Rio Rancho, NM â€“ January 2009â€¦ For any sound crew, outdoor music programs are tough enough, as they require extra care to avoid wind, condensation, and the unavoidable issue of something being dropped at the most inopportune timeâ€”usually when changing the setups between the opening and main acts. Now, take these ever-present conditions and multiply them by fifteen and you begin to grasp the challenges facing Ted Morgan and his crew as they ran sound for the recent Word Out Festival Battle of the Bands near Kissimmee, FL in Osceola County just south of Orlando. The wireless mics and instrument transmitters deployed on this project worked flawlessly, but the gear absorbed some rather nasty bumps. As it turned out, all is wellâ€”thanks in large part to the fact that the wireless equipment was from none other than Lectrosonics.
Part of an outreach program designed to get the areaâ€™s youth involved in positive activities, the Word Out Festival Battle of the Bands, held on Saturday, January 17th, 2009, saw fifteen bands from Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina compete for top honors. Orlando, FL-based Total Entertainment Productions was contracted to provide live sound reinforcement for the event, and to help streamline the process of rotating the fifteen competing acts in timely fashion, Lectrosonics wireless equipment was placed into service, as Ted Morgan, the firmâ€™s owner and FOH (front of house) engineer explained.
â€œTo help expedite changeovers,â€? said Morgan, â€œthe musicians simply carried their guitars and basses onto the stage and plugged into the existing amps that were supplied, while the drum sets were rotated twice during the event. We equipped the guitarists and bassists with Lectrosonics UM400a UHF beltpack transmitters with MI39ARA cables and, for the vocalists; we used Lectrosonics UT400 handheld microphone transmitters with the VMS Super Cardioid capsules. We used ten UT400â€™s and four UM400aâ€™s for the event, so we were able to prep one act while another was performing. On the receiving end, we had three Lectrosonics Venue Series receiver systemsâ€”each fully stocked with the companyâ€™s VRT modules for a total of 18 channels. Since we required only 14 channels for this event, the Venue system provided us with four backup channels for safe measure.â€?
When queried about his selection of Lectrosonics wireless technology for the Word Out Festival Battle of the Bands, Morgan was quick to point out the advantages of Lectrosonicsâ€™ Digital Hybrid WirelessÂ® technology. â€œThe Lectrosonics equipment has the most natural, musical sound quality Iâ€™ve ever encountered in wireless equipment,â€? notes Morgan. â€œEqually important, the gear is really easy to set up when it comes to locating open frequencies. With a single press of a button, the SmartTuneâ„¢ feature finds an open frequency. During setup, we had all fourteen channels set up and ready in a matter of less than fifteen minutes. Some of my crew is a bit inexperienced when it comes to wireless mics, so the ease of use that the Lectrosonics gear provides went a long way.â€?
Morgan was particularly enthusiastic about Lectrosonicsâ€™ build quality. â€œLectrosonics gear is built like a tank,â€? said Morgan, â€œand we really benefitted from that quality on this project. At one point, the lead vocalist for Naked Snake did a stage dive into the frenzied crowd. He ended up losing his UT400 and we were unable to retrieve it until about four songs later, so when he got back on stage, we handed him a backup unit. At the end of the set, we were able to retrieve the mic, which had been buried in the dirt. We took it back on stage, cleaned it up with Windex and paper towels and placed it back into service on the next set. When he dropped the mic, we assumed it was a lost cause. We were all shocked to discover that it still worked perfectly.â€?
â€œAnd this wasnâ€™t the only such incident,â€? continued Morgan. â€œA vocalist for another band climbed the truss during his performance and dropped the mic onto the stage from roughly fifteen feet up. When he came down off the truss, he picked up the mic and continued using it. Other than a minor cosmetic ding, it kept working as if nothing happened.â€?
Looking back on the Word Out Festival Battle of the Bands, Morgan offered this closing thought. â€œThanks in large part to the Lectrosonics gear, this gig went really well. Lectrosonics builds wonderful equipment that sounds great, is easy to use, and is built to take abuse. I really wasnâ€™t certain how it would hold up under the conditions we had for this event, but it performed flawlessly.â€?
About Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless Technology
Lectrosonicsâ€™ Digital Hybrid Wireless technology uses a proprietary algorithm to encode 24-bit digital audio information with no compression and low distortion into an analog format that can be transmitted in a robust manner over an analog FM wireless link. The result is much higher dynamic rangeâ€”free from sonic artifactsâ€” than wireless systems using a compandor are able to offer. Digital Hybrid Wireless technology delivers long operating range, graceful signal decay, and a small spectral footprint, facilitating more channels to be operated simultaneously.
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Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theater 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.