Wireless Mics – An Interview with Bob Lowig

In Web Articlesby tfwm

Q:Discuss issues like frequency interference, frequency agile systems, transmitter types, receiver types, and potentially how you as a manufacturer get around these problems.

BL:In today’s RF environment the word is crowded. Based on the frequency bands that the FCC have allocated for the low level transmission of audio for entertainment, and the number of manufactures trying to gain a piece of the market, the problem of frequency interference is paramount. That coupled with the fact that the FCC can re-delegate the frequency bands at will, sometimes without effective notification, complicates the manufactures design and manufacturing practices even more.

On way manufacturers have found to deal with the problem is to design and produce wireless products that have the ability to be tuned to a multiple of frequencies in a variety of band widths (frequency agility). Almost all the products offered today from reputable manufactures have this as a standard feature.

Q: How has wireless microphone technology progressed over the past five years?

BL:We have seen a number of technological advances in wireless products that have enhance and simplified the user experience. One in particular is the advent of Infra Red tuning of wireless transmitters. In the past, a user would need to push buttons or rotate dials to tune a transmitter. Now when a receiver is tuned to a specific frequency that information can be sent to the transmitter via an infra red light beams. The transmitter accepts these beams as a command and tunes itself to that frequency. This eliminates the possibility of mistakes or failure of the buttons or dials.

Another advancement is the ability of the transmitter to be turned on and off without objectionable pops being generated at the audio out put of the receiver. Often called pre squelch or auto off squelch, the transmitter can safely be turned on or off without creating unwanted audio pops in the system.

Q: Have any developments been made recently to rectify the upcoming issues with frequency over-population?

BL:One of the remedies we’re seeing right now for frequency over-population is being handled by the FCC. Periodically, the FCC allocates a new frequency band on which wireless products can operate. Manufactures are constantly monitoring the FCC and planning the production of their wireless products to operate in these frequencies. However, this is only a temporary fix. Technology will still need to be created that will allow more systems to operate simultaneously without cross interference.

Q: What are the main things a church needs to know about wireless systems before installing one?

BL:When selecting a wireless system there are certain features that one should look for. These include; high quality audio, interference free operation, pop less on/off switches, long battery life, true diversity reception, automatic channel scan, infra red tuning of transmitters, LCD displays showing battery status on the receiver. Churches should also consider using contractor to install their wireless system – especially if they are located in an urban or suburban area where multiple frequencies are being utilized simultaneously. A good contractor in the business of selling and installing wireless microphones will have a working knowledge of the principles of its operation and the equipment to properly analyze and set up a system depending on the environment it is being installed. Most contractors will use a frequency analyzer and run a frequency sweep of the room to determine if there is any spurious Radio Frequency (RF) interference. Armed with this information they can select the proper frequencies to avoid this interference.