Academy of Country Music Awards Relies on Shure Mics and Wireless Systems
On Sunday, April 3, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) held its 51st annual awards show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Hosted by country stars Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, the three-hour event was produced by dick clark productions and broadcast live on CBS. With multiple stages, a cavernous arena, and the legendarily hostile RF environment of Las Vegas, the show enlisted a veteran crew of audio experts to ensure a flawless broadcast.
The broadcast audio team included production mixer J. Mark King and music mixers Eric Schilling and Biff Dawes. House production was handled by Steve Anderson, with RF coordination by Dave Bellamy. Inside the arena, the FOH mixer was Jeff Peterson, with Tom Pesa and Mike Parker handling monitor mix duties.
ATK Audiotek was designated as the primary backline audio and wireless systems provider, while RF specialists from Soundtronics designed and tuned the wireless antenna systems and provided frequency coordination for the entire production. The team specified 24 channels of Shure PSM 1000 systems for in-ear monitoring duties, with the system’s diversity reception delivering pristine audio to all the artists on stage. On the microphone side, Shure Axient and UHF-R wireless were used. As usual, all performers were encouraged to use their preferred or endorsed wireless microphones, so the telecast was a good indication of the dominance of Shure RF in country music.
“Shure wireless systems are a major part of the audio chain for this show,” notes FOH music mixer Jeff Peterson. “Sound quality is first and foremost, supported by rock solid RF. Makes my job at front of house easier and more enjoyable.”
In his fourth consecutive year as co-host, Luke Bryan performed the opening number on an Axient handheld in frequency diversity mode, with SM58 capsule. Like most other performers, first-time co-host Dierks Bentley used Shure UHF-R, opting for his accustomed Beta 58A mic element.
Production mixer J. Mark King was pleased to see Shure’s new KSM8 being used atop UHF-R transmitters in performances by Keith Urban, and by the two male vocalists in Little Big Town, which took home awards for both Vocal Group of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year (with Miranda Lambert). “The new KSM8 has won me over in several applications,” notes King. “Shure continues to be the leader in award-winning product innovations, and a favorite of many artists on this show.”
The night’s big winner was Chris Stapleton, who took home four ACM awards, including Album of the Year (Traveller), Song of the Year (“Nobody to Blame”), and the rare combination of both Male Vocalist and New Male Vocalist of the Year. Stapleton gave one of the few wired microphone performances of the night, singing the soulful “Fire Away” on a chrome-plated SM58, backed by his wife Morgane Stapleton on a wired KSM8.
Shure UHF-R wireless microphone systems were chosen by Vocal Duo winners Florida Georgia Line (Beta 58A), and by New Female Vocalist winner Kelsea Ballerini for her performance with Nick Jonas (both on KSM9 condensers). The KSM9 was also used by Kenny Chesney (HS version) and Sam Hunt for their performances. Female vocalists from Little Big Town were also on UHF-R, with one SM58 and one Beta 87A being augmented by the UR1/Beta 98H/C horn mic used by featured guest Trombone Shorty.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular wireless selection was the classic SM58 element. In addition to host Luke Bryan, it was also chosen by Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw, Cam, Cassadee Pope, Chris Young, and Cole Swindell for their performances. The U2/Beta 58A was used by Brett Eldredge in addition to co-host Bentley.
In all, 16 channels of UHF-R wireless were onsite, augmented by another four channels of Shure Axient and 24 channels of PSM 1000 in-ear monitoring systems. “From the engineers to the artists, so many continue to rely on Shure for this broadcast,” remarked Ryan Smith, Shure’s Nashville Artist Relations Manager, who was in attendance. “It’s an honor to provide support to the people who help make the ACM Awards such a prestigious event for country music.”