The STAPLES Center in Los Angeles is home to four professional sports teams, concert tours, and a range of private events. In total, the venue operates more than 250 ticketed events annually. Located in the heart of downtown LA, handling audio for the arena’s attractions is no minor feat, due to crowded RF and shrinking spectrum. The man behind the facility’s audio operation is sound engineer Dustin Delker, who recently adopted the Shure Axient Wireless Management Network to better navigate available frequencies.
Axient, by Shure“Whether it’s Lakers coverage, LA Kings reporting, or details about a new event coming through over the weekend, we’ve got news trucks coming in and out nearly every hour of the day,” said Delker. “STAPLES Center is one of the busiest venues in the country, which makes it critical for us to have a wireless system that can identify and run on the best available frequencies. This is exactly why we turned to Axient. We cannot afford to drop on air.”
Delker relies on eight channels of Axient Wireless with KSM9 handhelds, another eight channels of UHF-R Wireless with body-pack transmitters, and Shure lavalier mics. The microphones support all in-game entertainment for the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, NHL’s Kings, and WNBA’s Sparks. This includes the national anthem, half-time performances, on-camera player and coach Q&A, and team introductions. The gear is also used for each of the team’s pre- and post-game press conferences.
Axient features that include Frequency Diversity and Interference Detection and Avoidance, as well as the ShowLink Access Point were big selling points for Delker. With Frequency Diversity mode enabled, the Axient receiver continuously analyzes signal quality and uses both frequencies to provide optimized audio on a single channel. With two frequencies transmitting the same audio, the presence of direct RF interference on one frequency causes zero interruption. In the event of signal degradation, Axient Interference Avoidance technology enables engineers to move to a clean, compatible frequency—manually or automatically. ShowLink Remote Control enables comprehensive, real-time control of transmitters and the ability to make instantaneous remote adjustments to all transmitter settings.
The STAPLES Center audio team has also benefited from Axient’s Spectrum Manager and Shure rechargeable battery options. The Spectrum Manager provides detailed RF spectrum scans in rich visual displays, along with compatible frequency coordination for even the highest channel counts. Shure lithium-ion rechargeable batteries provide up to eight hours of battery life for extended performance, zero memory effect, and real-time metering of remaining charge and other battery status parameters.
“Since we’ve began to operate Axient, it has performed as expected—flawlessly,” said Delker. “During the Kings season home opener this year, I had over 100 frequencies come in. Using Spectrum Manager, I was able to get an updated scan of the arena and ensure every mic was running on the right channel. We didn’t have a single interruption, from puck drop to the last buzzer.”