NILES, IL-As this year's presidential campaign enters convention arenas in both Denver and Minneapolis, trying to look back on every rally, whistlestop, handshake, and baby kissed becomes a grassroots blur given the power to inspire, excite, cajole, and ignite the electorate. With the immediacy of the blogosphere as well as electronic media reporting events, old-fashioned oratory from the stump proved to still be as viable as ever in '08, aided in countless instances by Shure Inc. Hitting the campaign trail hard again just as it has throughout its own history, the manufacturer of professional audio products traveled with both Senators Obama and McCain nationwide from Warwick, Rhode Island to San Diego, California and beyond.
In Ohio, Mike Volkerding of Cincinnati-based Frequency City Sound, with the help of Thunderbolt Systems, drew upon more than just hope to bring about the change required to move Senator Obama through three different campaign stops in a single day in February. With the first set for a boardroom conference at Cincinnati's Museum Center at Union Terminal, the following two landed at the Fifth Third Arena across town and the Nutter Center in Dayton.
"It was a real foot race," Volkerding emphasizes, "with only an hour between each event. That put us in a place where we had to have three different systems in place ready to go at each stop, with crews in place. The boardroom speaking engagement used Shure lavs and podium mics, while the arenas required full-blown PA rigs flown in front of crowds numbering approximately 15,000 each."
For the Museum Center event, Volkerding chose Shure Microflex MX Series podium mics as well as WL51 lavaliers. Venerable Shure U4D wireless systems got the call for the arena stops, with Beta 87A-equipped handheld transmitters finding their way into Obama's hands at both places.
"Program material was essentially vocals and some CDs played before and after each speech at the arenas," Volkerding further relates. "It was our call to select the mic, so I chose the Beta 87A. It's the microphone I always lead with because of its clarity and presence. You can use it in any situation and no one will turn it down. In this application it was punchy, cutting right across the crowd. It sounded great."
Country may come first in a lot of places, but in the urban setting of Dallas, Texas at the Wyndham Anatole, sound was the primary concern for Zach Anthony of IHN Productions, Inc. as he prepared for a McCain fundraiser featuring the band Chicago this summer. For speaking portions of the event, Anthony outfitted Senator McCain with Shure UHF-R wireless once again packing the punch of a handheld transmitter sporting a Beta 87A capsule.
Faced with the prospect of adding sound reinforcement to an area outside of his primary area of coverage, Anthony, in a resourceful move, additionally utilized Shure PSM 700 personal in-ear monitor systems to transmit signals to a collection of stand-mounted, self-powered loudspeakers.
"I think the combination of PSM 700s and self-powered speakers we brought to the party surprised a lot of people," he reports. The sound was everything anyone had a right to expect. This configuration may not exactly be torn from the pages of the official Shure handbook, but it works reliably, providing excellent sound quality."
With the Democratic Convention already underway as of this writing at Denver's Pepsi Center and INVESCO Field/Mile High Stadium, the Republicans will follow with their own hoopla on September 1-4 at the Xcel Center in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Offering superior wireless in an ultra-compact package, the new Shure UR1M Micro-Bodypack will make its first major debut with national political figures at both events.
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