Hong Kong / Hong Kong,
Shure Wireless Systems Deliver Perfect Sound At Sammi Cheng's "Touch Mi World Tour"
Shure Wireless Systems Deliver Perfect Sound At Sammi Cheng's "Touch Mi World Tour"
Axient Wireless Management Network and PSM1000 Personal Monitoring System Support the Pop Diva’s Concert Series
Hong Kong, January 2015 - After many years of absence, Sammi Cheng, the Queen of Reinvention, finally returned to the stage and kicked off her "Touch Mi World Tour" in Hong Kong last year. To guarantee flawless audio performance throughout the whole tour, Sammi’s sound engineering team turned to Shure Axient Wireless Management Network and PSM1000 Personal Monitor System. The topline wireless systems have already delivered stable transmission and outstanding live audio quality during the first leg of Sammi’s tour, which included 12 consecutive concerts hosted at the Hong Kong Coliseum between February 2014 and January 2015.
Frankie Hung, sound engineer in charge of the tour, knows all about the importance of using the right equipment to achieve the best possible audio results. He provides a look behind the scenes of Sammi Cheng’s Touch Mi World Tour and shared his experience with Shure.
Axient Wireless Management Network in Action
Shure Axient Wireless Management Network is the most sophisticated and reliable wireless system available today. Its Frequency Diversity feature enables simultaneous audio transmission on two separate frequencies, allowing the receiver to seamlessly switch to the secondary frequency within milliseconds in the event of direct radio frequency interference. This ensures clear and uninterrupted audio quality, avoiding any risk of dropouts which might dampen the concert atmosphere.
When asked about the most memorable function of the Axient Wireless System, Frankie Hung said "I think the most convenient feature is the ShowLink Access Point wireless remote control function. It allows to adjust microphone parameters without having to physically bring the microphone backstage. We usually calibrate the gain of the microphones during rehearsals, and especially if the performer wears a bodypack transmitter, it’s always an inconvenience to remove it for configuration. ShowLink creates a wireless network link between the transmitter and receiver and allows us to remotely adjust the transmitter parameters in real-time. It’s a great feature."
Frankie also mentioned that the concert schedule is very tight, filled with performances almost every day. Using the Shure Wireless Workbench 6 (WWB6) Software enables the team to keep a continuous watch over the wireless environment at the concert venue. "It is really convenient to being able to scan the environment during the preparation works. We can easily check for available as well as unavailable frequencies, and make sure to avoid the latter in advance. Thanks to Axient’s Automatic Frequency Selection, the probability of interference from conflicting frequencies is virtually zero."
Apart from the Axient system used for Sammi’s performances, the sound team also uses more than 20 channels of the Shure UHF-R Wireless System for guest performers, chorus, and string quartets. Utilizing the WWB6 Software to manage all channels, even from different wireless systems, dramatically increases the efficiency of system setup and maintenance by quickly and precisely calculating the clearest and safest available primary and backup frequencies.
The live sound team has also been very satisfied with Axient's Advanced Power Management. The ATX900 Rackmount Charging Station charges and stores all bodypack and handheld batteries used during the tour. It also displays a detailed status of all batteries, including their remaining power in hours and minutes, time until full charge, capacity, and battery health. Frankie further pointed out the long-lasting performance and convenience of using rechargeable batteries: "The charging time is very short, and the durability of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is a lot better than that of ordinary AA batteries. Also, it can sometimes be difficult to purchase large quantities of batteries at tour stops in cities we don't know well. The rechargeable batteries are not only hassle-free, but also a great time and cost saver.”
PSM1000 Personal Monitor System in Action
Sammi Cheng’s concerts include extensive choreography, even involving elevating stage elements which rise up to great heights during the concert. This makes reliable transmission very important and it’s critical to ensure clear monitoring for performers at all times.
Frankie comments: “We haven’t been worried about dropouts at all as we’re using the PSM1000 Personal Monitor System and its Diversity Bodypack Receivers. Each bodypack carries two separate antennas, so even if the wireless signal becomes poor or noisy on one antenna, the second antenna simply takes over the reception. This feature significantly boost signal quality and automatically resolves any kind of interference issues. With PSM1000, the performers haven’t reported any reception problems, which used to be a frequent occurrence in the past.”
PSM1000's CueMode is another feature well-liked by the monitoring engineers. It allows them to use a single bodypack receiver to monitor up to 20 different mixes. Frankie speaks from his experience at the Hong Kong Coliseum: "During the show, the engineer has to pay attention to the mixing console, what the guest performers are listening to, Sammi’s mix, and so on. I think CueMode makes audio monitoring much easier because the engineer can select which output he wants to listen to by simply changing the channel on his bodypack, without having to take off his headphones. This is a real breakthrough.”
The RF mute function is another useful tool for the concert's preliminary calibrations during rehearsals. It allows the monitoring engineer to mute the singer's earphones and set up the equipment without irritating the singer.
Same as the Axient system, the PSM1000 also runs on rechargeable batteries. Actual use showed that the SB900 smart rechargeable lithium-ion battery can run continuously for 10 hours. This is far more than the 6-hour performance of ordinary AA batteries. Details such as the battery service life and charging cycle can also be tracked with greater precision, providing more accurate information for the user and giving additional confidence in the whole system’s reliability.
Wireless System Audio Quality
Sammi Cheng uses one headworn as well as two wireless handheld microphones on her tour, including a custom red, Swarovski crystalized handheld microphone to complement her different outfits and glamorous performances.
The handheld transmitters were fitted with a KSM9HS premium condenser microphone cartridge capable of capturing the slightest vocal nuances. It can be configured with hypercardioid and subcardioid pick-up pattern, making it particularly well-suited for live concerts. "For a concert at a location like the Hong Kong Coliseum, where the stage is in the center of the venue, I normally wouldn’t even consider giving the performer a condenser microphone, due to its sensitivity and the sheer amount of audio feedback that would be generated” comments Frankie. “The directional performance of condenser microphones isn’t usually that good so they pick up a lot of environmental noise. I was very surprised by the KSM9HS however. The sound was a lot clearer than any other condenser vocal microphones I've used in the past.”
As for the sound quality of the PSM1000 Monitor System, Frankie did his own comparison and found the following: "We compared the sound from the PSM1000 with the source and I must admit that the sound transmitted and received through the wireless monitoring system was basically identical to the source. When you match PSM1000 with the SE846 Sound Isolating Earphones, the quality is so good, it’s like wearing a set of very large studio monitoring headphones.
Building on the great success of the first stop of Sammi Cheng’s concert tour, the Pop Diva is now looking forward to continuing her Touch Mi World Tour with many more exciting performances in China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia in the coming months, backed by the great support of her sound engineer Frankie Hung and Shure Wireless Microphone and Personal Monitoring Systems.