Pop’s Sing It On A Cappella Competition Relies on Shure Microphones
From blockbuster films to the GRAMMY Award-winning group Pentatonix, a cappella continues to rise in popularity. Returning for its second season, Pop’s Sing It On gives viewers a real-life look at the hard work, talent, and strategy needed to succeed on the competitive a cappella circuit. Sing It On is produced by Sharp Entertainment and CORE Media Group, with Matt Sharp, Teri Wagner Flynn and Kallissa Miller serving as executive producers.
International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) owner Amanda Newman is its co-executive producer. John Legend, Ty Stiklorius, and Mike Jackson of Get Lifted Film Co. also work as executive producers in the documentary-style reality series that follows singing groups around the country as they juggle academics and rehearsals while vying for a spot at the Varsity Vocals ICCA.
To power ICCA performances for the competing a cappella groups featured on Sing It On, Varsity Vocals tapped Liquid 5th Productions to coordinate and manage a seamless audio production from start to finish — from the regionals to quarterfinals and finals. Liquid 5th is a leader in a cappella recording and production and Carl Taylor, the company’s CEO and chief mixing engineer, was tasked with choosing audio gear that could not only sound great during live competition performances, but also be recorded and mixed for airing on Pop. Taylor opted for 24 channels of Shure ULX-D Digital Wireless Systems with KSM8 handhelds.
“The traveling ICCA competition takes place in cities with crowded RF environments, and we needed wireless mics that could address potential interference to ensure no dropouts,” says Taylor. “By using ULX-D in combination with Wireless Workbench, finding available frequencies and distributing them is a breeze—it’s so much faster and saves quite a lot of time. The sound quality of the KSM8 also can’t be beat. Its bright sound and feedback rejection allows us to drive up the volume from the mics for mixing during the show without noise that would otherwise sacrifice audio clarity.”
The 24 channels of ULX-D are split across 20 performers and Sing It On emcees. Over the course of the ICCA tournament season, the mics go through the hands of up to 700 performers, requiring uncompromised durability. Each ULX-D system has rugged metal housing on both transmitters and the receiver — ensuring added endurance for the show. The system’s extremely efficient RF performance directly addresses crowded spectrum environments and enables a dramatic increase in the number of simultaneous active transmitters that can be on one TV channel with a rock-solid signal.
“We have been pleased with the Shure gear for Sing It On and our ICCA competition. The KSM8 has remarkable sound quality, ensures consistent audio, and lends itself well to a cappella performers,” adds Amanda Newman, executive director at Varsity Vocals. “ICCA competitions are the real life ‘Pitch Perfect’ and it’s important that we place a priority on sound quality; and without fail, Shure has delivered.”
In addition to KSM8 capsules, two Shure Beta 58A wireless capsules are used for bass and vocal percussion performers.