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Heavy-duty Audio Upgrade at Eisemann Center, Part 1

Feb 9, 2011 11:56 AM, with Bennett Liles

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Well that should help you out a lot when it comes to a rapid response in fine tuning for the different acts…

But for the regular performances in the Eisemann Center Presents series I guess you’ve probably got a specific setup on amps and EQ and stage monitoring and so forth so it’s pretty easy going on those.
Virgil: We have, yeah, we have a galleria so Valerie’s created snapshots where we can bring up more frequently used scenarios and just recall the snapshots for a specific show operator and say, “Here’s what we primarily…the starting point for this PA configuration,” or with or without pit fills—that kind of thing. And then in the 395-seat Bank of America theater we had a similar type of long lecture PA but we needed more of a dance, music and not as much concert but more dynamically friendly PA and we also needed to focus on intelligibility there—we had some intelligibility problems in that room with the original PA. So QSC ILA line array was within our budget means and fit the needs of the room so that…we installed that and we’ve greatly increased coverage and intelligibility in that room. [Timestamp: 7:12]

And I guess one of the main things that gets used by all of the acts is the wireless mic system. So what was the situation on that before the upgrade? What sort of a system did you have in place for the wireless mics?
Valerie: All of our venues have equipment operating in both the 500 and 700 frequency ranges. [Timestamp: 7:29]

And what did you do as far as an upgrade on the wireless system?
Valerie: We decided to go with Lectrosonics digital hybrid wireless system because of the broad spectrum of available frequencies. With minimal equipment purchases in the future should we find ourselves having to select other ranges of operating frequencies any future adjustment in frequencies only would require the purchase of individual modules that easily plug into the rack mounted receivers. [Timestamp: 7:56]

OK the Lectrosonics and obviously there’s some advantages in going with a digital hybrid system like the one Lectrosonics has but it seems like the main problem you had with the previous system was the fact that it was 700MHz and you had to go somewhere.
Virgil: Correct, yeah we needed to get out of that band range so we had to do something and the 1,600-seat Hill Hall being our primary large hall we wanted to outfit that one first with…because of monetary means that was the one to tackle first so we went with the Lectrosonics brand. Like Valerie said, we were real happy with it fitting in with some of the leftover, if you will that we still had and we could integrate that all as one frequency plot, one workable frequency plot amongst both product lines. [Timestamp: 8:43]

And of course it was probably belt packs and hand held’s to pretty much handle anything that comes in.
Valerie: Yes, we selected the UT UT super cardioid for the handheld microphones and then the LMa beltpack transmitter which has a 50 mW RF output along with an M152-Omnidirectional mic element. For the rack-mounted receivers we selected VRM WV which is the wideband modular receiver which covers about a 230 MHz range and then the VRS standard module blocks which have a fixed bandwidth and are well suited to all but the most congested RF environments. [Timestamp: 9:24]

All right, so the grant got you a whole new wireless mic system to deal with performance schedule. What was the timeline on getting all that system up and tuned in and ready to go?
Virgil: Well it was pretty tight, the FCC kept the their deadline rolling so to speak and eventually made that drop dead date and luckily for us we had the TI grant money gifted to us at about the right time to where we just had to go through our city purchasing guidelines to purchase the equipment in the timeframe and then once we got it in our hands Valerie and I spent about a week, I guess it was, installing it. Luckily again, scheduling wise our first client…we got the equipment on a Monday from Lectrosonics and I think we had to have it up and running by that Friday so it was pretty tight but we actually had plenty of time to play with it even before the client came in. It was really fairly simple to set up. You just plugged in, hooked up the antennas and set the two pots on the transmitter to the right coded frequencies and then good to go. [Timestamp: 10:32]

Well it sounds like everything worked out OK and we’ll be talking more about the antenna system in the RF environment in Part Two but I want to thank you both—assistant tech manager Virgil Justice and audio technician Valerie Clark from the Eisemann Center for being here with us on the SVC podcast and we’ll see you again in Part Two.

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