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THE STRANGE DAVID AND GOLIATH SAGA OF RADIO FREQUENCIES

Discussion in 'News' started by venuetech, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    A story in Wired

    “The shift is especially difficult because this is the second time in less than 10 years that wireless mics are being evicted from their frequency home. A decade ago, many wireless mics were designed to operate in the 700 MHz band. But in 2010 the FCC auctioned off much of that range for wireless broadband and public-safety uses, forcing out many wireless mics. Many theaters then spent tens of thousands of dollars on new gear, only now to be told that they have to purchase new gear again.”

    https://www.wired.com/story/wireles...paign=The+Local+TV+Consolidation+Race+Is+Here

    Many of the comments appear clueless.
     
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  2. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    Which comments in particular are you talking about as being clueless? Seems like a pretty accurate article.
     
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    The article is great. The Comments are just... 'precious', as my Grandmother used to say. I find this one particular insightful:

    "You’re not supposed to need mics in the theater. The situation may feel grossly unfair, but almost no one putting on a play before the turn of the century would have thought a mic was a necessity. Also: I hate sports, but this is nowhere near the same as needing good helmets for football players."
     
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  4. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Are there reader comments that I don't see that require subscribing?
     
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    At the very bottom of the article there is a plus sign in a circle right next to it is text that says "show comments" it's gray and hard to see.
     
  6. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    Ok I should have said “some” rather than “many”.
    (Am feeling orange today)


    “Do wireless mics really need their own protocol? Can't they just use wifi or some other more general standard?”
     
  7. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Got it. Thank you.
     
  8. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @venuetech @Van I LOVE it! In the same vein as no one thought parachutes were useful before Wilbur and Orville dragged their danged flying machines off the edges of cliffs. I guess the same rational can be applied to seat belts, air bags and life preservers.
    As your Grandmother said: "Precious! Just precious!" I strongly suspect your Grandmother and I would've got along well. I also suspect we'd have 'pooed, pooed' condoms too, but then you'dve known her better.
    Thanks for the giggles.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  9. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    “Before the turn of the century “
    I can assure that fellow many were using wireless mics at the turn of the century. 1999/2000
     
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  10. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Going back a century more (1899/1900) mics were not available. Many could not perform in theater because they didn't have the voice of foghorn-leghorn. Many more in the audience simply couldn't hear the show. Have we become too dependent on microphones? Well maybe. Can a lot of very talented people perform on stage now that wouldn't have been able to back then? Defiantly. Is the average audience member now able to hear the show? Defiantly. Now, who really needs indoor plumbing? ;)
     
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  11. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @JD I suspect the same people who spell 'Definitely' as "Defiantly" may appreciate the convenience of indoor plumbing. In the age of the internet, can the 'paperless privy' be far behind. Shades of @Janelle 's DMX controlled coffee perc' and networked USB Porta-Potties'!
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  12. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    In the early/mid 70’s the drama teacher would block the show in the first week. then move out into mid house for the remaining weeks of rehearsals.(1300 seats) There he would day after day shout “PROJECT “ “I can’t hear you” “enunciate “ “use your stomach “, Countless times Day after Day, that’s how we got by. Along with the help of the usher club seating everyone close to the stage. These days I can’t get a director off the stage till tech week. And I cannot get that director to ask their actors to develop any sort of air pressure with their voice. They might say project a few times in their notes, but Few will have the stamina to do so for an entire performance.
     
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  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes! This is the downside of technology! It is a double edged sword. Just because we CAN do something, doesn't mean we should stop teaching!
    I recently did a show in which I was singing in a room of about 60 people. Tragically, I bumped the mute switch on my own pack right as I went out to do the number. No turning back, so I belted it out as hard as I could, remembering "Project! Project!" Yea, it came out ok, wouldn't have worked in a larger room. It was a reminder that we shouldn't become TOO dependent on these modern miracles.
    AND to wrap these things back to their original topic- Given the trend of the FCC on wireless, we may all find ourselves back in the Shakespeare days back at the Globe theater in a few years! ;)
     
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  14. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @JD Understood and appreciated although in today's and future ages all of the paying patrons will be able to hear and see the performers via their wrist TV's and eye-ball tracking holographic glasses thus we may no longer require IMAG, projection and / or point source cabinets, subs and line arrays. Who knows, we may have butt-shakers in every seat to augment 'smell-O-vision.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  15. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I was thinking that we go to lip syncing like all the big music acts. Maybe we could go back to the Greek chorus and wear megaphone masks.
     
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  16. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Having worked with many rock bands on the road, I hope we forgo the "smell-O-vision" !
     
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  17. NickVon

    NickVon Well-Known Member

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    I think this is a well stated article.
     
  18. TrotskysGhost

    TrotskysGhost Member

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    This article drops the ball on one major point that set up this dumb situation in the first place: For over 40 years US wireless mic users never had to get licensed, unlike most other countries. Instead we just squatted in the white space between TV stations in whatever area we were in. So when Congress and the FCC came to reallocate the spectrum, who got helped? The TV stations who had been paying license fees for decades to the FCC and we got screwed because we had no influence since we were just squatters.

    Elsewhere I've seen comments on the issue of "wild prices" being thrown around in this article. If, when this is all done, want the same level of performance out of the new wireless mics that's comparable to what you were using before, it is going to cost a lot more per channel than you paid in the past. To think otherwise is sticking your head in the sand, in all honesty.
    On the professional rental side, the lower rate that we can offer a community theater for a weekend rental is based on the gear already being paid off and it not being out on something else that pays full price. If we have to replace 9/10ths of our RF inventory (transmitters, receivers, IEMs, wireless comm, antennas, antenna distros) that means that all of that gear won't be available at a discounted rental rate for some time. In addition a lot of our older gear will be turned in as part of the buyback rebate programs with manufacturers.
    When the repack is done, not only will we be down the 600s for our use, but most of the 500s, upper 400s and even VHF TV will be extremely tight, especially around most major cities. This is because all of the TV stations had to move somewhere too. So if we operate in the white space between stations, then there will be like 1/10th the white space there used to be in some markets.

    Conventional analog doesn't have the audio quality for the limited spectrum. Unlicensed 1.9Ghz, 2.5GHz and 5.0GHz bands are already pretty crowded with consumer devices. For example, if you read the data sheet for most of the 2.4GHz wireless mics, you can fit AT MOST like 8 channels of mics in all of that spectrum and that's IF there is NOTHING ELSE using that spectrum. So you have to turn off WiFi in the theater. You have to get EVERY patron to turn off WiFi AND Bluetooth on their phones. Good luck with that.

    In order to overcome this problem, you will need to go to digital transmitter and receiver sets, operating in the 480MHZ-608MHZ UHF or the TV VHF white space. These systems are, currently, significantly more expensive for the same audio quality you were used to. Many require entirely new antenna systems too. Even if you have like ULXD already, you will have significantly less channel space available to you. You won't be doing 48 channels of ULXD in the NYC Metro Area, Dallas-Fort Worth, Greater LA or Chicagoland. In order to get that kind of channel count, you'll have to go up to Axient or Sennheiser 6000 series. The transmitter packs are a step backwards in size, range, battery life and durability.
    Broadway houses where you have like 3 stage boxes backed up against each other, then a hotel conference center above, yet productions running up to 64 channels of mics, 16 channels of IEMs and like 16 wireless comm beltpacks EACH, which does not even dive into the mess of wireless DMX, WiFi, assisted listening and interference from all sorts of other sources we used to be immune from. Where are we going to get this spectrum back from? We're not and the FCC doesn't care, cause we don't want to pay to license it. Instead we have to suck it up, buy new gear and hope they don't kill broadcast TV and Radio in the next 10-15 years.

    So yeah, mics per channel are going to be more expensive for most productions. T-Mobile is already testing 5G broadband data in the NYC area and plans to have this system rolling out around here in time for the next round of hot new Smartphones hitting the market with 5G capabilities. Samsung Galaxy 9 already has it. T-Mobile is staking their future on this and is not pulling punches. They are trying to be fully built out BEFORE the final cut over date. The FCC is allowing T-Mobile to fire up their new transceivers within a week of the TV stations vacating the spectrum and there is going to be little warning. My day job's NY Broadway shows and tours on existing gear are already starting to take interference hits of giant sustained blasts of static where it was clear spectrum the day before.
    It's time that everyone realize that this time is way worse than the death of the 700MHz and start accepting that we're going to be in a bucket of suck for the next 5 to 10 years until this sorts itself out.
     
  19. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Is there no organization or association that works on behalf of the users and manufacturers of this gear together, who can more effectively lobby for some help -presumably clear space with assurance it will be available entertainment technologies for the foreseeable future? It takes money and some serious probably uncompensated time - as I have found the work with the Access Board on ADA and the various code and standards developers like ICC and NFPA, but it is possible to effect positive changes, albeit, not quickly.
     
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  20. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    The phone companies have way more money. Plus, the people making the decisions are often connected to those same companies in some way. There was a lot of heavy hitters who testified against the selling of the spectrum this last time. It fell on deaf ears. It won't make a difference until we can't have football games because the coaches can't communicate. Then something might happen.
     

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