Microphones and wireless systems from Audio-Technica were employed at the Country Music Association’s CMA Country Christmas broadcast event, which was broadcast on the ABC television network on December 10, 2018.
Audio-Technica’s Third-Generation 5000 Series frequency-agile true-diversity UHF wireless system powered the vocals for the event: Dustin Lynch sang through an A-T ATW-C6100 capsule, and Michael W. Smith and The Isaacs both used the A-T ATW-C5400 capsule.
The show, which was taped on September 27, also used an assortment of wired A-T microphones, including eight A-T AT4050 large-diaphragm condenser microphones used on the choir, an AT4050ST large-diaphragm stereo condenser microphone used for the backline grand piano, and an AT5045P cardioid condenser microphones (stereo pair) on Diana Krall’s piano.
Clean Wireless Audio owner Jason Glass, the wireless RF coordinator for the CMA on this and other events, managed the wireless systems.
“This was the third time I’ve done the wireless on the CMA Country Christmas show, but the first time I’ve used the third generation version of A-T’s 5000 Series system, and all I can do is rave about how good it was to work with,” observes Glass, who has also run wireless RF microphone systems for the annual CMA Awards as well as festival shows at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, including the annual CMA Fest.
The RF system employed Glass’s own RF helical antennas located on trusses approximately 40 feet in the air with 125-foot coaxial looms connecting to the RF system, “and the RF service room was located across the corridor and under the bleachers, so it was very remote,” he recalls. “But we just dropped the A-T 5000 Series into our wideband antenna distribution system, and it worked immediately and flawlessly. The 5000 Series gives you full bandwidth, from 470 to 608 MHz to tune to, and that kind of bandwidth lets you develop a much more flexible bandwidth plan, letting me put different types of devices, such as in-ears, into different parts of the spectrum, instead of just into a small block of it. Full bandwidth is becoming a prerequisite for professional wireless applications, and the third-generation 5000 Series has it.”
But the real test of any microphone is how it sounds, and Glass says the 5000 Series and the A-T capsules made for a merry Christmas show indeed. “All of us agreed that it sounded like a wired microphone, and that’s the highest compliment you can pay to a wireless mic,” he says. “Great sound with zero audio artifacts. I look forward to using it again in the future. When an artist requests Audio-Technica, this is the wireless system I’ll turn to as my first choice.”
The new 5000 Series dual receiver offers the high-quality wireless live sound, with A-T’s dual-compander circuitry that processes high and low frequencies separately and True Diversity operation. The receiver has been updated with a tuning bandwidth of 148 MHz: 470–608 MHz and 653–663 MHz (duplex gap), and users now have the option of selecting a standard receiver with two balanced XLR outputs (ATW-R5220) or a receiver that also includes a Dante output (ATW-R5220DAN). The full-rack receiver chassis holds two independent receivers and offers antenna power, frequency scan, IR sync functionality, a ground-lift switch, and a front-panel headphone jack.
Other new features include an antenna cascade output that connects up to eight receivers so a single pair of antennas can feed up to 16 channels of wireless, an auto squelch feature that automatically adjusts the squelch setting to maximize operating range while minimizing potential interference, and a backup frequency that can be quickly swapped by pressing the transmitter’s multifunction button in the event of unexpected interference. Software enables remote monitoring and control of the wireless system.