— Substantial changes in the ways wireless spectrum is allocated have led to upheaval in how wireless microphone systems are used, and GC Pro helps its clients find their way through the new reality —
The “White Space” issue has changed the way the wireless world works. As a result of the transition to digital broadcasting over the last three years, the region of the RF spectrum where wireless microphones have worked – mostly between the 700 MHz to 800 MHz range (aka the “White Spaces” between analog channels) is no longer available. That’s meant that wireless microphone users have had to replace their systems with new ones that comply with the newly constricted spectra available to them, beginning at 470 MHz up to about 698 MHz, and a small band above 900 MHz. House-of-worship users have been particularly affected, as many churches today rely on wireless audio for everything from worship services to theatrical and music performances. That was the case at the Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland, a nondenominational, multicultural house of worship that puts an emphasis on dramatic presentations and music concerts and uses up to 24 channels of wireless for them. So when the new regulations governing the RF spectrum came into being, the church turned to their long-time collaborator for keeping its AV systems working at peak performance: Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Working with Mitchell Shaivitz, Account Manager at the GC Pro Baltimore area office, the church’s Technical Director Derwent “D” Williamson was able to source all of the wireless systems and products he needed to keep the church’s productions at the cutting edge of technology and regulation.
“We do a very wide range of performances here,” says Williamson, noting that the church’s location in a suburb of Baltimore means that it has to be acutely aware of changes to frequency allocation rules that particularly affect large urban areas that have a lot of sports, broadcast and entertainment venues that use substantial amounts of RF. “We’ve often had as many as twelve wireless channels going at once on stage, between actors and musicians. We need our wireless to be as reliable as possible.”
In the past, says Williamson, the church has had problems with dropouts, and the arrival of new regulations regarding wireless spectrum allocation meant it was time for an upgrade across the board. Working through GC Pro, the church purchased 14 channels of new Shure ULX-D wireless, including handheld transmitter and bodypacks, plus Shure PSM900 in-ear system and a Shure PA821A 8-channel antenna combiner.
The system was delivered in time for Williamson and his staff of technically astute volunteers to install it for the church’s annual Easter stage event. “We took a bit of a risk in putting such a new system to work on such a high-profile event on short notice,” Williamson says. “But on the other hand, we’ve been customers of GC Pro for seventeen years now, and we know that there’s a level of reliability and trust that would let us feel good about something like that. They helped us decide on what we needed, provided extremely competitive pricing and made sure they were delivered on time,” including most recently a TOA line array system and a Behringer X32 digital mixer for a multi-purpose room. “It’s a great feeling to know you have that kind of support behind you.”
For more information, please visit www.gcpro.com.