Axient Digital and Q5X: Broadcast Challenges Solved
From football to surfing, major sporting events have their own special requirements when it comes to wireless audio. So Shure has partnered with Q5X® to offer durable and flexible bodypack transmitters for Axient® Digital systems.
The Axient® Digital wireless platform has taken the top-tier role in many sectors including broadcast, location sound, live production and theater. Sports fans are no exception in demanding the highest-quality audio these days, but many pro leagues are demanding smaller form factors from their player-worn bodypacks for athlete comfort and safety. To address such gameday requirements, Shure partnered with Quantum5X Systems Inc. (Q5X®) to offer the only 3rd party Axient Digital compatible transmitters on the market.
Historically, Q5X focused on manufacturing miniature analog wireless transmitters that are very small and flexible. These transmitters are compatible with various industry-standard analog wireless microphone receivers. As the wireless microphone industry is in transition to digital modulation schemes, Q5X felt it was time to bring their offerings into the digital world. Digital RF wireless microphones offers better sound quality, the ability to offer more channels in a given environment, and many other ancillary benefits. The result? A collaboration between Shure and Q5X was born.
While Q5X makes a variety of miniature transmitter form factors, Shure has chosen to offer the Q5X PlayerMic® Digital and the Q5X AquaMic™ Digital transmitters. As the name implies, the PlayerMic Digital was originally designed from the ground up for professional athletes to wear.
The ability to place a rugged microphone transmitter directly on a player without them noticing it’s there, adds a dimension to the audio experience which cannot be understated. Leagues which use PlayerMic Digital often have a sewn pocket inside of the player’s uniform or a cavity inside protective pads (in the case of hockey) which makes the PlayerMic all but disappear and become unnoticed by the player.
PlayerMic Digital is offered in a 4-hour and 8-hour version, with the main difference being the 8-hour is a bit longer to accommodate the integral rechargeable battery. The form factor is very slim and somewhat flexible in the middle. PlayerMic antennas are rubberized, and the 1-pin LEMO mic connector is attached with a short pigtail to the pack, all in the name of player safety. Every effort was made to design this pack to be safe to fall on, which is usually a routine occurrence.
Many organizations such as professional baseball, basketball, rugby and soccer depend on PlayerMic to provide up close audio from each player. The flexible and rubberized design of PlayerMic helps players avoid injury if they fall upon a PlayerMic during play. Additionally, actors on film and television shoots and professional theater stages love the super slim form factor which becomes unnoticeable while wearing.
The AquaMic Digital transmitter, as its name implies, is a super-rugged and waterproof transmitter. The rugged housing is completely submersible up to 10m and is offered in both 8-hour or 16-hour variants. Coupled with a waterproof lavalier such as Shure DuraPlex, wireless microphones can now be placed in situations much outside the norm.
Aside from the obvious surfing and other water-related applications, the rugged waterproof nature of the AquaMic is a problem solver. You can find users placing AquaMic on reality TV shows, location sound plant microphones, and even in the bottom of golf cups to capture the satisfying sound of a golf ball finding the hole.
What makes the Q5X portfolio even more exciting and unique is the implementation of a remote back channel which Q5X calls RCAS™ (Remote Controlled Audio System). RCAS is controlled by the user with the Q5X MicCommander™ handheld remote. This 2.4 GHz link allows complete control over Q5X transmitters. RCAS can be used to set and monitor such things as: on/off, frequency, mic gain, RF power, mode, groups, and battery level. RCAS also offers the ability to place transmitters to sleep in “heartbeat mode” to save battery and wake them up right before the action is about to start. This is very useful on both sports and plant mic applications where the transmitters can be placed hours before the event takes place, without worrying about replacing the batteries.
Due to the distinct nature of the 1-pin LEMO (PlayerMic) and 6-pin waterproof LEMO (AquaMic), Shure is offering its TwinPlex™ and DuraPlex lavaliers fitted with these connector variants. This allows easy pairing of the latest lavalier technology from Shure with Q5X Digital transmitters.
At the end of the day, the Q5X digital transmitters offered by Shure simply round out and complement the existing Shure Axient Digital portfolio. Whether using rackmount (AD4Q and AD4D) or slot-style bag/cart/camera receivers (ADX5D), Q5X Digital transmitters are easily synced to Axient Digital receivers over IR. The unique miniaturized form factor is already proven both useful on talent where size is an issue, as well as easily hidden on set. When combined, Shure Axient Digital systems conquer the most demanding wireless needs while Q5X transmitters provide great transmitter options for challenging situations.