As the pandemic has altered audio capturing plans for a number of industries, especially as they look for options for “contactless” microphones that don’t need to be worn or handled by individuals or groups, there is proven technology that can help adapt to the new normal.
Shure’s array microphones have been relied upon for some of the biggest global events like the Olympics and major sporting events as well as necessary everyday functions such as healthcare and court rooms.
The advantages of using array microphone technology are even more essential today as it provides broadcast-quality sound captured inconspicuously and from a safe distance — whether that’s overhead, underneath, or from the side. The technology provides the ability to provide steerable audio coverage for different room scenarios. The audio settings can be controlled remotely without the need for anyone to physically reposition the microphones to maximize coverage.
When tabletop microphones (press conferences), lavalier mics (broadcast), handheld mics (interviews, speeches) or other microphones (hospitals, court rooms) aren’t feasible, Shure offers options of overhead, wall or table-mounted array microphones with steerable coverage technology to provide broadcast-quality audio. The MXA910 array microphone, the MXA310 tabletop microphone and the new MXA710 linear array microphones are the leading products in this category.
“As the world shifts to more ‘contactless’ microphones, Shure has pioneered this technology for years,” said Chris Merrick, Senior Director of Global Integrated Systems Marketing at Shure. “Our array microphone technology has been trusted with some of the biggest brands and events worldwide. With increased demand for remotely controlling audio capture, the technology is here today for it to be done very efficiently.”
Examples of how this successful technology is used globally include:
TV and Radio Broadcast
The number one reality TV show in Brazil, “Big Brother Brasil,” used MXA910s positioned on the ceilings throughout the house to capture broadcast-quality audio from the residents, who had various volume levels throughout the course of filming. Audio techs were able to remotely control the lobe directions and audio settings in real-time.
“Arto Nyberg,” Finland’s biggest talk show is filmed at Helsinki Music House. While the show typically used a competitor shotgun mic above Nyberg, the crew switched to an MXA310 tabletop mic positioned on the table to capture audio.
A major radio network looked for a new way to manage audio across several studios. To improve their flexibility without any quality loss, they tested the MXA910 array microphone as part of a larger project. With HVAC noise and high volume of movement in the busy studio typically causing some noise with previous mics, the MXA910 minimized those sounds to provide even better radio broadcast quality for listeners.
Several hospitals have installed MXA910 in operating rooms because the unit is out of the way (ceiling mounted) and is able to clearly capture medical professionals as they explain procedures to medical students learning remotely.
As part of its Olympics coverage, a major sports network in Brazil initially intended to use the MXA910 as a back-up microphone in case they encountered any problems with the presenter or guests’ lavaliers. However, after running several tests, the team decided to use the MXA910 as the main microphone with the lavaliers as back-up.
The MXA910 was positioned over the news desk where the four presenters or guests were seated. Each of the four lobes with MXA910 was pointed at each individual, covering their specific seat positions. The audio was so good that broadcast competitors kept asking about the microphones they were using.
As major football (soccer) press conferences in UAE were taking place at a rapid pace with several different players and coaches, there was no opportunity to adjust the table microphones or incorporate wireless microphones. An MXA910 was installed above the press conference table. It was configured with four lobes, three focused on the table and a fourth pointing to the area where the MVP was announced (at the end of the table, 3 meters from the mic). The mix signal was routed to two press boxes, the translation booth and the public address system. It provided quality audio, along with a “voice lift” feature to amplify the Q&A sessions so reporters could more clearly hear the people talking.
Scotiabank Arena, home to the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, wanted to replace shotgun mics with something that didn’t require manually repositioning them for different games – basketball and hockey. With the MXA910, the remote control of the lobes eliminated any need to physically get to the underside of the scoreboard to adjust anything. While the audio was originally intended to provide game sounds to the arena suites, the audio was so good that ESPN/ABC picked up this audio for their broadcast of the NBA Finals.
At the Red Bull BC 1 World Finale (World Breakdancing Competition) in Mumbai, organizers were looking for an audio solution that captured 70 percent crowd noise and 30 percent direct audio. Three MXA910s were placed in the venue to capture the perfect mix for the broadcast.
In addition to the MXA910, Shure offers an array of microphones for different needs, most recently the MXA710 linear array microphone. This new model is designed for high-quality audio capture in a variety of environments. Whether it’s under or next to a wall-mounted display, suspended from the ceiling or flush mounted in a table, the low-profile form factor of the MXA710 subtly blends into any room aesthetic without sacrificing audio quality. It is an ideal alternative for spaces where the MXA910 or the MXA310 might not be the best option.
Patented Steerable Coverage™ technology with the MXA710 captures audio anywhere in the room, featuring four lobes with the 2-foot array, and eight lobes with 4-foot array.
Like the MXA910, with onboard IntelliMix® DSP, the MXA710 provides Automatic Mixing, Acoustic Echo Cancellation, Noise Reduction, and Automatic Gain Control, providing all the processing needed for echo and noise-free audio, ensuring end users experience high-quality audio. Autofocus™ technology fine-tunes each lobe position in real-time, adjusting as people move around the room as they speak.