Wisycom makes inroads into the live touring circuit

Regularly appearing on the tour riders of some of the world’s biggest artists, Wisycom is quickly becoming a mainstay of the live events industry. TPi checks in with the Italian company to learn why its wireless solutions are becoming so popular in the live sector.

What do Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Gorillaz and Cirque du Soleil all have in common? This isn’t the set-up to some dreadful joke… the answer is that all have selected Wisycom’s wireless IEM solution on their tour riders in recent years. Supported by a 30-year history in the film and broadcast industry, the company is increasing its presence into the world of live events, with many artists now donning a Wisycom belt-pack to receive their IEM mix.

Speaking from Wisycom’s Italian HQ, Sales Director, Marika Stangherlin shared the story of the company’s move into the sector. 

“We have enjoyed being one of the leading RF equipment suppliers within the broadcast TV and film world for some time but we’re now receiving a huge interest from the producers of live events,” she explained. 

“We are already very used to working with the demands of large arenas across the globe. A fine example is Formula 1 and Moto GP racing where our products’ ability to reliably work in remote areas all over the world is a huge asset.” 

There is a clear focus within Wisycom to develop premium RF products utilising latest design technology mated with the most advanced software. Everything is produced in Wisycom’s own facilities in Italy. Stangherlin explained that the company’s goal is equipment firmly aimed toward high-end users. “We’re not distracted by the mass consumer market,” she stated. “This has allowed us to work closely with our new live market partners continually adding hardware and firmware changes to meet their exact needs and requirements.”

While Wisycom has a higher price point than some of its competitors, there are some key differences that appear to justify the cost. One of the major selling points that has garnered the interest of many within the live events field is Wisycom’s broad tuning range. With many tours likely to pass through multiple continents – all of which have very different spectrum availability – Wisycom’s wide tuning capability reduces the number of required units significantly. 

“The ability to take a single rig on tour that can be deployed virtually anywhere in the world is certainly a massive commercial advantage of our system,” enthused Stangherlin.  

The company’s IEM product range includes a True Diversity receiver pack, the MPR50-IEM, essential for maintaining robust RF signals in the harshest environments and Wisycom’s own ENS compander firmware, specifically developed for the live market, to provide accurate rich audio. Both features have been warmly embraced by performing artists and monitor engineers alike. 

The Wisycom IEM package has recently taken a stride forward through the introduction of a new dual channel transmitter, the MTK982, which boasts a huge number of impressive features. The system’s end-to-end performance is further enhanced with complementing products such as the CSi16T passive IEM combiner and superb LNN2 log periodic antennas.

“It is also worth mentioning that if required our products are compatible with a number of other brands, meaning they can work alongside equipment that the artist may already be using,” added Stangherlin, while talking about how Wisycom’s equipment can be incorporated into tour riders. In 2019, Madonna’s crew toured with Wisycom IEM transmitters, paired with existing Sennheiser 2000 Series beltpacks as they were the form factor the artist knew and liked; however the band were all on Wisycom MPR50 IEM packs.

With Wisycom already working with several big name acts, TPi asked Stangherlin whether the company might look at working with a broader range of artists. Her response? “An interesting question, we are fiercely defensive of our design ethics, high quality and amazing performance always comes first,” she continued. “However, we must not completely ignore artists working with different budgets.”

One long-time user of Wisycom products is Ali Viles of Mission Control, who was featured in the previous edition of TPi where he spoke about dealing with the RF delivery for Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres Tour. For that project, the band and crew were all on MPR50-IEM packs, utilising MTK952 transmitters and Wisycom’s MFL RF-over-fibre system to deliver seamless stadium-wide coverage for all users. “I first used Wisycom products during the filming of a music video for Coldplay’s Hymn for the Weekend,” reminisced Viles. 

“We were shooting in Mumbai. The band were all wearing IEMs for the shoot so that no one heard what at that time was an unreleased track, and I needed a battery-powered, high ERP, IEM transmitter with a wide tuning range that could transmit the musical content to them. I carried one MTK952 transmitter powered via its DC option in a backpack, along with a couple of spare batteries, and was able to walk freely around the streets of Mumbai, following the band and the film crew.” 

Viles explored the use of Wisycom products further while working on a South American tour with British band Gorillaz, where he was able to make full use of the system’s frequency agility as the tour moved between festival sites and countries in South America.

Viles explains how the broad tuning range offered by Wisycom’s products has become incredibly beneficial for modern live events. 

“Part of Mission Control’s offering to the market is that we hold a substantial database of current spectrum availability and regulatory information for a huge range of countries around the world,” stated Viles. “In recent years, the available spectrum for radio microphones and IEMs has decreased significantly while becoming much more congested, so having products with a broad tuning range is essential when working on large format global tours.”

With Wisycom becoming more of a popular choice for audio teams working in live events, more rental houses have begun to stock the solution. “It has been a gradual build, but we now have many of the big rental outfits stocking the system after they realised the level of performance and audio quality of our products,” stated Stangherlin, adding that the company is undergoing a large growth period. “We’re in the midst of hiring a lot more people and also excited to be announcing some new products in the near future.” 

Words: Stew Hulme

Photo: Wisycom