Shure delivers flawless audio for “jagged little pill” musical

The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University (A.R.T.) and  renowned sound designer Jonathan Deans selected the Shure Axient®  Digital wireless microphone system and ADX series transmitters to  provide clear and precise audio support for the world premiere of the  rock musical, “Jagged Little Pill.” The high-energy musical is inspired  by Alanis Morissette’s GRAMMY®-winning 1995 album of the same name. The  stage adaptation incorporates songs from Morrissette’s catalog, plus new  material into an original and timely story. The production’s audio team  sought Shure’s world-class, reliable sound performance to ensure the  audience would experience every beloved lyric in a new element.

Tasked with creating an audio experience that matched the quality of  the GRAMMY-winning Album of the Year, the Axient Digital wireless  system, Shure PSM® 1000 Personal Monitor System, and Wireless Workbench®  6 software worked seamlessly to match the physicality required of the  actors without sacrificing critical audio standards of quality, clarity,  and tonality.

With the American Repertory Theater located in the heart of  Cambridge, engineers also required a solution with an adequate wireless  channel count that would accommodate a densely-populated area while  still producing premium audio quality.

Along with Axient Digital, the production team relied heavily on the  ADX1M micro-bodypack transmitter that features an internal antenna for  enhanced concealment and comfortable wear. Wireless Workbench 6 also  delivered added management and networking for the Axient Digital  wireless devices to help control gain structure and frequency.  Additionally, the company band also used more than one dozen Shure PSM  1000 in-ear monitors for reliable audio monitoring.

“We’re running about 40 channels with 50 band inputs that make up the  ins and outs of the production,” said Mike Tracey, production mixer on  “Jagged Little Pill.” “To have the channel flexibility and range across  this shrinking RF spectrum is critical to the quality of our play. We  have over 20 performers at a time, including actors and musicians,  wearing wireless microphones, and Axient Digital paired with the  Wireless Workbench software goes above and beyond our demands,” said  Tracey.

The show explores a number of dramatic topics, depicted through  taxing physical performances that require specialized equipment for the  performers. “The internal transmitter antennas are a critical feature  for a show like this, where the actors are performing intricate  choreography and frequently changing costumes,” said Alison Schaefer,  production audio technician at A.R.T. “It’s one less external point of  failure we have to deal with, and we’ve had actors get so comfortable  wearing the micro-bodypack transmitter that at times they’ve forgotten  that they’re still wearing it,” she said.

The success of Axient Digital has inspired the A.R.T. to obtain additional channels for future shows.

“We were incredibly pleased by the performance of Axient Digital that  we plan to purchase 24 channels with 11 AD2 handheld wireless  microphone transmitters and 22 ADX1M micro bodypack transmitters,”  reflected Sam Lerner, Head of Sound at A.R.T. “The micro bodypack was  the bread and butter of ‘Jagged Little Pill.’ All the performers wore  one, and night after night it performed flawlessly,” he said.

Gear List
Model Number Quantity Description
Axient Digital Unprecedented signal stability and audio clarity, plus flexible hardware options, advanced connectivity, and comprehensive control.
PSM 1000 An unprecedented combination of audio and RF performance for the most demanding professional monitoring applications.
WWB6 Wireless Workbench offers total control of networked Shure Systems to provide a rich interface to manage every facet of a performance.