A.C. Entertainment Technologies’ (AC-ET) audio division has supplied a Shure UHF-R wireless microphone system to Chichester Festival Theatre - one of the UK's highest profile producing and receiving theatres, renowned for a diverse range of productions including musicals, comedies, classic drama and innovative new writing.
A.C. Audio were approached when the theatre was in the process of exhaustively evaluating the leading audio brands in its search for a radio mic system, and also one that was channel 38 compliant ahead of the 'digital switchover'. Shure's flagship UHF-R product has been a popular choice for those gearing up to the switchover in 2012.
A selection of demo equipment was delivered to the theatre to enable thorough testing. The venue thought the Shure system was "awesome" and easily the best sounding out of the four they had tried, and so immediately made the decision to purchase.
A.C. Audio supplied 16 Shure UR4D dual channel receivers, which is a 1U 19 inch rack mounting device with two receivers and 32 UR1M body pack transmitters - just 6 cms in size, the transmitters are specifically designed for theatres, opera performances and so on and for easy concealment in costumes.
The venue also purchased two Shure UR2 SM58 hand-held transmitter mics, which include the SM58 capsule, with all equipment supplied complete with distribution amps, antennas and cables.
"Quality was absolutely paramount," said the theatre’s head of sound, Jonathan Suffolk, adding that the Shure system was "not the cheapest option, but it sounded so good, and we all liked the lack of compression or processing needed". It also met all their other most important criteria, so the decision was almost instantaneous.
Discreet and expediently sized transmitter packs were a must. The theatre’s previous radio mic system also featured small transmitters, but the UR1Ms are even smaller, so this was a huge plus.
The other issue was the ease of use - and the Shure system has been designed with this in mind. "Programming the receivers is extremely straightforward," said Suffolk.
Whilst Shure was a costlier option, the theatre’s chief executive felt that it was the best solution for their needs in the long-term as shows requiring the use of radio mics were becoming increasingly common on the theatre’s schedule, and the fact that it could also be utilised on their touring shows.
The transmitters were supplied with LEMO connectors so they can be utilised with the existing microphones.
"A.C Audio were extremely helpful," continued Suffolk. "They sent down a full range of equipment so we could undertake thorough testing with the Shure system, and offered high levels of product knowledge and expertise. It was a very simple process - we listened, compared, liked, bought and used - and are very happy."
The first production for the new Shure system was "She Loves Me", staged in the Minerva Studio Theatre, which incorporated 18 of the UR1Ms in a sound design by Matt McKenzie from Autograph. In the main house, another ten were used for vocal reinforcement on Trevor Nunn's acclaimed "Rozencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead", with sound designed by Paul Groothuis, and they are also being used on the current production of "Singing In The Rain".