Winners of 2014 Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition Announced

Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition

The 12th Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition concluded on July 12th following a close finish in the Petit Théâtre at Montreux Palace, Switzerland, during the shure montreux jazz competitionmiddle weekend of internationally renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. As ever, there were excellent performances by all three finalists, but in the end, after much debate steered by the 2014 leader of the competition jury Sweet Georgia Brown, 20-year-old Alita Moses from Connecticut, USA was announced as the 2014 winner of the competition’s first prize, following compelling renditions of Miles Davis’s ‘Four’, Gershwin’s ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ and Magda Giannikou’s ‘Amour T’es Lá?’.

Laura Perrudin and Myriam Bouk Moun, both from France, won the second and third prizes respectively. This year’s contest was notable for its collaborative atmosphere: at one point during rehearsals for the semi-finals, the nine supposed competitors broke into a spontaneously improvised circle song, to the delight of everyone watching. Check out the Videos featuring highlights of all of the performances from the three finalists and semi-finalists:

Established to nurture and promote talented young singers from all around the world through its close connection with the internationally renowned annual Montreux Jazz Festival, the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition has been sponsored since its foundation by microphone manufacturer Shure. Like previous winners of the competition, all three of the 2014 finalists will take home Shure products of their choice to a total value of 2000 Euros, along with other prizes.

Visite the Shure Montreux Jazz Competition Blog for more information and impressions of the competition.

3 Alternative Guitar Mics to the SM57

The Shure SM57 is quite possibly the most popular and widely used microphone to record electric guitars. The frequency response and presence peak help to cut through a mix, while the high SPL handling makes it ideal for loud sound sources such as guitar amps. Great for most applications, granted, but good quality sound is extremely subjective, and there are plenty of occasions that call for something different.

When choosing and mic, you should consider the bigger picture and the desired end result. This might involve trying a number of microphones before you find the one that works best for your application. Here are 3 alternatives to consider:

SM7b – Large Diaphragm Dynamic

For the development of the SM7, Shure engineers were given the SM57 cartridge elements (Unidyne III) and asked, without restrictions on size or cost to essentially make it better. Very subjective perhaps, but thanks to its large diaphragm design and bigger housing, the SM7 has a wider frequency response; particularly in the lower frequency ranges. The optional presence peak or low cut filtering also allow greater control over frequency response, allowing you to tweak the mic to suit different guitar or amplifier combinations. If you like the SM57, but would welcome greater creative control over low and high frequency response, the SM7b could be the mic for you. (Click here for more information on what makes the SM7b different to the SM57)

The SM7b is available from authorised Shure dealers in Belgium and The Netherlands

Beta27 – Large Diaphragm Condenser

The Beta27 is a truly versatile and unique microphone. It is the only side-address supercardioid condenser microphone available on the market, and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Including, but not limited to electric & acoustic guitar. The Beta27 has superior transient response thanks to its ultra-thin diaphragm. If you’re looking for a brighter, more detailed sound the Beta27 delivers, without being overbearing.

Additional advantages include greater control thanks to a 3-position switchable low-frequency filter, which helps reduce unwanted background noise or counteract the proximity effect. The -15 db switch-able attenuator also helps to handle extremely high SPLs – essential when recording electric guitar amps.

The Beta27 is available from select Shure Dealers in Belgium and The Netherlands

Beta27

KSM313 – Ribbon Mic

Ribbon mic’s belong to the dynamic family. However, they have an electrically conductive diaphragm, which moves directly in the magnetic field. By losing the voice coil, you reduce mass and allow the diaphragm to move faster. This produces a microphone with wider frequency response in comparison to regular dynamic microphones. Ribbon microphones have a smoother high end compared with condenser microphones, and are often described as having a warm and full sound. If you’re looking for a fuller and brighter sound than a dynamic, but also prefer a warmer sound than condenser mics, ribbon mics could be the best option.

Where Ribbon mics traditionally fall down, is high SPL handling and durability. A loud sound source alone could be enough to damage the mic. This is not the case with Shure Roswellite™ Ribbon Technology, which replaces traditional foil ribbons with a high tensile strength, toughness, and shape memory. This ultimately results in superior resilience at extreme SPLs.

Voiced for guitar and vocals

The KSM313 has an additional advantage through dual-voice tuning. One side of the mic is warm and full for amplifiers, the other is designed for bright and flattering vocal response. If you’re a singer and guitar player, or just want a microphone than can handle both applications – the KSM313 delivers.

Available from select Shure Dealers in Belgium and The Netherlands 

KSM313

 

Using a professional microphone with a laptop?

If you want to use a professional microphone (like the SM58) with a laptop you may encounter various challenges. Laptops or rather their on board sound cards (external sound cards in fact have a microphone input) – feature a 3,5 mm stereo jack.
So the first challenge is to find the right cable. The microphone’s XLR connection needs to be adapted to the stereo jack.

SM-X2u-58-57-Bundle-Laptop_HR1-Headphone-Update_opti-Web

If this challenge is solved (you often need a soldering iron, because even in a specialist shop it is hard to find the right cable and also the SHURE RP325 adapter cable is not always available in stores) you need to make the next decision: the signal is too low or with too much contact noise. This is up to the sound card’s low input sensitivity. The microphone’s signal is too low and therefore needs to be calculated even higher in the software. This causes even more acoustic noise.

Conclusion: A direct connection is possible, but with heavy sound quality cutbacks.

Our solutions:

  • 1) You can strengthen the signal by 12 dB with a passive transformer like the Shure A96F. But the microphone gets stressed with a low-ohm connection – this influences the sound quality. Therefore you should use this solution just as a “quick and dirty” solution – especially in situations when you don’t have a plug socket around.
  • 2) You can strengthen the signal with a small mixing desk to Line level and then use the soundcard’s Line-in. Here you need an adapter cable too, to get from XLR to 3,5 mm stereo jack. This way the signal can be delivered on an adequate level.
  • 3) You could connect a USB microphone direct with the laptop’s USB port.
    The advantage: The analog-digital conversion takes place in the microphone. This way you can achieve a higher sound quality then with some on board sound cards.
    The disadvantage: The AD converter is inside the microphone. If you want to buy another microphone you need to pay for a new converter, too.
    That’s why you can buy some microphones as all-round microphones, which can be used universally like the Shure PG27USB.
    There is also a model available for especially for speech and voice-over applications, the PG42USB ideal for podcasting too.
  • 4) Use a high quality sound card: You can find them in different types with different prices. If you have something like a small home studio you should use a multi-channel soundcard.

View the product pages of these microphones on our website.
TIP: check out consumer reviews under the review tab.

Visit our website for more information About home recording: Studio & Home Recording (Dutch)

 

Shure SRH1540 vs SRH940

SRH1540 vs. SRH940Recently, Shure released the new SRH1540 premium closed back headphones.
The new model complements our existing closed back range, which includes: SRH240A, SRH440, SRH840, & the SRH940. However, from a price perspective, they’re actually on par with our premium SRH1840 open back model; making them the new top dog closed back model, which might lead you to ask what makes them different from SRH940′s…

Which is the best headphone for you?

As always, the answer to this question depends on what you want to achieve – combined with an element of personal taste. It’s less of a question of ‘which is better’ and more a case of which application you’ll be using them for. In short, the SRH940′s are reference studio headphones, whereas the SRH1540′s are a premium closed back design. So what does this mean?

Essentially, the biggest difference is the sound signature. For the SRH940, the sound is flat, which basically means the sound is not coloured or biased. Hence, they’re referred to as reference models (they reproduce your mix as accurately as possible). The SRH1540 on the other hand actually accentuate certain aspects of your music or mix. Their speaker design drives warm bass and detailed, extended highs. If you’re an audiophile and this is your thing, you’ll no doubt welcome the extra detail and energy. However, if it’s accuracy you’re looking for, the SRH940 is still the best choice as it’s generally advised to have at least one good pair of flat, accurate, studio reference headphones when checking your mix.

Design & Comfort

At Shure we pride ourselves on great design, and the SRH1540 is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever made. The headband is extremely ergonomic and lightweight, which when combined with the ultrasoft Alcantara® earpads makes it a pleasurable listening experience (just another factor in their appeal to audiophiles, where many hours of wear calls for greater comfort).

Conclusion

The frequency response delivered by SRH1540′s makes for a great listening experience and they’re some of the most comfortable headphones you’ll wear. However, despite the cheaper price point, the SRH940′s are still the most accurate model on offer. To summarise, it’s likely you’ll prefer the 940 in your studio, and the 1540 for your Hi-Fi.

Features and more detail available on our website:
BE-FR SRH940 & SRH1540
NL SRH940 & SRH1540

Alternatively, you can try them for yourself at one of our Authorised Shure Dealers:
Dealers in Belgium & Luxembourg
Dealers in the Netherlands

QLX-D Digital Wireless System

Shure recently introduced QLX-D, the latest in digital wireless microphone systems. But with so many other wireless systems on the market, what makes the new Shure system special?

Put simply, the new Shure QLX-D wireless system uses the same technology as higher end Shure digital wireless systems in a more affordable package with a streamlined feature set. However, before we understand the importance of this, we first need to take a step back….

All roads lead on from Axient

During a time of great uncertainty for the RF spectrum, with an increasingly crowded environment, and greater pressure from mobile phone companies to allocate more and more space for high speed mobile internet, Shure introduced Axient Wireless.

In a nutshell, Axient delivers a dramatic new threshold of control and confidence in RF applications with zero tolerance for failure. This is achieved through advanced features, such as: spectrum management, interference detection and avoidance, and advanced power management. With the future of the RF spectrum remaining uncertain, such features are essential for mission critical wireless applications, where interference is simply not an option.

Recognising the importance of Axient’s feature-set in delivering a future proof wireless solution, Shure have set upon (wherever possible) bringing the same advanced technology to their entire wireless product range – starting with ULX-D in the professional range, and now with QLX-D, the entry into pro quality.

QLX-D

Shure QLX-D – Incredibly Efficient Wireless

QLX-D packs in a lot of sophistication and delivers incredible wireless audio performance. It has outstanding spectrum efficiency and frequency bands covering up to 72 MHz, allowing QLX-D users to operate more channels on-air than with any other wireless system in its class!

Other key features include:

  • An all-metal construction, built to match demanding environments.
  • AES-256 encryption as standard, which can be enabled for secure wireless transmission.
  • Intelligent lithium-ion rechargeable power options. Providing up to ten hours of continuous use and reporting remaining runtime in hours and minutes.

For more information on what makes QLX-D a leader in its class and why Shure are leading the Digital Wireless Revolution, watch the video overview below or visit the QLX-D overview page on shure.be or shure.nl.

Wired vs Wireless for Guitar, which sounds the best?

The subject of wired vs wireless for guitar is a much debated topic. Opinions vary on how both setups can affect your tone, but the issue is really more about application and signal flow. In this post we’ll cover the basics of good practice for each setup, and draw a conclusion for you to consider based on your requirements.

wired-vs-wireless-guitar

What makes a good wired guitar setup?

Anything that stands between your guitar and the amplifier will affect the final result. Therefore, it’s essential to invest into good quality cables. The following are some key points to consider:

Screening

If you’ve ever purchased or used a very cheap guitar cable, you’ll likely be familiar with the unwanted noise and buzzing typical of inferior cables with poor shielding. Good quality cables will keep noise to a minimum by shielding the conductor from electrical interference, usually with a metal shield, insulation, and a plastic jacket.

Note: No matter how good your shielding is, all guitar cables are unbalanced, meaning they use only one conductor and do not cancel out interference at the other end of the cable. Therefore, it is good practice to keep cables away from any potential source of interference, such as: power supplies, radios etc.

Capacitance

Capacitance is essentially the cables ability to store an electrical charge. For high impedance sources (such as passive guitars and basses), lower capacitance results in better frequency response. The cable length is also important because it is directly related to capacitance. Longer cables have a higher capacitance and signal loss over distance. Keep cable lengths to a minimum for the best results.

Connectors

As previously mentioned, anything that stands between you and your amplifier will affect sound quality. Connectors are no different. Some higher end cable manufacturers (such as Monster) use gold plating to help improve connectivity. They also have the added advantage of helping to prevent corrosion.

what-makes-good-guitar-cabl

What makes a good wireless guitar setup?

Just like wired, what happens to your wireless signal on the way from pick-up to amplifier will have an impact. Therefore, it is crucial to invest in a good quality wireless system to protect your precious guitar tone. The following are some frequently asked questions from new wireless users:

Will it colour my tone?

Possibly. Analogue wireless systems need to compress the dynamic range of the audio before it can be carried on a radio wave. It is compressed in the transmitter and expanded in the receiver – this process is known as “companding”. Budget analogue wireless systems may have a compander with a fixed ratio and this can make your sound unnatural. Better quality analogue systems have more natural sounding companders and make it much harder to tell the difference between wired and wireless sounds. Nevertheless, an analogue system can never completely recover perfectly the original audio signal.

Digital systems do not need a compander. With a digital system, the first thing your audio signal hits is an analogue to digital (A to D) convertor. This process preserves the full dynamic range of the input signal. The bit stream of 1s and 0s is transmitted to the receiver and is reconstructed by a digital to analogue convertor (D to A) to reform the original audio signal. Providing the units’ AD/DA converters are of a high quality, this gives a completely natural sound and means that your original tone is maintained.

Do I need a license?

Maybe. Most analogue systems operate in the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) spectrum. These systems may require a license, depending on which region you are in, and the frequency range that you are operating in. Digital systems, such as Shure’s GLX-D all operate in the 2.4GHz band and do not require a license.

wired-vs-wireless-guitar

The bottom line

The question of wired vs wireless and which sounds best is somewhat redundant. Essentially, providing you invest into high quality gear, both setups will deliver professional results. A good quality wired set-up is relatively cost effective. A wireless system on the other hand, does require some further investment to retain the same signal quality. It can be tempting to buy a cheap wireless system as a compromise – not a good idea if you want your live shows to sound great.

Cheaper wireless systems with low quality companders or unreliable RF performance, will only prove to be a false economy in the bigger scheme of things. After all, what is the use of going wireless if your rig no longer sounds like your guitar?

PlayforLA – Win a Shure GLXD16 Wireless (The guitar player’s Swiss army knife) & More..

At the time of writing, we’re offering guitar players the chance to win a wireless system that sounds like your wired setup. The Shure (GLXD16) Beta Digital Wireless Pedal System, delivers great “bang for your buck” and could be described as a kind of Swiss army knife or secret weapon for guitar players.

For more information about PlayforLA – Visit the competition page (Belgium) / (The Netherlandsand yes, you guessed it right, there’s also a fantastic trip to LA California on offer.

Fingertrap Rocks Montreux

They did not only bring their good mood, but also the weather with them from Wales. Despite the pouring rain the 4 guys from Fingertrap, winners of the Shure “Call for legends” band contest, rocked the “Music in the Park” stage in Montreux.

“Our performance went aweseom. Shure treated us like kings this weekend.” 

After their Nightliner ride from Paris, a boat trip on the Lake Geneva, a backstage tour at the Montreux Jazz Festival and a giant gig, followed by a backstage party, they are already on their way back home.

Rock’n’roll lifestyle at its best!