Ty Chu with his Lectrosonics gear.
Phoenix, AZ â€“ August 2011â€¦ What might happen to our surroundings if people were to suddenly vanish from the face of the Earth? Thatâ€™s the premise of Life After People, a new series on the History Channel. As each day, month, and year passes, the fate of a particular environment is examined. Itâ€™s hypothetical, of course, but the use of special effects, combined with interviews from top experts in the fields of engineering, botany, biology, geology, and archeology provides an unforgettable visual experience. For one particular episode, much of the information gathered for the program was accomplished through interviewsâ€”many of which took place on a military base. With a plethora of radio frequencies in the environment, capturing the audio with wireless microphones turned out to be a real learning experience, but it all came togetherâ€”thanks to wireless technology from Rio Rancho, NM-based Lectrosonics.
Ty Chu is a Phoenix-based location sound recording engineer involved with the Life After People project. A well established audio professional with a solid track record in the areas of documentaries and independent features, Chuâ€™s credits include Monsters Inside Me on Animal Planet and The Universeâ€™s Biggest Blasts on the History Channel. While heâ€™s encountered plenty of difficult scenarios during his 6+ years in the business, the challenges of working among a congested military RF environment was a true eye opener. Fortunately, his entire arsenal of SMDa Super-Miniature, SMa Super-Miniature, and HM plug-on transmitters all employ Lectrosonicsâ€™ highly acclaimed Digital Hybrid WirelessÂ® technology, as do his UCR411a compact receivers.
â€œBetween the air traffic, radar towers, and a multitude of other communication signals, the RF environment was positively stifling,â€? Chu reports. â€œThis was, without question, the most difficult RF area I have ever encountered. But I have to tell you, Lectrosonics pulled through for me and provided no dropoutsâ€”even though my whole band was taken up by military RF. The spectrum analyzer in my four UCR411aâ€™s helped out tremendously.â€?
Chu uses four SMDa transmitters, two SMa transmitters, and most recently, acquired Lectrosonicsâ€™ new HM plug-on transmitter for use with his UCR411a receivers. He discussed the attributes of his equipment that impress him the most. â€œFirst and foremost, the sound quality of the Lectrosonics equipment is what makes all the difference,â€? says Chu. â€œThe companyâ€™s Digital Hybrid Wireless technology yields much higher dynamic rangeâ€”without the sonic artifactsâ€” than wireless systems using a compandor are able to offer. For all intents and purposes, the audio quality is on par with a wired microphone.â€?
â€œSecondly,â€? he continued, â€œthe build quality and the productâ€™s overall engineering are exceptional. Iâ€™ve used this equipment in the desert where the heat reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit and Iâ€™ve had the same gear out in the snow and the rain. Nothing seems to bother it. The LCD displays and the membrane switches on my transmitters, for example, are easy to read and sealed so that dirt and moisture really canâ€™t damage the electronics. Further, the housings are all custom machined out of metal and, in the case of my SMDaâ€™s and SMaâ€™s, their compact size makes them easy to conceal them on the talent. In the heat of the moment, no other transmitters allow for a quick change of frequencies on the fly with such an easy-to-use menu system. Its details like these that inspire confidence.â€?
In Chuâ€™s line of work, responsive customer and technical support services are critical. Here too, he had nothing but praise. â€œOn those rare occasions when I needed assistance,â€? he said, â€œI was able to pick up the phone and get a technician who understood my issue. The companyâ€™s support staff understands the applications for their products, so you get useful answers as opposed to someone whoâ€™s simply reading a canned response. Lectrosonicsâ€™ support is nothing short of outstanding when itâ€™s needed, which is very rare.â€?
As he prepared for another day out in the field, Chu offered this parting thought, â€œIn my line of work, nothing compares to Lectrosonics. The sound quality is excellent and the gear is built to endure the rigors of this type of work. I really canâ€™t imagine using anything else.â€?
For additional information about Ty Chu and his services, visit him online at www.lucky7locationsound.com.
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theatre technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Visit the company online at www.lectrosonics.com.