If you work in musical theater, Michael J. Moritz Jr. is either in your speed dial or should be. The Emmy and Tony-award winning Broadway producer, Grammy-nominated musical director, music supervisor, mixer, pianist, and yes — audio expert — calls Broadway home, and it seems quite happy to call him a marquee resident. He is a co-producer for Hadestown earning him a 2019 Tony Award for Best Musical, and most recently before that he won an Emmy for his audio work on From Broadway with Love: A Benefit for Orlando. Other tips of the accolade iceberg include a Tony nomination for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and On The Town, as well as collaborations with such titans of theater as Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bernadette Peters. Equally gifted as muso and techie, he keeps his personal Lectrosonics M2 Duet kit — comprising M2T transmitters and M2R receivers — at arm’s reach. In this interview, he shares use cases including in-ear monitoring, IFB, comms, and talent cueing under conditions where mistakes or delays are not an option.
“I’m usually the showrunner or producer or wearing the musical director hat — or all of them,” says Moritz of his role. But where production personnel that far “above the line” are usually passive customers of the sound department, Moritz is entirely hands-on. “I’m a total tech nerd, and that’s what sparked my interest in Lectrosonics.”
Given the live nature of much of Moritz’s work, the M2 Duet components’ ability to interface seamlessly to the Dante audio-over-Ethernet protocol was one of the first things that got his attention. “I work on a lot of live-switched TV broadcasts,” he explains. “Where [the M2 Duet system] has recently found a home in my production work is, because it has Dante, it can interface directly to anyone’s intercom frames. I patch the M2T units right into Dante, which can then bridge out to Telex or ClearCom or any other type of intercom. And it just works. I also love the density, physically speaking. The fact that you can fit two stereo channels in a half-rack space is amazing.”
RF integrity in the heat of battle is no less important to Moritz, who found his system cued talent with grace under fire at a live Broadway revue in Times Square. “There’s this two-hour live broadcast from Times Square called Curtain Up, he says. “Multiple Broadway casts perform numbers from their shows. It’s a free event open to the plaza, and thousands of people show up. Amber Ruffin and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were the hosts in 2022, and I gave an M2R pack to each of them. Times Square may be the noisiest RF environment on the planet, and Lectro was not the only brand of RF equipment onsite. But we had no problems with our end — no range issues, crosstalk, dropouts, anything like that. We just dumped a trailer into the middle of Times Square, set up audio on a folding table about 100 feet from the stage. No issues.”
As a musician, Moritz understands that musical program material is even more affected by audio quality than dialogue in a movie or TV show. This, he notes, is why he didn’t go digital until digital went Lectrosonics: “What initially kept me away from digital in general was, everything else I had tried as a piano player and singer, I would hear the comb filtering as a result of latency. I grew up in the studio and my ears are very fussy. The quality of Lectrosonics is fantastic; it’s the first digital wireless I find to be truly usable on musical applications. It sounds like an analog system, in the best way. I don’t hear compression artifacts and that’s a first.”
Moritz foresees Lectrosonics making even greater inroads into the musical side of the creative world than it already has. “I’ve always thought of Lectrosonics as an aspirational brand for most, “he recalls. “Similarly to names like Arri, it was something most people outside of film production didn’t know existed. I’m glad to see people pivoting into using them for musical theater, rock concerts, and even recording studio applications, because the audio quality is beyond good enough to do that. But if I were to sum up Lectro in one sentence, it’s time-tested, trusted tech for pros.!”
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. Visit the company online at www.lectrosonics.com.
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