Several years ago, I told the readers of Pro Audio Review about MIPRO wireless microphones, and how their Taiwanese manufacturer (Taiwan’s largest manufacturer of wireless mic and portable PA systems) simply astounded me with the value and quality of its products.
Now, Avlex, MIPRO’s U.S. distributor, has introduced me to a system whereby we can easily take pre-mixed signal and transmit it to an unlimited number of remote speaker systems. Meet the MIPRO MA-909 wireless mixer/remote speaker link.
The MIPRO MA-909 UHF wireless mix system was originally devised for a simple application: mixing a couple of wireless mics and a CD or cassette player, then sending those sources to remote speakers wirelessly. Upon discussion of potential new uses for the MA-909 with Avlex, those of us at Atlantis Audio decided to take this process one step further: sending pre-mixed concert signal to delay speakers for festival gigs.
When doing audio for large-scale outdoor shows, running miles of mic and speaker cable. Sending the signal via wireless means the elimination of several potentially disastrous or even hazardous situations: trip hazards, wires subject to disconnection, ground loops (because of separate power sources), and damage to wires by foot and vehicle traffic.
Used as a wireless mix system, MIPRO’s MA-909 is a system comprised of several components. The actual MA-909 is the mixer module that contains optional two wireless mic modules (the MRM-70 wireless diversity receiver module), one frequency agile wireless transmitter (the MT-90 transmitter module). It features two XLR/TRS inputs; and two, left and right, RCA outputs, for balanced and unbalanced operation. In addition, there is an optional USB port-equipped CD player (CDM-2); paddle antenna system, and interlinking cables. The frequency-agile RF output (MT-90 wireless interlinking transmitter) links via cable to an outboard RF amplifier/splitter (the AD-90S) and the paddles then transmit the wireless signal to the speaker-located receivers. You can have as many receivers (MR-90 wireless interlinking receiver units) as you want on one frequency, allowing for simultaneous broadcast to as many receiving stations — located at as many speaker systems — as you want. The in-board transmitter — as well as the interlinking remote receivers — works with up to 16 UHF channels. The remote receiver can be powered via either battery or AC current.
We recently provided audio, lighting, stage, and concert roof for a Loverboy/.38 Special concert in a baseball stadium. The crowds are mobile at this particular location and wander to various vendors that surround the outfield walls. For that reason, we needed to provide the crowd with sound where the main system wouldn’t reach. Our main system was an eight-perside A-Line Acoustics AL10 line array that offered excellent coverage to the 6,000 people around the baselines (with the stage located at centerfield, facing home plate). We also employed eight per side ALine boxes at the two foul ball poles facing straight down the front row seat walls, thus covering the stands as well as directly into the vendor areas on the walls. At the console, a Midas Legend 3000, we sent signal from Matrix One to the input of a MIPRO MA-909 XLR input, inserting EQ on the output (mono mix to both out fills) of the matrix master. At the out-fill speakers, we had a wireless MRM-70 receiver. It took a few seconds to tune the MT-90 transmitter to the two receivers and then attach the RF amplifier and the antenna paddles. We placed the antenna paddle on the spot towers, located directly behind the FOH mix position, thus giving line-of-sight height to the two receivers. We initially batterypacked the two out-fill receivers.
When we first applied mixed signal from the console (via iPod on setup day), we found the signal to be too hot for the input of the MA-909 mixer. It took a few minutes, but we were able to adjust the output gain from the console to match the input gain to the MA-909. (We called MIPRO and suggested an Input Sensitivity adjustment to the mixer, and they were agreeable to that.) On the other end, at the out-fill speakers, we employed a pair of small Soundcraft mixers, one at each receiver, and used them as gain stages, since the level was too low from the Midas/MA-909 combo. We had no discernable loss of bandwidth with this process. On show day, the resulting audio quality was excellent.
We repeated the process again on an outdoor show with Emerson Drive where we provided identical production, except no out fills. We employed the MIPRO MA-909 system as the actual driveline for one side of the main system, enabling us to compare the RF-driven side of the system with the direct-cable-driven side of the system. We heard no discernable differences in the left (RF-driven) and right (direct-cable) sides. I should also mention that the RF path was exceedingly clean with no hits or dropouts. Signal was perfectly maintained through soundcheck and show.
This MA-909 system is a bevy of parts and modules that, when properly assembled, can yield a great solution. Our only suggestion was the addition of variable Input Sensitivity, and it was well received.
In our use, the MA-909 performed admirably with a very clean RF path. I highly recommend giving this system a try if you have the need or desire to wirelessly remote your speakers.
Will James, chief owner of Atlantis Audio and Lighting, is a longstanding PAR contributor. www.atlantisaudio.com