Emmy and Tony-award winning Broadway producer, Grammy-nominated musical director Michael J. Moritz Jr, who’s also a music supervisor, mixer, pianist, and audio tech, keeps his personal Lectrosonics M2 Duet digital wireless monitoring systems — comprising M2T transmitters and M2R receivers — at arm’s reach.
Specifically, Moritz is a co-producer for Hadestown, which earned him a 2019 Tony Award for Best Musical, and most recently before that he won an Emmy for his audio work on From Broadway with Love: A Benefit for Orlando. Other accolades include a Tony nomination for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and On The Town as well as collaborations with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bernadette Peters and many others.
“I’m usually the showrunner or producer or wearing the musical director hat — or all of them,” says Moritz of his role. But where production personnel that far “above the line” are usually passive customers of the sound department, Moritz is hands-on. “I’m a total tech nerd, and that’s what sparked my interest in Lectrosonics.”
In this interview, he discusses applications that include including in-ear monitoring, IFB, comms, and talent cueing. Given the live nature of much of hiss work, the M2 Duet components’ ability to interface to the Dante audio-over-Ethernet protocol was one of the first things that got his attention.
“I work on a lot of live-switched TV broadcasts,” he explains. “Where [the M2 Duet system] has recently found a home in my production work is, because it has Dante, it can interface directly to anyone’s intercom frames. I patch the M2T units right into Dante, which can then bridge out to Telex or ClearCom or any other type of intercom. And it just works. I also love the density, physically speaking. The fact that you can fit two stereo channels in a half-rack space is amazing.”
RF integrity is of high priority to Moritz, who found his system cued talent with grace under fire at a live Broadway revue in Times Square. “There’s this two-hour live broadcast from Times Square called Curtain Up,” he says. “Multiple Broadway casts perform numbers from their shows. It’s a free event open to the plaza, and thousands of people show up. Amber Ruffin and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were the hosts in 2022, and I gave an M2R pack to each of them. Times Square may be the noisiest RF environment on the planet, and Lectro was not the only brand of RF equipment onsite. But we had no problems with our end — no range issues, crosstalk, dropouts, anything like that. We just dumped a trailer into the middle of Times Square, set up audio on a folding table about 100 feet from the stage. No issues.”
As a musician, Moritz understands that musical program material can be more affected by audio quality than dialogue in a movie or TV show. “What initially kept me away from digital in general was, everything else I had tried as a piano player and singer, I would hear the comb filtering as a result of latency. I grew up in the studio and my ears are very fussy. The quality of Lectrosonics is fantastic; it’s the first digital wireless I find to be truly usable on musical applications. It sounds like an analog system, in the best way. I don’t hear compression artifacts and that’s a first.”
Moritz foresees Lectrosonics making even greater inroads into the musical side of the creative world than it already has. “I’ve always thought of Lectrosonics as an aspirational brand for most, “he recalls. “Similarly to names like Arri, it was something most people outside of film production didn’t know existed. I’m glad to see people pivoting into using them for musical theater, rock concerts, and even recording studio applications, because the audio quality is beyond good enough to do that. But if I were to sum up Lectro in one sentence, it’s time-tested, trusted tech for pros!”
Go here to read the full interview with Moritz.