When sports broadcasts look to return to live events, bringing the sounds from players, coaches, and game officials to fans watching and listening at home will be more essential than ever.
Finding the right equipment and technology to bring sound to sports fans is critical. Microphones must be discreet enough to pick up the audio without interfering with the game action; the wireless transmitter must be small enough, safe enough, and flexible enough to handle the rigors of up to three continuous hours of in-game activities; and the transmission should have the ability to be encrypted so others can’t access the audio feed from coaches, players, and officials. Sound quality and spectrum efficiency is paramount.
Wireless microphone developer Q5X and Shure, a leader in professional audio solutions, announced a collaboration to combine their expertise to provide superior sound quality and security that today’s sports broadcasts require. Together, Q5X and Shure have developed specialised Axient® Digital-Enabled Q5X Wireless Transmitters that deliver the latest wireless digital technology with unparalleled RF stability, encryption, and spectral efficiency.
“With the combination of Q5X and Shure, this is really the best of both worlds,” said Jens Rothenburger, Director of Pro Audio Marketing at Shure. “The new Axient Digital-Enabled Q5X Wireless Transmitters provide sound engineers and the sports industry with a complete solution in a superior, already-established form factor.”
For more than a decade, Q5X has worked closely with professional sports leagues (like the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, MLS, and CFL) and major sports networks to develop wireless bodypack transmitters specifically to safely meet the rigorous demands of athletes without impeding athletic performance.
Shure has extensive experience bringing flawless sound to live sporting events, including the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, the Olympic games, NHL finals, World Cup soccer, and MLB World Series telecasts with its portfolio of microphones, transmitters, and receivers.
Developed to directly address ongoing technical challenges plaguing major sports organisations, the Axient Digital-Enabled Q5X Wireless Transmitters incorporate the most innovative wireless technology in the world. With outstanding signal quality in even the most complex venues and congested RF environments, Axient Digital provides maximum stability, range, and clarity for professional productions that demand flawless execution.
“Q5X prides itself on developing transmitters to solve difficult wireless audio problems for our customers,” says Paul Johnson, CEO of Q5X. “Now, we have a proven digital technology that can be placed in literally any form factor.”
Q5X has established well-proven form factors ideal for players, coaches, and officials at all sporting levels in different sports. And now, three form factor models feature the latest Axient Digital technology, including the CoachMic™, PlayerMic®, and AquaMic™, which is designed for wet environments such as outdoor functions or water sports.
The new CoachMic combines the functionality of a large, easy-to-use rocker-style mute switch with the security of digital encryption. This new form factor securely and unobtrusively captures the coach’s audio for post-production, while giving the coach the opportunity to confidently mute the mic for game strategy or other sensitive discussions.
During the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago in February, coaches from both teams were miked with the wireless CoachMic transmitter, which aired during the live national broadcast. The transmitters used Shure Axient Digital to transmit audio to the engineers mixing for TNT Sports. The mics could also be remotely muted by the audio engineers, via Q5X MicCommander™, as the coaches entered the locker rooms at halftime.
Originally developed for the NBA, the PlayerMic is the only flexible bodypack transmitter that is deemed by the NBA to be the safest solution to be worn by the players. PlayerMic’s unique thin, bendable, rubber design protects players from injury if they fall on it or take a direct hit and is extraordinarily concealable. This version of the Q5X PlayerMic bodypack transmitter has been co-developed with Shure to be compatible with Axient Digital wireless receivers for best-in-class digital wireless transmission.
When a waterproof solution is required, the AquaMic is designed to capture crystal-clear audio in demanding environments such as water sports or buried in the outdoor playing field when players can’t wear them. The AquaMic is fully submersible, so it is ideal for challenging environmental situations like those in reality television, film, and sports broadcasting. Rechargeable batteries provide 4-16 hours of life.
The MicCommander enables users to control all aspects of the bodypack transmitters remotely, including set up and monitoring: on/off, frequency, mic offset, RF power, groups, and battery level. The handheld remote control and transmitters take advantage of the RCAS (Remote Control Audio System) communication scheme for simple and complex adjustments, making MicCommander a required purchase for Q5X transmitter operation.
The combined sports mic and technology expertise from Q5X and Shure will enable audio designers to capture sound without compromising the safety or comfort of the wearer. The Axient Digital-Enabled Q5X Wireless Transmitters will benefit sports leagues, broadcasters, and production companies resulting in an enhanced audience experience.