Minneapolis, MN—For the 21st year in a row, ATK Audiotek tapped Orlando-based Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) to manage wireless microphone and IEM systems deployed for the pre-game, halftime and post-game Super Bowl entertainment, along with the wireless microphones for the referees. And as they have done in previous years, PWS began its planning back in early October.

“Long before people start thinking about who will compete in the Super Bowl, we are planning for it,” explains Jim Van Winkle, general manager, PWS. “The ticket to our continued success is being prepared. We have contingency plans for every wireless system being used for the entertainment portions of the event. When you know that more than 100 million people will be watching the halftime show, you make sure it goes off without a hitch.”

This year, it all started with a site visit to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Van Winkle and Gary Trenda, lead RF technician for PWS, made the trip along with ATK Versacom and ATK Audiotek team members Paul Liszewski, Brett Valasek, Kirk Powell, George Schwartz and Matt Campisi. The site visit allowed them to scope out the venue, providing the basic information Van Winkle and Trenda needed to design the game-day wireless system.

For the event itself, the team deployed 12 channels of Shure Axient digital microphones, four channels of Axient analog microphones, two channels of Sennheiser Digital microphones, and 12 Shure PSM 1000 in-ear mixes to more than 50 in-ear packs.

“The Axient Digital microphone systems provide the audio clarity necessary while also being extremely flexible, which is imperative in an RF environment as crowded as the Super Bowl,” explains Trenda. “The Quadversity feature allows placement of two pairs of antennas in different zones or doubling antennas in one zone, improving RF signal-to-noise in challenging environments—which this most definitely is.”

In addition, the Axient Digital system’s frequency diversity capability ensures that a secondary frequency is immediately available as a backup if the primary frequency degrades. Both the Axient and PSM 1000 systems are compatible with Shure’s Wireless Workbench control software with RF spectrum and timeline plotting, along with live monitoring, which also comes in handy during game day.

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