It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Boxes have been arriving at my office this week. Late last week we finished our priorities list and established the budget for the rest of the year and I started ordering. So now, my office looks like Christmas morning, with all sorts of new and wonderful toys. As I get each item set up and tested out, I'll work at putting up some mini-reviews of them. The ones I really like will get more in-depth reviews. Here's a sampling of what has arrived.

  • Alesis M1 620 Active Speakers
  • Lexicon Alpha USB Audio Interface
  • Ansman Professional 9v Battery Charger
  • Production Intercom 700 Headsets
  • ProPresenter 3

I also picked up the necessary parts to build a 25' 12-channel snake to run from one side of the stage to the other. Every week we end up stretching 8-10 cables from our main snake to most of the band. When I make up the snake, I'll also make up some short XLR cables to keep clutter down. Should make setup and teardown go a little faster.

Also on their way are various racks, mounts and hardware to clean up our installations. Once I get a USB to Serial interface, I'll also be playing with Shure's Wireless Workshop to run a full-on frequency coordination. I ordered a antenna combiner for 4 of our PSM-700's, along with 2 wideband antennas. Turns out we have a bunch of dead spots on stage with the IEMs, probably due to the fact that we're just using 1/4 wave antennas right on the transmitter (that are mounted in a metal rack backstage). I hope to vastly improve our coverage by going with a nice cardioid pattern antenna for each combiner.

In a few weeks, I'll be ordering an Aviom 16-0 output module to make up a digital snake. We'll use the Aviom MY card in the M7 to send 17 channels of IEM mixes backstage to a new IEM rack I'm making up. The idea is that we'll rack up all of our PSM-700s, the antenna combiners, 16-0, power conditioner and a patchbay. Then when we need to set up a system somewhere else in the church (or elsewhere), we'll just pull the power and cat-5 cable and go. Eventually, I'll rack up 8 channels of wireless with the same idea. This should save us a few thousand dollars in rental costs each year.

Finally, I'll be ordering a 20" iMac 2.4 Ghz to replace the PC in our presentation station. After using ProPresenter live at our Meal Link event on Monday, I'm convinced it's the way to go. I trained our volunteer in about 10 minutes and she said at the end of the event, "Wow, that's so much better!" When a product makes my volunteers happy, I'm sold.

Our new Eiki LC-X80 projectors are installed and once we get cat-5 pulled to them so I can do a full calibration, I'll write up a full review. For now, let me tell you I'm impressed. I've had at least a dozen comments in the last few weeks about how bright, colorful and crisp these projectors are. I'm a little disappointed in the Navitar lenses that Eiki supplied (Navitar hails from my native Rochester, NY--East Rochester to be exact--and I did one of my first ever projects for them), but the average viewer isn't likely to notice anything amiss.That's a quick update for now. As the new gear comes on line, I'll give you my unbiased thoughts. Peace.

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