Axient At The Salzburg Festival
Bringing Next-generation Wireless Microphones To The Salzburg Festival
"When I had my first demo of the system at a trade fair, my reaction was 'Why didn't you do this sooner? That’s it! It’s long overdue.'"
Edwin Pfanzagl-Cardone, Head of Sound & Acoustics, Salzburg Festival, on Axient
Since 1920, a five-week celebration of music and drama has been held every summer in Mozart's birthplace, the Austrian city of Salzburg, a few kilometres from the border with Germany. The Salzburg Festival sees events happening all over the city's urban area and around the local region, but the festival's centrepiece is always performed outside, on temporary staging in Salzburg's Cathedral Square (weather permitting): Jedermann (Everyman), a Christian morality play.
Stage presentations of Jedermann have become ever more elaborate as the decades have progressed, and the use of wireless microphone systems for the performers and discreet sound reinforcement around the square has grown commensurately. However, the shrinking RF spectrum available for wireless microphone use in Austria and mushrooming sources of RF interference in the Salzburg region rendered the Festival's 10-year-old wireless microphone system unfit for purpose. A better solution was urgently required.
The Festival took delivery of 32 channels of Shure's flagship Axient solution before the 2014 festival, and made use of it throughout that Summer's production of Jedermann. As Festival Head of Sound & Acoustics Edwin Pfanzagl-Cardone explains, "When I had my first demo of the system at a trade fair, my reaction was 'At last! Why didn't you do this sooner?? We could have done with this a long time ago…!" From that point on, we made it clear to our management that we wanted this system as soon as we could possibly obtain it."
"Axient's interference detection and avoidance is great," explains Pfanzagl-Cardone, "it moves to a clear frequencyThis is how many times a sound or radio wave oscillates in one second.Read moreGo to the glossary within milliseconds of interference occurring. And it doesn't just randomly switch - it only picks frequencies that have been monitored already, which look as though they're going to stay clear and stable. We are several steps ahead of where we were with our old system.
"For example, Axient has the ability to control the parameters on bodypacks remotely from the FOH position if required. So if an actor is performing more or less loudly than at a soundcheck, the input gain can still be adjusted without disturbing the performance. Or the transmitter's power output can be raised remotely if required. In our current productions, we're running at 10mW, which is entirely sufficient. We used to run at 50mW. That reduces the risk of intermodulation interference.
"The problems we have now are not coming from the wireless system," concludes Pfanzagl-Cardone. "In terms of wireless technology and amplification, there are so many protective features now that we're much safer than we used to be. So you could say that we go about our business in a more relaxed way."
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