Sight & Sound Theatres Expand Reach of ‘Com System - Mixonline

Sight & Sound Theatres Expand Reach of ‘Com System

Faith-Based Theatre Turns to Tempest900 for Reliable Communications
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LANCASTER, PA, June 14, 2016 With locations in Lancaster County, PA and Branson, MO, Sight & Sound Theatres is the largest faith-based live theatre company in the United States. Recently, Sight & Sound has upgraded its Lancaster County location to the Tempest900 wireless intercom system. The Tempest system, supplied by Dale Pro Audio, serves the density of users the Sight & Sound production crew requires as it adapts to any production. 

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The current Sight & Sound theatre in Lancaster County went up in 1998 after a fire destroyed the Sight & Sound Entertainment Centre on the same site. “The theatre is a large complex with a little more than 2,000 seats and a panoramic, 300-ft. stage that wraps around the audience,” said Warren Keeney, Electronics/Animatronics Designer, Sight & Sound Lancaster. “The old center started with UHF wireless communication. But as we grew, adding equipment from various manufacturers, eventually we couldn’t keep it all working. Also, these days, available bandwidth is shrinking. Given that we also run about 60 wireless microphones besides the intercom systems, we compete with audio to manage bandwidth and fit all the wireless systems into a smaller (RF) space. That drove us to Tempest for a digital system in the 900MHz range.”

Three Tempest900 BaseStations and 32 BeltStations help Sight & Sound delight its theatergoers at every production. The Tempest900 digital wireless intercom system operates license-free in the 900MHz band, where the system’s longer wavelengths can transmit through structural objects. So large is the theatre that techs working under the stage must communicate with people above-stage and in other areas of the building — and the Tempest900 system makes it happen.

“The people who use the coms stay in the same general area much of the time,” said Keeney. “And other digital systems we tried gave us poor results. We had trouble handling the number of users and having sufficient bandwidth in that common area. Only Tempest900 stepped up with full coverage and quantity of packs. Now three BaseStations cover the whole facility and easily integrate with our existing wired system. Our Remote Transceivers are over the stage, yet the system works in the basement and in third-floor offices with no problem.”

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Tempest intercom systems employ Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) Technology, in which frequency changes between a predetermined set of frequencies, 200 times per second, allow it to coexist with other wireless systems nearby. Depending on the mode of operation, a Tempest900 system can have as many as five BaseStations supporting from 25 full-function BeltsStations.

“Right now we have 32 Tempest900 BeltStations,” said Keeney. “A few are spares and packs for people here on different days, but the majority are used on most days. Even with the additional packs we don’t worry about interference or people talking over one another. If the BeltStations need to be reconfigured to receive different channels on the fly, it’s easily done.”

Gary Rosen, Global Sales Manager of Pliant Technologies, creators of the Tempest wireless intercom systems, affirms that. “The 32 users all are accommodated by using Tempest’s Shared Mode,” he said. “Tempest offers three software-selectable modes. Normal Mode can run five BeltStations with all features with one BaseStation. Split Mode allows for four BeltStations with access to all features, plus a single channel with unlimited BeltStations listening to one person talking at any time. Shared Mode, the most appropriate for Sight & Sound Lancaster, allows any BeltStation user to listen to any of the four channels, and as many as five BeltStation users on each BaseStation to talk at a given time. Thus the system can support a complex audio communications environment at a low cost per user. Sight & Sound Lancaster has three Tempest BaseStations, but could easily run all 32 BeltStations from a single BaseStation. Adding more BaseStations opened more flexibility in the number of intercom channels available for the users.”

“Obviously wireless communication is the key to our doing what we do,” Keeney concluded. “Tempest900 is the venue coverage we need — it allows for all the additional packs, and we don’t fear anyone talking over anyone else. If someone needs to change a position, or does something out of the ordinary, no worries about what pack they have — anyone can communicate with anyone, and that’s probably the main advantage of the digital system over analog. It’s a good, clear, solid communications.”

About Pliant Technologies

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Pliant Technologies, the new professional intercom division of Auburn, Alabama-based CoachComm, has been created to address the unique needs of customers in the professional marketplace. CoachComm is best known for the revolutionary Tempest wireless intercom system, which is used daily in more than 40 countries in industries such as broadcast, live-sound, theater, theme park, event management, and maritime, as well as in many other applications. Developing communication technologies that are dependable, durable, and easy-to-use has made CoachComm the worldwide leader in critical communication solutions.

About Dale Pro Audio

For over 50 years, Dale Pro Audio has served the broadcast, live sound, contracting, and studio and post production markets with distinction. Dale carries hundreds of the pro audio industry's top brands, stocks thousands of the best products, and has two store locations in New York City—in Manhattan's Flatiron District and Jamaica Queens. Dale Pro Audio is now one of the largest dealers of audio equipment for the broadcast, contracting, and recording/post production markets. Dale Pro Audio is known for its great prices, tremendous selection, top notch technical expertise, and commitment to quality, honesty, and customer satisfaction.