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Heavy-duty Audio Upgrade at Eisemann Center, Part 2

Feb 23, 2011 2:23 PM, with Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

With a grant from Texas Instruments the Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas got a tech make-over that allows the venue to handle top name performers and a heavy local schedule. Virgil Justice and Valerie Clark are here to wrap up their talk about the upgrades that have taken the center into the big leagues. That’s coming up next on the SVC podcast.
All right, Virgil Justice and Valerie Clark from the Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas welcome back for Part Two on the SVC podcast.

Virgil: Thank you.

We were talking before about the Lectrosonics wireless mic system that you put in with the grant from Texas Instruments. You’ve got all these regular performances as part of the Eisemann Center Presents Series but then you’ve also got a lot of big acts coming in sometimes on fairly short notice. You’ve got a wireless mic system now with a lot of capability. How active an RF environment do you have in the neighborhood around the Eisemann Center?
Valerie: Well, we’re in what is known as a telecom corridor, many telecom and communication companies' corporate headquarters and technical facilities moved into the area in the 1980’s and 90’s. Texas Instruments, for example, is just down the road. So that being said, we were built with RF traffic in mind somewhat because it was a mission from the beginning to put a technological performing arts venue amongst top IT and telecom company neighbors. The answer was concrete—we’re fortified with 18in. concrete walls in each venue and there are hallways and rooms around the perimeter of the building that are encased in more than 18in. wall concrete. RF traffic has actually decreased for us since we opened. Many of the telecom industry leaders that were around us initially have moved and now we have neighbors like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bank of America, Samsung—to name a few. But we are suburb of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, the 5th largest TV and radio market in the US so there is RF everywhere all the time. [Timestamp: 2:23]

Well it sounds like you sure got the potential for RF issues to come up in that area. How did Lectrosonics help out with the frequency coordination?
Virgil: One big goal we had was for all three of our venues in our building to frequency coordinate amongst the three of the them so if we did have interference on a show or rehearsal or something we could at least start with a good trouble shooting point of knowing that it was probably coming from an outside source not a conflict from within our own three rooms. So that we wanted to weed out from the project goal starting point and the Hill Hall being the Lectrosonic system turned out to have the greatest flexibility for us with the plug in modules. We didn’t want to limit our future expansion by purchasing a product that would only fit with our older equipment that would eventually be phased out. So with the plug in modules even if we have to later change frequency bands for the Lectrosonics it’s a fairly minimal cost to us. [Timestamp: 3:18]

And in Part One we were talking about all of the different performing acts that you have come through there and sometimes needing a lot of wireless microphones to accommodate those performers. How did you work out the RF assignments between the old equipment and the new gear?
Virgil: Well Carl Winkler at Lectrosonics helped us out with the original frequency plot and we provided some of the…we provided the names, makes and models of the equipment we already had that we were phasing into some of the…to the other rooms and of course he knew the Lectrosonics equipment that were implementing in the Hill and he helped us create the original frequency plot that would work between all three rooms and so our internal policy stand point is we just keep those rooms on those frequencies and when an act comes in we offer them working frequencies that we already know from time and the FCC coordination work well within our area. So it’s worked out really well for us thus far. [Timestamp: 4:17]

Where did you decide to locate the receivers on the mic system?
Valerie: For the Lectrosonics both receivers are located at our FOH mixing position which is basically located on the middle aisle of the audience floor and slightly off to the house left side. [Timestamp: 4:31]

OK. What about the antennaes?
Valerie: One antenna is located at the FOH position pointed directly at the stage. The other one is mounted on the wall backstage at stage right. [Timestamp: 4:42]

OK. Did you have to shift the position of those around to tweak the system in or did it pretty much go as you planned from the beginning?
Valerie: It pretty much went as we thought it would. We haven’t had to move them. The antenna at FOH allows us to have an unobstructed receiving antenna within line of sight when the orchestra shell is in as well as the corporate events we have that have audience Q and A or a wandering interviewer within the house. Coverage from stage to every house aisle entrance including the four entrances to the mezzanine is very good with no RF dropouts. [Timestamp: 5:15]

All right and that’s a coax line. What was the model on that, the ALP500? It’s a LPDA antenna.
Virgil: Correct, yeah. We use RGA going from the antennas to the receiver. [Timestamp: 5:28]

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