Shure Wireless Goes With Everything At The Berlin Friedrichstadt-Palast

UHF-R Mics & PSM 1000 IEMs Provide Flawless RF Coverage On Europe’s Largest Theatre Stage

Berlin’s former revue theatre, the Friedrichstadt-Palast, is one of  the German republic’s busiest venues; it receives over 700,000 visitors a  year, and houses the largest theatre stage in Europe, at 2,200 square  metres in size. As the staging of performances becomes ever more  ambitious, Shure wireless microphones and in-ear monitoring systems have  been playing an increasing role at the venue.

As shows at the  Friedrichstadt-Palast often include dance or acrobatics, when sound  reinforcement is required, wired microphones and foldback monitoring  often cannot be used. Achieving comprehensive monitoring coverage for  performers across the stage’s entire 2200 square-metre span is a  challenge, particularly if they use the entire extent of the stage in  their performance or, in extreme cases, are mounted on wires as part of  acrobatic routines. Reconfiguring the wireless systems is also a daily  challenge; sometimes the Friedrichstadt-Palast is host to a children’s  matinee performance and another show in the evening which uses the  wireless systems completely differently, and this pattern of usage will  continue across several days, requiring the technical team to  reconfigure the system twice a day continually.

Since 2009, the theatre has made extensive use of a Shure UHF-R  wireless microphone system, which takes care of all the on-stage miking  requirements when wired microphones cannot be used. PSM 1000 in-ear  monitoring was added to the Shure RF systems a few years ago, allowing  the venue to dispense with its former wedge-based stage foldback system.

"Before we got the PSM 1000 system, we still had wedges at the front  of the stage. For technical and aesthetic reasons, we’ve now completely  switched to in-ear monitoring. Because the stage here is so extensive,  it’s always a challenge to provide the performers with decent monitoring  wherever they might be. Particularly if they’re performing on wires —  then it’s completely impossible without wireless IEMs," explains Janos  Linde, Sound Engineer at the Friedrichstadt-Palast.

To manage the RF-based microphone and IEM systems, and to plan, set  up, and reconfigure frequency usage, channel gain and monitor battery  pack levels, the theatre’s technical team now use Shure’s Wireless  Workbench application.

The analogue UHF-R wireless microphone system currently fulfills the  sound reinforcements of the Friedrichstadt-Palast technical team,  although the restrictions on RF frequency usage that have been  occasioned by Germany’s auction of its electromagnetic spectrum (the  so-called 'Digital Dividend') is making the management consider an  future-proofing upgrade to ULX-D, Shure’s top-of-the-range digital  wireless microphone solution.

Thomas Heidel, Friedrichstadt-Palast Technical Director says: "The  theatre is very well shielded from external RF interference. But of  course like everyone else we are facing restrictions in the near future  from the further sale of RF frequencies as part of the second Digital  Dividend here. So of course our thoughts for the future are heading in  the direction of digital RF systems, and Shure ULX-D."

The PSM 1000 system at the Friedrichstadt-Palast has also been a  great success, and was recently expanded to eight stereo channels.  Thomas Heidel has stated his view that the PSM 1000 is "simply the most  user-friendly in-ear monitoring system on the market." And the use of  Wireless Workbench to move seamlessly between different shows, sometimes  twice a day, is working well, according to Janos Linde. "It works  without a hitch," he comments, "right down to the infra-red syncing  between the transmitters and receivers."

Linde is also a fan of the SB900 lithium-ion rechargeable battery  packs, which have made a big difference to the theatre staff since they  stopped using disposable batteries for the wireless mic and IEM  bodypacks. "Because one show always follows so closely on the heels of  another here, before we changed from disposable batteries to the SB900  rechargeables, we were always pushing the limits of what the batteries  were capable of. With the Shure SB900s, we can do three shows — one  after the other, without recharging — with no problems."

Gear List
Model Number Quantity Description
PSM 1000 An unprecedented combination of audio and RF performance for the most demanding professional monitoring applications.
UHF-R Wireless system masters the high pressure and extreme conditions of any large-scale touring or installation while delivering uncompromising audio.
ULX-D Digital wireless system offers a mix of 24-bit digital audio quality and scalability to meet the demands of installed applications.
WWB6 Wireless Workbench offers total control of networked Shure Systems to provide a rich interface to manage every facet of a performance.