Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wireless Issues

** Begin sound nerd speak **
Over the past couple of years the FCC has been selling off some of the more popular wireless mic/IEM frequencies. Despite significant efforts by several large manufacturers, Shure, AKG, etc., the FCC is taking ownership of the 698Mhz - 804Mhz band. As you know for many of the UHF wireless systems sold over the past 10 years fall into this area. There is a possibility that right now you could experience some interference, I know I have, and more importantly, as of Febuary 2009, it will be ILLEGAL to operate unlicensed wireless systems in that frequency range. What does all this really mean?

You will need to replace all your wireless systems that operate in that range. While you may not have interference problems, the legalities should cause you concern. It might end up being a nice chunk of change but start now putting aside money, go to the money person at your facility this week and make them aware of this issue and how it affects what you are doing and some idea of the cost to replace them.

I have spent the last 2 years preparing my leadership for the event since we have 8 channels of Shure UHF systems in our main worship center, the U4 series to be exact. Nearly all new system that have been purchased since I came here are outside the coming closed frequency range. Last year I purchased a dual receiver Shure UHF-R system to upgrade our main 2 worship leaders microphones, both with Beta 87 capsules. It was a major difference in sound quality and I knew I needed to change the rest of the systems as soon as I could both for the quality upgrade and to get everything out of the restricted range.

Recently I purchased 3 more dual receiver UHF-R systems with one beltpack for our pastor, 4 of the Beta 87s and one of the KSM9 mics. I am so impressed with the KSM9 I really wish I could have more of them. The sound is so warm and smooth, way more natural sounding than the Beta 87s, which as I mentioned were an big jump from the previous U4 systems with 87s. The KSM9 doesn't have the harsh 2.5K like the 87 does. Don't get me wrong I still like the 87s in general but the KSM9 is a significant step up. One that is well worth it for a main worship leader for sure. It also doesn't have as much of a proximity effect, which greatly reduces the amount of EQ and compression that are typicaly used. Can I justify changing a couple of the other capsules? Right now I doubt I can but perhaps in time I can get another one or 2.

** End Nerd Speak **
These systems are expensive, but considering that the message is the main thing, whether by song or spoken word, I consider it well worth the money. People in general may not know the details of why something sounds good but they do notice. Part of my job is to help create an environment where people can her what God has for them. It means the enviornment has to be free of distractions and something that is culturally normal for people. Technology that can help do that is vital to the mission of the church.

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