Lectrosonics Wireless Keeps Music Flowing On Ricky Martin "Life" Tour

Band members experience freedom of movement and dropout-free performance

Ricky Martin, Cabrera Alkins opn tour with LectrosonicsVancouver, B.C., Canada – August 2006: When it comes to Latin Pop, few artists have enjoyed the level of international acclaim experienced by Ricky Martin. Martin, who rose to fame first as a member of the Latin boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist since 1990, has sold over 70 million records since the start of his career. Martin is a veteran of the tour circuit, and when he’s performing, Lectrosonics wireless gear plays a pivotal role in keeping his band members “connected” while providing the freedom of movement today’s performers demand.

Ricky Martin and his entourage are currently out on the Life tour, which includes stops everywhere from El Paso to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Boston, and Miami. With that kind of schedule, there’s absolutely no room for problematic equipment. That’s why Raphael Alkins, monitor engineer and one of the lead decision makers who determine what equipment goes on tour, in collaboration with guitar tech Tim Wright, chose the Lectrosonics IS400 Wireless Belt-Pack Instrument System for use with the band’s guitarists.

Sound quality is, of course, a huge issue with any wireless system, and Alkins is extremely enthusiastic about the IS400’s performance. “We use acoustic guitars with electric pickups on a number of Ricky’s songs,” says Alkins. “Because of the DC battery that drives the pickup, when they feed wireless systems using compandors, the guitar’s sound ends up getting compressed to the point where it’s not very musical. This is where the IS400 really shines. The Lectrosonics gear doesn’t use a compandor, so the guitar sounds perfectly natural—big and full, with a rich, musical tone.”

“We’ve put our four IS400 systems through the wringer,” says Alkins, “and we haven’t had a single problem. Wireless systems tend to be heavily dependent upon a straight ‘line of sight’ for optimum performance, and while we make every effort to maintain this, our guitarists move all over the place, so that’s not always possible. Even when they’re beyond the arc, we’ve had great reception with the IS400.”

Some of the on stage visual effects are accomplished by a curtain of LED lights that wraps around the performers, and this has been quite a challenge to work with at times. “With some of our wireless gear, we’ve had problems because of the interference the curtain creates,” said Alkins, “but our IS400 belt packs just keep on transmitting—clear as a bell. The guitarists are wearing as many as three belt packs—one each for a wireless mic, an in-ear monitor, and the IS400 for their instrument. Having three wireless systems in such close proximity to one another can create some real headaches, but not once has the Lectrosonics gear been the source of our difficulties. Both the musicians and tech crew have been really impressed.”

Alkins was equally complimentary about the IS400’s ability to work with such a wide variety of frequency spectrum. “Unlike the States,” notes Alkins, “wireless frequency spectrum in Europe is far more restricted—you pretty much have to work with what authorities tell you to use. Being able to see what frequency spectrum is available within the block and having the ability to easily select those frequencies is a big deal—it makes operation trouble-free.”

In summation, Alkins gave the Lectrosonics IS400 a big thumbs-up all across the board. “Our IS400 systems have been out with us for two years,” reports Alkins. “They’ve been bullet proof, they sound terrific, and they’re easy to use. What more can you possibly ask for?”

About the Lectrosonics IS400 Wireless Belt-Pack Instrument System
With a 24-bit/88.2 kHz digital audio stream, 256 synthesized UHF frequencies, and Lectrosonics’ proprietary Digital Hybrid Wireless™ technology that uses a proprietary algorithm to encode digital audio information into an analog format that can be transmitted in a robust manner over an analog FM wireless link, the Lectrosonics IS400 Wireless Belt-Pack Instrument System sets new standards for wireless instrument systems. Its flat frequency response, low distortion, and compandor-free operation provides the closest thing to using a high-quality, short instrument cable.

About Lectrosonics
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theater technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.