Thursday, October 30, 2008

Moving day

We made a decision to move our FOH console to the other side of our booth in the main auditorium a couple weeks ago. The decision was based on our observance that several of our regular audio mixers were running the top end a bit on the harsh side. We have determined that there must be a high frequency drop out right at the FOH position. It just happens that the other side of the both is right in front of a delay box that sounds good. By moving the console to the other side of the booth, our operators are in the direct line of a speaker that is tuned correctly. The hope is that we will get a better mix. Damon and I did a good bit of planning and got all the things we needed to make it happen.

The move was a rather daunting task. It took 3 people most of a day to move the console and connect all the new snake extension lines. We also moved one rack full of outboard gear, compressors and EFX to a new rack that sits next to the console. All the playback devices and wireless receivers are staying put. We rarely use them for a service anyway and we have a wired remote attached to the CD player that works at the new console position so if needed we can still start a CD playback. I actually like the new position a lot more than the old one just from a line of sight stand point. It just feels better. Even when we redo the system I think we will leave the console in that position.

It has been known for a while that we are in desperate need to replaced our old speakers. We have been working with our friends at Clark ProMedia on a plan to upgrade, but as you can imagine it is very expensive and since we were forced to replace all our wireless gear recently, its going to be after the first of the year before we can make any significant move on the new system.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh the troubles we've seen...

The install of our new wireless systems is proceeding with a bit of a speed bump along the way. The 3732 systems are working very well with no RF interference. The new IEM systems have been another story. The frequency sweep done by Sennheiser a couple of months ago seems to not be accurate anymore. All of our IEM systems are in the B band, which is 626 – 662 Mhz. Sennheiser assigned all of our IEM systems based on open channels in that range. Since some of those are no longer available and we didn’t know they were gone, we got ourselves into a big mess.

It appears that at least one if not two TV stations have come online since the sweep was originally done. The almost square waves you see are TV broadcasts. We were told to use some of those frequencies for our systems. Bad idea as you might imagine. At the time we did not have access to the data you see in the picture. We knew we had problems and only survived the weekend because of the helical antennae and strong output from our IEM transmitters. Even with those, our worship team had RF dropouts. Without knowing where to move frequencies, it was just a complete guessing game.

We contacted Sennheiser who let us borrow the NET1 interface. The NET1 allows you to attach almost any Sennheiser receiver and do a frequency sweep using the available range of the receiver attached. The NET1 system in built into the 3732 boxes we have but not the 300 series IEM. Since they are in different bands we had no way to see what was happening. Once we did see the data it was a shock to us to see how little space is available. We managed to get all our systems in the open spots but have no margin left. We are going to purchase a NET1 box so we can continue to monitor all the systems across all our campuses. There is a new band being released by Sennheiser called the G band which will live between what is currently A and B bands for them. We are planning to exchange a few of the IEM systems we have for the new band in hopes of opening up more space for us in the future. We just have to pray no one decides to put up another TV channel in the 650Mhz range.