For years, a chaotic RF environment and severe weather conditions had compromised wireless microphone system performance for AV services manager Jeremy Wecker and his team at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the home stadium of the NFL Denver Broncos. That changed this past season with the implementation of a Shure Axient wireless management network.
Seeking a solution, Wecker tapped the expertise of Mark Graham, audio consultant at Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams (WJHW) of Dallas, and Dave Potts, field systems engineer at Parsons Technologies, an engineering, construction, technical, and management services firm.
“They’ve got a severe RF nightmare at that stadium,” Potts states. “After running into so many issues during mission-critical situations, it’s easy to understand why the team had almost ‘zero confidence’ in wireless microphone technology.”
However, that changed with the implementation of Shure Axient prior to the kickoff of the pre-season schedule last year. Following a demo of the system, Wecker realized it would provide a solution years of wireless headaches that he and the team had encountered.
“At one point, we made the decision to abandon wireless almost entirely,” Wecker notes. “It just wasn’t worth it anymore. We had to manually switch every frequency, and things can get especially crazy on game days — we just didn’t have time to tweak the frequency settings or swap out handhelds due to system failures.”
After using Axient’s Spectrum Management feature, Wecker knew that he needed to have the system on his rig full-time. “The fact that I can input a list of frequencies approved by the game day RF coordinator and it can manage itself, change frequencies when it needs to, and constantly have a back-up channel ready is exactly why I chose Axient,” he says. “Also, the resulting peace of mind I now have knowing that I can confidently keep every microphone on the air is worth every penny.”
Axient’s Spectrum Manager and Frequency Diversity features offer detailed scanning, calculation, coordination, and deployment, all while simultaneously transmitting on two separate frequencies to ensure seamless, uninterrupted audio. To maximize the system’s value and usability, Wecker leverages the integration of Shure’s Wireless Workbench 6 software, which provides him with a graphical interface for viewing the surrounding RF environment and the optimal frequencies for all wireless channels.
Additionally, by incorporating Axient’s ShowLink Remote Control feature, he can remotely manage and make crucial changes to microphone transmitter and receiver settings without leaving the control booth. “Being able to keep an eye on the status and health of the rechargeable batteries in each mic has been a huge improvement,” he states. “The rechargeable accessories themselves also present a big advantage—we’ve completely eliminated the need to run out and buy fresh batteries mid-game. In just one season, we’ve already seen substantial cost savings.”
After deciding to install Axient, Potts worked with Wecker and his team to get the system up and running months before the NFL season began. “We wanted to make sure the system was performing at its best for the Broncos. Since we installed it, they have been very pleased; everything has gone-off without a hitch.”