KeyArena at the Seattle Center Gets Upgrade with ULX-D® in VHF Band

Customer Profile

KeyArena is a multi-purpose event space located in the 74-acre entertainment complex known as Seattle Center. It is used for concerts, ice shows, circuses and sporting events.


With evolving spectrum pressure and crowding, the venue’s UHFwireless bands made it difficult to coordinate frequencies and avoid interference, especially when television broadcasts were happening onsite simultaneously.


Bill Droege—sound and video systems chief at the Seattle Center—installed 12 channels of Shure ULX-D® Digital Wireless in the VHF band. Shure Wireless Workbench® was utilized to monitor channels and manage pre-game and halftime entertainment.


ULX-D provided flawless audio performance for sporting events, from pre-game entertainment to the games themselves. Choosing to leverage the VHF system minimized interference and maximized spectrum predictability and usage.

Located north of downtown Seattle in the 74-acre entertainment complex known as Seattle Center, KeyArena is a multi-purpose event space serving the larger Seattle area. The Seattle Center is used for entertainment purposes, such as concerts, ice shows, circuses and sporting events. It was also the site of the 1962 World's Fair, the Century 21 Exposition. Most recently, KeyArena has been home to several sporting events, including the Seattle Storm, Pac-12 women’s basketball andSeattle University men’s basketball.

As the spectrum landscape evolves and continues to crowd, Bill Droege—sound

and video systems chief at the Seattle Center—was in need of a new wireless audio solution for KeyArena’s pre-game and game activities that would ensure smooth and reliable production for the hosted events. In addition to an already crowded spectrum, as the games are often broadcast via television, vying for predictable and usable bands became even more competitive. KeyArena previously relied on a UHF system, but because of spectrum pressure and increasing crowding, Droege opted for 12 channels of Shure ULX-D® Digital Wireless in the VHF frequency band.

Supplying Seattle Center with a wireless option that offered the reliability and top- notch sound quality for which Shure wireless systems are known, the VHF band ULX-D system with ULXD2/SM86 provided exceptionally efficient RF performance, networked control, DanteTM digital audio and AES-256 encryption. With attendance rates upwards of 15,000 people in KeyArena, wireless reliability and dependability was paramount for all aspects of the sporting events. Droege and his team—Greg Zatloka, Doug Hagen, Herb Anderson and Dale Skyllingstad—also chose ULX-D for the system’s flexibility and portability. Advanced setup features in a unit allowed the audio team to have eight channels dedicated to activities on the event floor (national anthem, halftime performances, etc.), with the other four channels available for portable, moving applications. The team also leveraged the UA874 active directional antenna for improved wireless signal reception.

To help monitor available frequencies, Droege also leveraged Shure’s Wireless Workbench®, allowing his crew to closely and quickly monitor for interference detection and receive alerts for more optimal spectrum. With Wireless Workbench, all wireless microphones can be controlled at the ease of a few clicks.

Gear List
Model Number Quantity Description
ULXD4Q 3 Four channels of uncompromising audio quality, RF signal stability, and advanced setup features in a space-efficient single rack unit.
UA874 2 Active directional UHF and VHF antenna delivers improved wireless signal reception with integrated amplification.
ULXD2/SM86 12 With an interchangeable SM86 microphone cartridge, the ULXD2/SM86 delivers uncompromising audio quality and RF performance, and AES 256-bit encryption for secure transmission.