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Innovative Production Services, based in central Sydney, pride themselves on doing the best possible job for their clients, every time. With an extensive base of corporate customers and events business not just in Sydney but up and down the capitals of the Eastern seaboard, Innovative specialise in attention to details, smart logistics and superlative service. Providing audio, lighting, vision and staging, Innovative employs engaged staff to look after switched-on clients with intelligent equipment.
When it came time to replace some aging radio microphones, Innovative Directors Jeremy Koch and Brendan Sadgrove faced the challenge of choosing a product that would not only produce a high quality result, but pack as many channels as possible into an increasingly crowded radio environment in the CBDs of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“Some of our existing stock of radio microphones was starting to get a little bit tired,” Jeremey related. “But an even bigger issue for us is the available spectrum getting busier.” After evaluating the market and testing leading solutions, Jeremy and Brendan invested in 34 channels of Shure ULX-D. “ULX-D not only lets us use the Shure Wireless Workbench management software, but it has more advanced scanning abilities, better channel management and can handle a denser amount of microphones in one location than any of the competition,” he added. “Channel syncing couldn’t be easier and the usability is spectacular. It’s quick, it works well, and the implementation is fantastic.”
Combining the Shure SB900 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery with the eight-slot SBC-800US recharger has meant huge cost and management advantages for Innovative’s crew. “We spent over $10,000 on batteries and have over 144 batteries in stock,” continued Jeremy. “We bought at least two, if not more, for every mic. Some jobs we don’t have time to recharge, so we take two batteries for each mic. We didn’t want to be in a position where we were short. To make the management of batteries easy, we are a big fan of kits. Not only because it’s easy to quote, it’s easier for staff to manage on-site. When you pack up, you know what’s in a kit; if there’s eight battery slots, there should be eight batteries.”
Innovative’s battery kits are a wonder of practicality and efficiency; “We built them into a Pelican-style roadcase with a special foam cut-out,” Jeremy explained “The case has the charger and battery slots in it ready to go. We modified the charger and put a powerCON on the outside of the case, so that the case can sit on a shelf plugged in, with the batteries charged at all times, ready to go. It’s useful on-site, it’s nice and neat, and not too big. You open it up, pull the powerCON out, put the batteries in their charging slots, and off you go.”
With 90% of Innovative’s work in the corporate market, being visually unobtrusive, maximising space and keeping gear portable is important. “It’s important for us to keep things small,” Jeremy elaborated. “We take out between eight to 12 channels on one of our average corporate gigs. The rack density of the ULX-D quad receivers is a big plus for us, because instead of taking up four or eight rack units of space, it’s one or two rack units for eight microphones.”
With an existing stock of Shure UHF-Rs and other workhorses from the Shure range, Innovative are familiar with the range of Shure capsule options. “For this purchase, we decided to go with the SM86 capsules,” commented Jeremy. “They have excellent feedback rejection, and are particularly good when someone is off the microphone, which is important in corporate Q&A sessions. We have Beta58s and Beta87s in our existing inventory, so if we need to swap capsules around, we can.”
As Innovative have a long association with both Shure and Jands, Jeremy was familiar with the Jands extended finance programme, Jands Hire Assist, which he chose to take advantage of for the upgrade. “Jands Hire Assist was handy for us in this case,” he said. “Instead of replacing our old radios mics on Jands one-for-one trade-in and ending up with 21 channels, the cash flow control that the Jands Hire Assist allowed us meant we could push that up to 34 channels, which is what we needed. It would have been out of our reach under normal circumstances.”
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