSM 1000 Personal Monitor System, which provides music-quality IFB audio and enables each host to set his own volume level.  Coupling the PSM 1000 transmitter with PSM 900 bodypack receivers, Janes has been impressed with the system’s overall performance. “The system’s compatibility and ease of use has been a nice benefit,” Janes added.

Along with the bodypacks, the talent is equipped with SE425 Sound Isolating™ Earphones for Interruptible Feedback (IFB). “The sound quality far exceeds what we’d call our ‘traditional in-ear drivers’ that we had been using for years, and because of the way [the SE425s] custom fit, they help isolate the noise on-set. The quality of the in-ear driver also allows the announcers to use less volume and protect their hearing in the long-term.”

Despite the challenges and mission-critical nature of live, professional sports broadcasting, Janes and his team have successfully executed the Trail Blazers’ 2013 season with flawless productions, benefitting from the reliable features in Shure’s ULX-D, PSM 1000, and SBC200.