Client: John F. Kennedy (Warren JFK) Catholic School
Project: Provide a high school facility with a reliable, spectrum-compliant wireless microphone solution.
Project participants: Audio-Technica, Audiax, Online Manufacturers Representatives, JFK High School
Solutions: Audio-Technica 3000 Series Frequency-agile, True Diversity UHF Wireless Microphone System
Audio-Technica System 10 Pro Dual-channel, Digital Wireless System
An Ohio High School
John F. Kennedy Catholic School (Warren JFK), Warren, Ohio) is a private school owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown. The school serves approximately 600 students each year, with more than 300 in its Upper Campus (grades 6-12) and the rest in its Lower Campus (grades K-5).
Warren JFK uses wireless microphones in its Upper Campus auditorium for Mass, school musical and theatrical productions, and other ancillary applications but its systems were outdated, and some elements operated in frequency bands that are no longer legally available for wireless microphone use.
The school called upon Rick Powell, second-generation owner of local commercial AV integrator Audiax Communications, to help solve their wireless system issues.
Warren JFK Upper Campus Auditorium FOH
with 3000 Series Wireless
Update the school’s wireless microphone systems to operate in coordinated, available frequencies as well as eliminate dropouts and other performance issues.
“We had been using a mixture of systems of wireless microphones for our stage productions,” shares Fred Hoover, Technical Coordinator for Warren JFK Catholic School. “We were having difficulties with overlapping frequency ranges, dropouts on stage, and less-than-stellar performance in audio presence for the audience.”
Given the reduction in available frequencies for wireless microphone use, adds Powell, we suggested, ‘As old as your equipment is, you should replace them.’”
Audio-Technica 3000 Series Wireless Systems and Audio-Technica System 10 Pro Digital Wireless Systems
“After some discussion and planning on our part,” Hoover says, “we decided to move to acquire 24 Audio-Technica 3000 Series units for use on our stage, as well as other units for use elsewhere in the facility.”
The full range of solutions at Warren JFK’s Upper Campus includes the 24 ATW-3211 3000 Series Wireless Systems with ATW-T3201 body-pack transmitters and BP899cH subminiature omnidirectional microphones incorporated in a portable FOH mix setup, which is rolled in as needed for stage productions and other performance events. Three Audio-Technica System 10 PRO dual-channel wireless systems are also installed in the Cafetorium – a pair of ATW-1312 systems at the backstage mix position for routine use and an ATW-1322 system as part of the FOH wireless rig. Two ATW-1311 body pack transmitters with AT831cW cardioid condenser lavalier microphones and two ATW-1302 handheld microphones with dynamic hypercardioid capsules can be assigned to any of the four channels of the Cafetorium backstage System Pro 10 systems as need dictates. Two additional handheld mics are assigned to the FOH system.
An additional two Audio-Technica ATW-1312 System Pro 10 dual wireless systems, with the same handheld and lavalier microphone selections as the Cafetorium backstage system, are installed in the Warren JFK gymnasium. Completing the school’s wireless microphone infrastructure is a single-channel Audio-Technica ATW-3211 3000 Series wireless system mated with an ATW-T3201 body-pack transmitter and AT831cH cardioid condenser lavalier microphone which is installed at the Warren JFK soccer field.
Warren JFK 3000 Series Products
Warren JFK System 10 PRO Products
Wireless microphone systems with clip-on mics and bodypack transmitters, augmented by 2.4 GHz wireless systems for general applications.
Based on his experience with Audio-Technica wireless systems and support as satisfied customer and dealer for 40 years (A-T’s US headquarters is less than an hour away from Audiax Communications’ home base), Powell recommended Audio-Technica 3000 Series wireless systems to resolve frequency availability issues with Warren JFK’s existing wireless microphone systems, add channels, upgrade the technology, replace worn gear, and improve sound quality. Powell could point to the validity of the performance of the 3000 series systems in a school application as he has other school installations in the area with as many as 36 channels in use simultaneously. “The soccer field mic was the first one we did,” Powell says, which gave Warren JFK confidence in the technology.
The fourth-generation 3000 Series wireless systems provide the power and flexibility to operate within today’s congested and diminished UHF spectrum. 3000 Series systems have an operating range of 300 feet (100 m) and provide a class-leading 60 MHz tuning range across two available frequency bands – DE2 (470–530 MHz) and EE1 (530–590 MHz).
RF spectrum can be easily scanned and available frequencies selected on the receiver and then synced with the transmitter via IR sync functionality. A backup frequency can also be assigned for a quick swap, triggered from the transmitter in the event of unexpected interference.
“The best feature of the 3000 series, I believe,” says Hoover, “is the control we have over the transmitters. We are able to prevent tampering and possible frequency changes as well as forestalling a student turning off power for the unit.”
The ATW-T3201 body-pack transmitter is equipped with Audio-Technica’s new rugged cH-style screw-down 4-pin connector for secure microphone and cable connections. The BP899 subminiature omnidirectional microphone chosen is engineered for intelligible, accurate voice reproduction. Its low-profile design (a mere 5 mm in diameter) assures minimum visibility. The mic may be worn as a lavalier and is easily hidden in clothing or hair and comes with windscreens and a variety of clips. “It’s a tiny little capsule on the end of a wire,” says Powell. “You can bury it in your hair, put it under makeup on your face – you would not believe some of the stuff they've done with those.”
For general use, the System Pro 10 wireless system installed gives Warren JFK ease of operation – just power it on and go – plus, as configured in the Cafetorium backstage and the gymnasium, the option of handheld or lavalier mics. In the Cafetorium’s small backstage rack that also houses PA processing, amplification, and a mixer, and in the gymnasium, the ability to have four channels in a single rack space was a consideration in choosing the System Pro 10. The System Pro 10 operates outside of the TV bands in the 2.4 GHz WiFi band and features 24-bit operation, easy setup, clear, natural sound quality, and protects against dropouts with three levels of diversity assurance: frequency, time, and space.
Important features that influenced the technology choice for this project include:
– Proven Reliability
– Audio quality
– Efficient spectrum use
– Ease of use
Reliable, predictable wireless microphone performance.
The room’s new solution:
– Eliminates troublesome issues caused by outdated and worn microphone systems
– Is easy to use
– Restores compliance with spectrum use
– Adds needed wireless channels
– Sounds great
“Rick goes beyond selling,” Hoover says of Warren JFK’s experience working with Audiax. “He guides and has helped us develop a system without equal. His attention to detail prevented many of the problems encountered with student operators and talent that may be only in first grade.”
“The cooperation from Rick as well as the area A-T office,” Hoover continues, “has provided us with clear frequency listings, powerful, durable equipment, and great satisfaction for students, parents, and visitors.”
With the performance of the school’s new Audio-Technica 3000 Series and System 10 Pro Digital wireless systems, Hoover concludes, “We no longer have overlaps or cross-channel interference, and by careful placement of microphones on our talented performers, have virtually eliminated sound issues.”
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