Justin Timberlake has chosen Solotech as the audio provider for his ongoing 20/20 Experience World Tour, currently in its second leg and playing venues across North America. “To ensure the tour’s success,” the Montreal-based sound company has designated Shure as its primary wireless supplier.
The tour employs 10 channels of Shure Axient wireless for backing vocals and the horn section, plus four dual-channel Shure UHF-R bodypack systems on all guitars and bass. With the exception of Timberlake’s vocal microphone, Shure gear was specified for the entire band, the dancers and much of the backline crew, who are covered by 26 channels of Shure PSM 1000 personal monitors – with 24 of them running through a single pair of antennae, using a series of four Shure PA821A wideband antenna combiners.
The tour utilises a completely bare stage with a huge video projection screen behind, and the performers make their entrances from beneath the stage by elevator platforms, so it was mandated that nothing interfere with the audience line of sight, severely limiting the options for antenna placement. A secondary ‘B’ stage located beyond the FOH mix position offered another wireless reception challenge.
“The arenas we play are always sold out, so there was no way I could bring the cables and antennas out closer,” says Solotech RF technician Éric Marchand, pictured. “It was crucial to get a good line of sight to the B stage for both the receive antennae and the transmit antennae for the IEMs. So we designed the system to cover everything from antennas discreetly hiding in plain sight on stage. The actual wireless racks, along with me and my scanners, all live under the stage.”
This tour is Marchand’s first time using Shure Axient, and he is full of praise for the system: “When you have a tour like Justin Timberlake, you want to make sure the tools you’re working with are top of the class. The fact that Solotech chose Shure Axient and PSM 1000 for this tour tells me they’ve earned that trust.”
The 129-date 20/20 Experience World Tour kicked off on 6 November 2013, and runs till 20 December.