“I rely upon Lectrosonics because I feel they simply make the best wireless. And I’ve been doing this for 40 years.”
Portland, OR (December 19, 2023) — The Singing Christmas Tree is a holiday highlight of Portland, Oregon. Featuring a live Nativity, a segment dedicated to Santa and his elves, and a choir, the vast musical stage production brings the community together in celebration. Now in its 61st year, the Singing Christmas Tree relies on Clarity Media Group for sound reinforcement. In turn, Clarity depends on its M2 Duet digital wireless system from Lectrosonics to provide the performers with great-sounding and flawlessly reliable in-ear monitoring. Clarity co-owners Ben Strizu and Travis Cibolski, as well as Pacific Northwest rep Tom Akoury of Plus 4 Marketing, detail their pairing of M2T dual-stereo transmitters with M2Ra body-worn receivers to help talent give their best performances for this storied Portland tradition.
“I’m a front-of-house guy when I do shows. I’ve tried just about every manufacturer of wireless on the market,” begins Tom Akoury. “And I’ve used Lectrosonics wireless mic and IFB systems on the broadcast side for years. All that good stuff from broadcast came over onto the live performance side: the reliability, the audio quality, the performance in challenging RF situations. Ben and Travis had been getting asked about in-ear monitoring systems, and frankly Lectrosonics is the best wireless I’ve ever seen in this application.”
Clarity has engineered the show in past years, but 2023 has been their first time using Lectrosonics. Both the audio crew and the performers could not be happier. “We have six M2Ra packs on singers, plus one for the band director, plus another for me because I’m the monitor engineer,” says Strizu. “You really notice the lack of noise floor!”
“It’s crazy to me that something battery-powered could be that quiet,” adds Cibolski. “We used a different brand of wireless IEMs on this same production last year, and compared to them, the response to Lectrosonics has been incredibly positive. Everyone is a big fan of them. The cast members feel more immersed in their performances even though they might not describe it in audio engineer terms.”
Next to audio quality, range and tenacity in a crowded RF environment are tied for a close second among Clarity’s priorities. “If you get far enough away from the transmitters, a receiver can pick up sources you don’t want,” explains Cibolski “We had run into that with other gear. I’ve had no issues with Lectrosonics, by contrast. I have to try to get them to drop out, which is cool. Before the show opened, I went out into the parking lot. I had to get very far away before they dropped out, and I was only running them at 25 milliwatts [of transmitter output power].”
“We also used the M2 system at a concert over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta and had a similar performance at only 25 milliwatts,” confirms Strizu. “We looked at our scanner and there was RF just everywhere, stepping all over everything. The Lectros didn’t miss a beat.”
Beyond performance under pressure, the M2 Duet system’s Flex List is Clarity’s favorite convenience feature, as detailed by Cibolski: “Flex List can name, store, and recall frequencies. Each frequency carries one stereo pair, so I name them all in [Lectrosonics] Wireless Designer software, then with a mouse click I upload that to a pack. Right on the pack, we can flip through the frequencies and hear the separate mixes for anyone onstage.”
Regional product rep Akoury points to the people behind the gear as a major reason he recommends Lectrosonics to installers and show production companies such as Clarity.
“We’ve talked about the technical and performance aspects of the gear so let’s not forget customer service. Having the company right in New Mexico, USA is fantastic,” adds Akoury. “If a customer has a problem, Lectro can help them quickly. Whether it's shipping a new unit out that day so the show can go on, or getting a unit repaired and returned in a short amount of time. That’s a big difference from needing to send a unit overseas to be repaired. And when you’re buying something new, it’s not going to take a year to get it — it’s pretty much available off the shelf.
“I rely upon Lectrosonics because I feel they simply make the best wireless,” he adds. “And I’ve been doing this for 40 years.”
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theatre 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 received an Academy Scientific and Technical Award for its Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology and is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
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