The Weather Channel has re-equipped its Atlanta headquarters studio facility with all-new Lectrosonics wireless microphone and IFB systems. The new gear includes three Lectrosonics Venue Receiver Systems outfitted with a total of 18 VRS receiver modules and 18 UM400 Digital Hybrid Wireless beltpack transmitters, plus 18 channels of wireless IFB comprising R1a beltpack receivers and T1 compact transmitters.
Chief engineer Michael Smereski says that the new equipment replaces older Lectrosonics RF gear at the facility, which features four studios with a fifth in the planning stage. "Not that we're having problems with any of the older systems, it's just that we try to keep updated on the technology," he explains. For example, "The Venue Receivers provide a lot of enhancements over the receivers we're currently using. As far as engineering tools, their spectrum analysis display, their ability to record mic tests and the appropriate RF level at the same time, in addition to determining dropout spots, are all greatly beneficial. We're really excited about those tools.
"We're in the process of adding some new studio facilities and we decided that instead of having a centralized set of mics just in the main studio, we'd design a system—with Tai Audio and Lectrosonics' help—that could utilize any mic, any location, any studio," he continues. "So we're housing electronics centrally and using a matrixed antenna system to not only get the receive on our mics, but also the IFBs to any one of our studio locations in the facility."
The Lectrosonics receivers and transmitters being replaced have been trouble-free, according to Smereski. "They've been extremely reliable; so reliable that we don't dual-mike our talent, we just single-mike them. And we're live 21 hours a day. The Lectrosonics gear has been a great performer for us. We typically don't have difficulties with the transmitters or the receivers. It's rare for a receiver to have any problems. And typically, with the transmitters, there is just mechanical wear on the antennas. More often than not, we're just maintaining the lavalier microphones, which are not Lectrosonics."