Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Easing the Pain of the 700 MHz Relocation

In case you’re not currently aware, if you are using wireless microphones or IEMs that are operating in the 700 MHz range (698-806 MHz), you’re going to have to power them off permanently sometime after Feb. 17, 2009. How soon is still up in the air, but they’re going to have to go away. For more information, you can read this post  and this post.

Well, either Shure feels our pain, or they figured out that they could sell some more wireless equipment by offering some pretty substantial rebates for those of us stuck getting rid of our perfectly working and soon to be perfectly obsolete 700 MHz wireless gear. The church I work at currently has 16 channels of Shure UHF wireless mics and 9 channels of PSM600 and PSM700 IEMs. Of those, let’s see, 16 of the UHF and 7 of the IEMs are in the 700 MHz band. 

To replace the UHF mics with comparable current equipment, we’d need to go with UHF-R, which runs at least $1,500 a channel (with just a pair of bodypacks–handhelds are more expensive depending on the capsule). Since we have the dual receivers, that means spending at least $3K on a rack space. With Shure’s rebate of $1,000 on a UHF-R Dual system with the return of our old UHF units, that suddenly makes the transition $8,000 more affordable. 

And they’d spot us $300 on each new PSM700, making that $2,100 more affordable. They’ll even give you a rebate if you trade in a competitor’s gear. The rebate is about 1/2 of what it would be if you currently own Shure, but it’s a nice incentive nonetheless.

The rebates vary depending on what you’re buying. Obviously, big ticket items like the UHF-R series get a bigger rebate than the less expensive SLX series. Still it’s a pretty fair percentage off.

You can get all the details of the rebate, and download the form at Shure’s website.

I had heard that Sennheiser was doing something similar, but I can’t find anything on their website that might give any details. It would be worth checking with your Sennheiser dealer (or call them directly and ask for your local rep) if you’re going that route.

Given the fact that many churches are feeling the pinch right now in their budgets, it’s a welcome bit of relief for the church sound engineer who has to explain to the board why we need to replace our wireless mics that seem to still work fine.

8 Comments

  1. awolfe91@gmail.com

    The obvious legalities beside, what would be the consequences with using mics in the 700MHz band range after said date? The church I’m in has no TV stations near it nor other churches and we use MANY wireless mics in two buildings. Just curious…

  2. awolfe91@gmail.com

    The obvious legalities beside, what would be the consequences with using mics in the 700MHz band range after said date? The church I’m in has no TV stations near it nor other churches and we use MANY wireless mics in two buildings. Just curious…

  3. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Andrew–That’s a good question. The answer is that no one knows exactly just yet. The FCC has not yet written an ruling (as of 12/8/08) on whether using wireless mics (or other unlicensed wireless devices) in the 700 MHz band will be illegal, or inadvisable.

    As new TVBDs come online in that band, you will likely start getting interference, but you might not know when or exactly why. If you’re more than 100 miles from a major TV market, you might have a little more time to migrate than those of us in major metros. However, the writing is on the wall, and it’s time to start assessing what you will have to replace, and figure out how you’re going to do it.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s the way it’s shaking out right now…

    mike

  4. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Andrew–That’s a good question. The answer is that no one knows exactly just yet. The FCC has not yet written an ruling (as of 12/8/08) on whether using wireless mics (or other unlicensed wireless devices) in the 700 MHz band will be illegal, or inadvisable.

    As new TVBDs come online in that band, you will likely start getting interference, but you might not know when or exactly why. If you’re more than 100 miles from a major TV market, you might have a little more time to migrate than those of us in major metros. However, the writing is on the wall, and it’s time to start assessing what you will have to replace, and figure out how you’re going to do it.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s the way it’s shaking out right now…

    mike

  5. sujay_w24@yahoo.co.in

    Hey Mike just wanted ask you, this ban on usage of wireless units in 700mhz range, is it just in the US or all over the world. Is it applicable for us here in India.

  6. sujay_w24@yahoo.co.in

    Hey Mike just wanted ask you, this ban on usage of wireless units in 700mhz range, is it just in the US or all over the world. Is it applicable for us here in India.

  7. mike@churchtecharts.org

    John–

    Nope, you guys should be fine in India. It’s only the US that has sold off that portion of the spectrum to the highest bidder (great move…really!) Actually, if you play your cards right, you could be the beneficiary of some really good gear. If you have relationships with churches in the US, I would start contacting them about donating 700 MHz wireless gear. It will still work great anywhere else but the US.

    mike

  8. mike@churchtecharts.org

    John–

    Nope, you guys should be fine in India. It’s only the US that has sold off that portion of the spectrum to the highest bidder (great move…really!) Actually, if you play your cards right, you could be the beneficiary of some really good gear. If you have relationships with churches in the US, I would start contacting them about donating 700 MHz wireless gear. It will still work great anywhere else but the US.

    mike

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