The 57th Grammy Awards, broadcast on CBS the evening of 8 February 2015, from the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, US, featured an extraordinary 23 live musical performances.
With so many artists performing, the production team was faced with the daunting task of ensuring flawless audio from everyone’s wireless microphones and in-ear monitors, from the hard-rocking opening by AC/DC to the sentimental closing performance of Glory by John Legend and Common. Shure wireless microphone systems, wired mics, and in-ear monitoring systems were a near-constant presence. As always, musicians were permitted to use their preferred microphones for their performances. Although artists brought their own custom earphones, all but one of the in-ear monitoring systems used was Shure PSM1000, with 24 channels split between two stages. The PSM 1000 offers an extra measure of RF protection.
Both Shure Axient and UHF-R wireless systems were in use, AC/DC selected Axient for lead vocals and Angus Young’s guitar, with backing vocals on UHF-R systems with Beta 58A capsules. Axient handheld systems were also selected by Sir Paul McCartney who went for the Beta 58A, Adam Levine choosing the SM58, Juanes and Pharrell Williams also opted for Beta 58A as their microphone of choice. With its superb sound quality and remote control of all transmitter functions, Axient has the unique ability to detect and avoid interference. “We tried the Axient systems in rehearsals and were very happy with the way they sounded on both guitars and vocals,’ says Pab Boothroyd, FOH engineer for AC/DC and Paul McCartney.
Shure UHF-R systems, which have a long history of Grammy success, were used by Sir Tom Jones, John Mayer, Usher, Eric Church, Rihanna, and Common. In addition, the podium microphones were powered by Shure UR1 bodypacks, eliminating the need to run cables across the stage.
Another first for this year’s Grammy telecast was the use of Shure Beta 181 microphones on acoustic pianos. The move suggested by co-broadcast music mixer Eric Schilling and FOH music mixer Ron Reaves, for the best piano sound and these were the only mics used on the show. Schilling explains: “After Reaves tried them out on the Latin Grammy Awards, we both agreed that we wanted to use the Beta 181 in all the pianos on this show there was little we had to do with them.’
Along with Schilling and Reaves, audio coordinator Michael Abbott’s crew included production mixer Thomas Holmes, co-broadcast music mixer John Harris, and FOH production mixer Mikael Stewart of ATK Audiotek. The team also included monitor mixers Michael Parker and Tom Pesa, with Dave Bellamy of Soundtronics handling the challenge of RF coordination.
Shure artist relations manager Cory Lorentz was at the event, touching base with the Shure endorsers and users: “With 23 live performances this year, this was the most ambitious Grammy broadcast ever, it’s always a blast seeing the whole production come together and it’s great to see them using so much Shure gear to get the job done on music’s biggest night.’