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‘This is the best of both worlds’: Shure and Q5X unveil Axient Digital transmitter for sports broadcasts

The two companies have collaborated on a new products for the sports broadcast industry

Shure has teamed up with wireless microphone developer Q5X to launch a range of new Axient Digital-enabled transmitters designed for sports broadcast applications.

The new line has been engineered to be sufficiently discreet and flexible to pick up audio without interfering with the action, whilst also providing optimum RF stability, encryption and spectral efficiency.

“With the combination of Q5X and Shure, this is really the best of both worlds,” said Jens Rothenburger, director of pro audio marketing at Shure. “The new Axient Digital-Enabled Q5X Wireless Transmitters provide sound engineers and the sports industry with a complete solution in a superior, already-established form factor.”

For more than a decade, Q5X has worked closely with professional sports leagues (like the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, MLS, and CFL) and major sports networks to develop wireless bodypack transmitters specifically to safely meet the demands of athletes without impeding athletic performance, while Shure boasts extensive experience bringing optimized audio to live sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, the Olympic games, NHL finals, World Cup soccer, and MLB World Series telecasts with its portfolio of microphones, transmitters, and receivers.

“Q5X prides itself on developing transmitters to solve difficult wireless audio problems for our customers,” commented Paul Johnson, CEO of Q5X. “Now, we have a proven digital technology that can be placed in literally any form factor.”

Q5X has established proven form factors suitable for players, coaches, and officials at all sporting levels in different sports. And now, three form factor models feature the latest Axient Digital technology, including the CoachMic, PlayerMic, and AquaMic, which is designed for wet environments such as outdoor functions or water sports.

The new CoachMic combines the functionality of a large, easy-to-use rocker-style mute switch with the security of digital encryption. This new form factor aims to capture the coach’s audio for post-production, while allowing the coach to mute the mic for game strategy or other sensitive discussions.

During the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago in February, coaches from both teams were miked with the wireless CoachMic transmitter, which aired during the live national broadcast. The transmitters used Shure Axient Digital to transmit audio to the engineers mixing for TNT Sports. The mics could also be remotely muted by the audio engineers, via Q5X MicCommander, as the coaches entered the locker rooms at halftime.

Originally developed for the NBA, the PlayerMic is the only flexible bodypack transmitter that is deemed by the NBA to be the safest solution to be worn by the players. PlayerMic’s unique thin, bendable, rubber design protects players from injury if they fall on it or take a direct hit and is extraordinarily concealable. This version of the Q5X PlayerMic bodypack transmitter has been co-developed with Shure to be compatible with Axient Digital wireless receivers for best-in-class digital wireless transmission.

When a waterproof solution is required, the AquaMic is designed to capture audio in demanding environments such as water sports or buried in the outdoor playing field when players can’t wear them. The AquaMic is fully submersible, suitable for challenging environmental situations like those in reality television, film, and sports broadcasting. Rechargeable batteries provide 4-16 hours of life.

The MicCommander enables users to control all aspects of the bodypack transmitters remotely, including set up and monitoring: on/off, frequency, mic offset, RF power, groups, and battery level. The handheld remote control and transmitters take advantage of the RCAS (Remote Control Audio System) communication scheme for simple and complex adjustments, making MicCommander a required purchase for Q5X transmitter operation.