British virtual band selects Shure's Axient Digital – lauded by the firm as the most innovative wireless audio technology in the world – helping reduce set up times and enhance reliability
Gorillaz, one of the world's most successful virtual bands, has teamed up with Shure – a leading manufacturer of innovative wireless audio technologies – for use of its "phenomenal" wireless microphone system, Axient Digital on its current wold tour.
The new album, headed up by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, is the first from the band in seven years, with its world tour kicking off in Vegas in April last year running until this August.
Shure's technology was chosen by its tour production firm, Entec Sound & Light – one of the first to tour Axient Digital and implemented by RF Tech Ben Shapiro. Band members are using Shure'sAD1 Bodypack Transmitter and AD 2 Handheld Microphone units.
My set-up time has been dramatically reduced whilst using Shure’s Axient Digital Series, saving me time to focus on more resource intensive aspects of the tour
I was impressed by just how reliable the system was
Jonny Clark, head of sound at Entec said:“Any equipment we invest in needs to be right for the tour but also future-proof for ongoing deployments.
“The specs that come in to us, are increasingly for Shure kit and we carry plenty of manufacturer choice in our inventory."
Shapiro, who played a key role in the implementation of Axient for the tour, hailed the microphones as as "phenomenal," adding the Shure technology has "dramatically" reduced set up times, allowing for improved performances.
"Having first heard it being demonstrated in the US, I was impressed by just how reliable the system was," said Shapiro. "Once you have done your scan, your plot and loaded it in, I didn’t have to swap frequencies around. The AD1 Bodypack Transmitter and AD 2 Handheld Microphone are truly phenomenal units, and they sync incredibly quickly.
“My set-up time has been dramatically reduced whilst using Shure’s Axient Digital Series, saving me time to focus on more resource intensive aspects of the tour. With a fairly complex and rotating cast and in addition to Damon himself, a band that features in its ranks two drummers and six backing vocalists, there’s the ever-changing and dynamic menu of guest stars to contend with. The audio metering facility is extremely impressive and making decisions ‘on the fly’ (albeit calculated, of course), now a reality."
Removing bad decisions
He continued: "Having a simple cross-platform of being able to see my RF reception and audio reception/quality from the microphones and instruments, means I can make rational decisions even if sometimes one of those signals might not be where I’d like it to be, which often happened. I would have potentially made some bad decisions had I not had this feature."
Supporting those comments, Tuomo Tolonen, director of Pro Audio at Shure UK added: “Axient Digital is a product we are rather excited about. It not only replaces UHFR which is possibly the most widely recognised high-end RF system ever made, but also has to operate flawlessly night after night in a far harsher and congested RF environment than we have ever seen. The reality of a harsher RF environment is what really drove the development of the product as the expectation from any high-end production is that there are no RF issues. Gorillaz certainly fits that mold as the show is phenomenal with plenty of RF channels on a stage with plenty of LED screens and it has to tour the world. It’s the perfect recipe for a challenging environment but it’s precisely what the product was designed for.”