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Shure’s Axient Digital mic system powers ‘Cathedral of Creativity’

St John at Hackney Church restoration project uses Shure as its wireless system

Shure is the sound system of choice for the multi-million pound restoration project at St John at Hackney Church, London, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, in collaboration with designer John Pawson CBE (Abbey of our Lady of Nový Dvůr/Design Museum), acclaimed visual artist Es Devlin and architects Thomas Ford & Partners.

A cherished landmark, the Grade II listed St John at Hackney Church was established in 1275 and has been part of the East London community ever since. A church in the traditional sense, since 2010 the venue has welcomed major artists such as Robbie Williams, Florence Welch, Jamie XX, Benjamin Clementine, Bloc Party, Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sandé.

The aim of the restoration project was to create one of London’s premium live event spaces: a ‘Cathedral of Creativity.’ The demands of this ambition, combined with working in a historic listed building, made for a challenging installation. Getting the right team together was at the heart of the brief and working with internationally renowned designer John Pawson on the architecture, the project needed to apply the same level of detail and discretion to the tech.

“The Shure brand has been synonymous with pro audio for the last 50 years,” explained project production manager Ben Musson. “I had used the Shure ULXD previously and had found it really reliable, and easy to work with. When we had the first tender doc come through from our consultants.

“Having previously used ULXD, the Axient [wireless microphone] range was a natural next step. What I found particularly impressive was its efficiency in the frequency spectrum, and with the RF it can gather through the antennas. This meant that we were able to push the limit on placement, keeping them out of sight and as discreet as possible.

“We use Axient receivers on our production network. This means we are able to remote control the units over our network to check on via Workbench, like most. My favourite feature is an extension of this remote capability within our mixing console. On the preamp page on the Allen and Heath Dlive, we are able to see the RF Strength, Battery life, Receiver name, and also remote control the gain level of the receiver. This has got to be the neatest party trick, where normally, without using workbench or being at the receiver, the engineer would only have access to a Dante trim level, or an analogue gain from the receiver into the desk – but to actually gain the wireless mic, this is life changing.”