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NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers Pre-Game Broadcast Goes Wireless With Shure ULX-D & PSM 1000
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The set for the Portland Trail Blazers pre-game hosted by Michael Holton (left) and Adam Bjaranson, which utilizes Shure digital wireless and personal monitoring

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  Applications, Wireless Systems, Shure, Monitoring

When the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers broadcasting and production teams decided to move their pre-game show from a studio to the public concourse of the Rose Garden Arena, Mike Janes, the team’s vice president of engineering and technology, put together the new gear, including a Shure ULX-D digital wireless system and a PSM 1000 personal monitor system.

Moving from a quiet studio to a public concourse made the broadcast more engaging and exciting for viewers, but presented challenges for hosts Adam Bjaranson and Michael Holton and the technical team. With a crowded RF environment, noisy surroundings, and the need for quick and easy setup and teardown, Janes sought a flexible yet reliable wireless solution, provided by the new ULX-D system.

“Because the set goes up and comes down on a regular basis, we needed a system that was easy to use, easy to collapse, and rugged enough to withstand the repeated abuse,” says Janes. “We use the system as a mobile rack system, which enables the gear to be transported and used at other events throughout the off-season. The life we get out of the system over time is huge.”

To maximize usability, Janes pairs ULX-D with the SBC200 dual-docking battery charger. “We love the rechargability factor,” Janes notes. “It makes it easy to just drop the mic in the same place and know it’s ready to perform the next time we pick it up for future games.

“It’s also much more cost-effective. Before the charger, we were buying fresh batteries before every broadcast, just to have peace of mind, but at $12 a game, over the course of 42 games, it wasn’t cheap. The type of cost savings we obtain from the SBC200 is a big plus.”

Making it possible for the hosts to hear clearly and comfortably was of equal concern.  Janes opted for the PSM 1000 personal monitor system, which provides music-quality Interruptible Feedback (IFB) audio and enables each host to set his own volume level. 

The PSM 1000 transmitter has been coupled with PSM 900 bodypack receivers. “The system’s compatibility and ease of use has been a nice benefit,” Janes adds.

Along with the bodypacks, the talent is equipped with SE425 Sound Isolating earphones for IFB. “The sound quality far exceeds what we’d call our ‘traditional in-ear drivers’ that we had been using for years, and because of the way [the SE425s] custom fit, they help isolate the noise on-set. The quality of the in-ear driver also allows the announcers to use less volume and protect their hearing in the long-term.”

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