Brian Crabb with his rack of MIPRO equipment. Nashville (August 7, 2007)–Nashville is home to Gibson Guitar Corporation; in addition to its factory tours and retail showroom, the company also operates the Gibson Showcases, which are live entertainment venues. At the Gibson Showcase in Nashville, live music is a regular event, and the showcase recently upgraded its facilities to include wireless technology from MIPRO.
Riverside, CA-based Thunder Sound & Lighting was contracted to overhaul the facility’s audio system. Thunder installed a sizeable MIPRO wireless setup, supplemented with an assortment of cabled microphones from Superlux. Both brands are distributed in the United States by Avlex Corporation of Kansas City, MO.
According to Thunder’s owner, Brian Brado Crabb, “This facility is a retail store for all Gibson products as well as a manufacturing site for the company’s mandolins, dobros, and banjos. The site also encompasses a 400-seat showcase theater that has live entertainment over 300 nights per year. The showcase handles a wide range of events, from big rock and country shows to private wedding receptions. The house found themselves frequently renting wireless mics, and they were regularly running into RF issues with the equipment.”
To resolve this frustrating situation, Crabb introduced showcase management to a MIPRO ACT-707 UHF True Diversity wireless system. “I came in with MIPRO’s ACT-707,” said Crabb, “and immediately demonstrated the product’s Automatic Channel Targeting PC- controllable receiver system. I showed them that not only did they have 100 preset frequencies to choose from; they could also choose any frequency to zero in on interference free areas in the ACT-707’s UHF band using MIPRO’s ACT707DV software interface. In doing so, they could develop a custom interference free frequency plan they could use for the venue. It was just what they needed.”
After receiving the green light to proceed, Crabb installed two MIPRO ACT-707F quad mainframes, eight ACT-707MC/6A receiver modules, eight ACT-707HM handheld magnesium case microphones, and two ACT-707TM belt pack transmitters with over the ear MU-55HNX microphones. To control the system via the computer, the setup also includes the ACT-707DV combination hardware interface and software. Supplementing the venue’s wireless infrastructure are a number of microphones from the Superlux catalog, including four PRO-238 large diaphragm handheld condenser microphones, four PRO-258 supercardioid dynamic handheld microphones for vocals and guitars, along with a DRK-F5H3 eight-piece drum microphone kit for the drum set.
As is the case in many performance venues, space is always at a premium. Similarly, radio, television, and countless other over-the-air signals pose real challenges for all types of wireless equipment. “We really needed to conserve space on this project,” said Crabb. “With the MIPRO system, we put eight channels of receivers in two rack spaces—so this solved their first hurdle. Secondly, with the ACT-707’s Automatic Channel Targeting capability, we were able to find empty, quiet frequencies to occupy without interference, so this resolved the room’s second challenge. The MIPRO PC-controllable receiver system proved invaluable for this task. Of equal importance, they now have the ability to expand their wireless capability as their requirements evolve.”
Crabb was equally enthusiastic about the performance of the Superlux microphones. “We tried a Superlux PRO-238 on a guitar cabinet and it has been the favorite choice ever since,” states Crabb. “Steve Kimbrough, the house sound guy, placed one out on the floor at the weekly Bluegrass jam and we were all surprised by how well it picked up acoustic instruments like the fiddle, the banjo, and the mandolins. Now, one PRO-238 and one PRO-258 for the vocal is all that’s required for the solo position—even when there are three or four soloists at the same time. Likewise, the DRK drum mic setup is working out well. Steve loves the kick drum mic.”
With the equipment up and running, Crabb reports that everyone at the showcase is happy and was eager to have the closing thoughts come from his client. Steve Kimbrough, FOH Engineer and Production Manager for the Gibson Showcase, offered this closing thought, “Brian’s done a fantastic job with the entire audio system. This is a steel building, so the potential for RF problems are very real. We’re using a lot of wireless equipment, and I’m pleased to report that all of it is working exceptionally well. We’re really pleased.”
Thunder Sound & Lighting