Production Sound Mixer Nelson Stoll Chooses Shure UHF-R Wireless

Mar 12, 2013 1:31 PM


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photo of Nelson Stoll

Nelson Stoll next to his audio cart on the set of Chasing Mavericks

Production sound mixer Nelson Stoll has seen a lot of changes in the world of location audio recording for motion picture and television, a high-stakes field requiring a failsafe approach to reliability and quality. One significant upgrade he has made over the past several years is the addition of Shure UHF-R as the default wireless system on his audio cart.

“I’ve been using Shure UHF-R for a few years now,” says Stoll, “most recently on Chasing Mavericks, a surfing film we shot on Monterey Bay, and on the about-to-be-released Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine. I’ve also used them on episodic TV series, where there’s a high page count and multiple locations during the day, requiring us to set up quickly. The Shure systems give me that capability. They’ve earned a place on my sound cart.”

When it became clear that the old wireless systems populating his rig would be outlawed by FCC rules changes, Stoll began his search for an upgrade. “I did a lot of tests with different brands, looking at both the audio quality and the radio link,” he recounts. “The Shure system turned out to be fantastic in that regard. The UHF-R sound quality was essentially equal to or better than the other systems, even much more expensive ones, but much easier to configure and use. We work on location, often outdoors, so that ability is critical for us.”

The latency-free nature of the system was another key factor for Stoll. “I appreciate the fact that there is no digital delay in the UHF-R wireless. This makes it easier to mix elements in real time, not requiring a digital mixer to delay the overall sound to compensate for the latency found in digital and digital hybrid wireless systems,” he says.

Speed of set-up and reliability are critical factors for production sound mixers like Stoll. “In my job, you’re mixing live in real time,” he says. “That dialog mix goes to track one on the recording, with all the individual isolated microphones going to their own tracks as well. Getting a good live mix is the goal, not just because production will have a good idea of the sound quality during the initial screenings, but because it saves time and money. These days, a lot of productions, especially projects like reality shows, really rely on production sound. They don’t have the time or the money to do a lot of work in post, and quality, reliable wireless microphone systems is central to achieving this.”

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