Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

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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12 Comments

  1. jcsoundguy@gmail.com

    Oh, the joys of wireless. If you haven’t bought the paddles yet, let me HIGHLY recommend that you pick up the Professional Wireless Systems (www.professionalwireless.com) Helical Antenna. We tested one several times as a rental and in every situation it was completely outstanding. Just before Christmas we bought one. Our signals are much more stable and there are no dead spots on our stage, and we have a BIG stage. Its worth every penny. Have fun!

  2. jcsoundguy@gmail.com

    Oh, the joys of wireless. If you haven’t bought the paddles yet, let me HIGHLY recommend that you pick up the Professional Wireless Systems (www.professionalwireless.com) Helical Antenna. We tested one several times as a rental and in every situation it was completely outstanding. Just before Christmas we bought one. Our signals are much more stable and there are no dead spots on our stage, and we have a BIG stage. Its worth every penny. Have fun!

  3. caleb@harmonybiblechurch.org

    Good to see another Mac/ProPresenter user. I’m hoping over time the ease of use will dawn on the non-youth venue operators of our church and they to will switch.

    Do you know if Shure is up on prepping our churches (their wireless users) for changes in the wireless spectrum coming in ’09?

  4. caleb@harmonybiblechurch.org

    Good to see another Mac/ProPresenter user. I’m hoping over time the ease of use will dawn on the non-youth venue operators of our church and they to will switch.

    Do you know if Shure is up on prepping our churches (their wireless users) for changes in the wireless spectrum coming in ’09?

  5. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Thanks for the tip, Jason. The paddles are on their way, but the Helical system looks sweet. We have a pretty small stage, and the paddles will be no more than about 20-30′ from the users, so I think we’ll be OK (especially since the little 1/4 waves sorta work now).

    If I had a bigger venue though, the PWS system appears to be the way to go.

  6. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Thanks for the tip, Jason. The paddles are on their way, but the Helical system looks sweet. We have a pretty small stage, and the paddles will be no more than about 20-30′ from the users, so I think we’ll be OK (especially since the little 1/4 waves sorta work now).

    If I had a bigger venue though, the PWS system appears to be the way to go.

  7. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Caleb, So far as I know, there are no “for sure” changes yet. Shure has been lobbying hard to save the “white space,” and I’ve not read yet of a final decision (if I’m wrong, someone correct me). As Shure has been the loudest and most active protector of the wireless spectrum, I would guess they have a contingency plan in case Congress hoses us. It could be a plan to re-frequency existing units or a trade-in…(I’m speculating wildy here).

    For now, no news is good news. Still it wouldn’t hurt to contact your reps and let them know the huge cost it will be if they sell our wireless space.

  8. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Caleb, So far as I know, there are no “for sure” changes yet. Shure has been lobbying hard to save the “white space,” and I’ve not read yet of a final decision (if I’m wrong, someone correct me). As Shure has been the loudest and most active protector of the wireless spectrum, I would guess they have a contingency plan in case Congress hoses us. It could be a plan to re-frequency existing units or a trade-in…(I’m speculating wildy here).

    For now, no news is good news. Still it wouldn’t hurt to contact your reps and let them know the huge cost it will be if they sell our wireless space.

  9. jcsoundguy@gmail.com

    Just a note on the 700Mhz sell off. There is no more lobbying to be done. The bidding has started and its a done deal as most of the blocks have meet the minimum bid price including the much sought after C block which is now above 4.6 billion dollars. If you don’t already have a plan to replace all your 700Mhz systems, now is the time. Its going to happen. Even if you don’t have interference problems, those devices you have now will be illegal to use. It will be like having an unlicensed radio station. Might as well bite the bullet and keep your church legal.

  10. jcsoundguy@gmail.com

    Just a note on the 700Mhz sell off. There is no more lobbying to be done. The bidding has started and its a done deal as most of the blocks have meet the minimum bid price including the much sought after C block which is now above 4.6 billion dollars. If you don’t already have a plan to replace all your 700Mhz systems, now is the time. Its going to happen. Even if you don’t have interference problems, those devices you have now will be illegal to use. It will be like having an unlicensed radio station. Might as well bite the bullet and keep your church legal.

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