The 43rd Annual American Music Awards were broadcast on ABC on Sunday night, November 22. Hosted by Jennifer Lopez at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, the program presented the fan-voted honours along with a series of high-profile performances, highlighted by a vocal interpretation of the classic John Williams theme to Star Wars by Pentatonix, and a water-soaked closing medley by Justin Bieber, both using Shure UHF-R® wireless microphones.
Throughout the show, the AMA telecast relied on wireless microphones and in-ear monitors to ensure quick, smooth transitions between acts. While all major brands were on hand to accommodate artist preferences, a decided majority of the RF mics used were Shure systems.
Handling the challenge of making more than 100 RF channels work flawlessly in the crowded RF environment of downtown Los Angeles was a crack production crew of audio experts, led by production mixer Mark King and broadcast music mixers Paul Sandweiss and Biff Dawes. Mikael Stewart (production) and Jim Ebdon (music) mixed front of house sound inside the venue, while monitor mixes for the artists were supplied by Mike Parker and Tom Pesa.
AMA-winning artists performing with Shure wireless mics included Artist of the Year winner One Direction and both Favorite Country Artist honourees, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood. The UR2 transmitters used throughout the evening were topped by a variety of Shure microphone capsules. Rapper Macklemore and vocal-only sensations Pentatonix opted for premium KSM series mic elements, while the Beta 58® was used by both One Direction and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, the latter opting for a Shure Axient® wireless system.
Fittingly, the most popular wireless microphone choice among performers was the classic Shure SM58®. It was selected by a diverse group of artists, including Luke Bryan, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, Nick Jonas, Alanis Morissette, and Walk the Moon.
The production crew’s choice wireless systems for in-ear monitors was universal, with ATK Audiotek bringing 24 channels of Shure PSM® 1000, split evenly between the two stages. With its exceptional RF performance, diversity reception, and superb full-range sound, the PSM 1000 has quickly become the go-to personal monitoring system at live events like the AMAs.
Monitor mixer Tom Pesa commented, “Once again faced with interference from LED walls and the latest and greatest lighting instruments, the PSM 1000 continues to be the preferred in-ear system, as always providing strong RF and great sound under the most adverse conditions.”
The racks of wireless microphones and in-ear systems were supplied by ATK Audiotek of Valencia, California, while the RF experts from Burbank and Las Vegas- based Soundtronics were brought in for the complex frequency coordination and custom antenna system required to make it all work together flawlessly.
“When coordinating the RF microphone and IEM portions of a large show such as the AMAs, it’s always reassuring to see Shure equipment being requested,” says Stephen Vaughn of Soundtronics. “The reliability of Shure’s RF equipment is critical in today’s world of dwindling RF spectrum. It always puts my mind at ease.”