Meeting Topic: The State of Wireless Audio: Large Stadium Tour Challenges with Ike Zimbel
Moderator Name: Anthony Kuzub - Vice Chair Toronto AES Executive Committee
Speaker Name: Karyn Popel McGrath - Senior Audio Operator Bell Studios; Rob Poretti - Poretti Productions; Ike Zimbel - Radio Active Designs Manufacturer's Rep for Canada, Freelance RF Technician, Owner Zimbel Audio
Other business or activities at the meeting: Executive Chair Alan Clayton thanked the sponsors, and Jeff Wolpert for providing the Toronto AES the use of University of Toronto's facilities. Alan invited new members to join, as well as requesting volunteers to join the executive committee. Upcoming meetings were announced: Wired Microphones in January, a Member's Showcase in February, and the Art of the Mix in March.
Meeting Location: University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, Edward Johnson Bldg - Toronto, Canada
Anthony Kuzub began the evening with opening remarks and introductions.
Karyn McGrath spoke first. She discussed her work on a live-to-air broadcast titled The Social. She also described her talk as probably the least technical one the AES has ever had! She discussed the Art of Putting Lav Mics on Guests/Clients of the show. She noted the weakest link is end user — in this case the guest; and that trust needs to be built. She included slides that displayed some of the creative ways mics were placed on guests. Near the end of her talk she displayed accessories used for placing mics, including different types of tape; headsets; and even adhesive remover. She also had a small collection of legacy mic clips. She concluded by providing a demonstration of placing mics with Ike Zimbel (who spoke later in the meeting). An extensive Q&A followed.
Rob Poretti spoke next about the 600 MHz transition entitled "The State of Where We Are and How to Mitigate the Results of the Spectrum Loss". Canada and the US are re-purposing the 600 MHz band by repacking existing over-the-air TV stations in lower frequencies the so that 314-698 MHz will be redeployed for commercial mobile services. The reason this band is so important is due to wave propagation, antenna design, and it's the last bit of "desirable spectrum" available for auction. Some ways mitigate the effects were moving wireless intercom to non-TV UHF space; switch to digital or hybrid digital technologies for mics/IEM/IFB's; filter out-of-band spectrum; and moving non-critical devices to wired technology. A Q&A session followed.
After a break, Ike Zimbel spoke about the challenges of a recent large stadium tour with a "major artist". He began by acknowledging Karyn's and Rob's presentations.
With the aid of slides, he outlined some of the challenges for the show and himself including: IEM's not working, weak back line RX, the "video wall", learning over 30 peoples' names and roles, figuring out original design goals and shows needs, and to make it all work quickly. The design goals were to have distinct TX and RX zones for the main stage, band riser, backstage, and SL and SR "B" states at delay towers.
Ike walked the audience through troubleshooting and solutions, antenna selection and placement in all the zones. The complete antenna list comprised a total of 39 mics: 14 TX and 25 RX. He gave a rundown of a typical 'day' including set up and frequency programming; and included screenshots of the software used.
A short Q&A followed.
Executive Chair Alan Clayton handed the presenters complimentary Toronto AES coffee mugs and Certificates of Appreciation at the close of the meeting.