Al Roker Productions Reaps The Benefits Of Lectrosonics Wireless

TAI Audio provides wireless infrastructure for major vocabulary contest

Tom Muccio of TAI AudioOrlando, FL… An educational outreach program of Reader's Digest magazine, the Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge is a vocabulary contest designed for schools nationwide with participation from any or all of grades four through eight. This vitally important academic experience enables students from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, U.S Territories, and the Department of Defense Dependent Schools, as well as home-schooled students to participate in one of the most visible competitions/learning experiences of its kind. Produced by Al Roker Productions—with Mr. Roker serving as the competition’s Quiz Master—the event relies heavily on wireless communication and, for this, Lectrosonics equipment is the wireless brand of choice.

This year’s competition was videotaped May 12-14 on sound stage #24 at Universal Studios Orlando. With many of the technical aspects being handled via a mobile recording truck, this event was a 6-8 camera shoot, recorded live before a studio audience. Doing a show in the midst of numerous other sound stages—many of which had other shows in production—RF interference is an issue sound professionals must frequently contend with. Addressing those challenges can be a thorny issue, but as Tom Muccio, Sales Associate and Field Sound Engineer for TAI Audio, the firm charged with supplying the wireless equipment for the event explained, the choice of Lectrosonics wireless receivers and beltpack transmitters was the right decision.

“Whenever you have wireless mics on a sound stage,” explained Muccio, “you must always be prepared for the possibility of RF interference. Not only were we working amidst several other sound stages, we were at Universal Studios theme park, which in itself is an RF jungle, so the potential for RF interference was significant. For the National Word Power Challenge, we had ten contestants plus Al Roker on wireless systems. The goal here was to have clean audio with absolutely no RF hiss or dropouts. In my many years of experience with such projects, Lectrosonics equipment has consistently provided great audio and RF performance. I felt absolutely confident this gear would be the right choice for the job, and it was. We didn’t have any trouble at all.”

For the competition, there were twelve systems consisting of Lectrosonics UCR411a Digital Hybrid Wireless™ compact receivers and UM400 Digital Hybrid Wireless UHF beltpack transmitters. Tram TR50 lavalier microphones were interconnected with the Lectrosonics gear. Additionally, a Lectrosonics T1 IFB interruptable foldback transmitter with an R1a receiver was used for Al Roker. The Lectrosonics T1 IFB transmitter and the companion R1a IFB receiver enabled Mr. Roker to monitor program audio and receive cues from directors and other production personnel.

Beyond the necessity for clear, consistent RF performance and world-class audio quality, Muccio also finds the Lectrosonics interface to be first-rate. “The equipment is very easy to work with,” notes Muccio. “I can place the 411A into a scan, and it then shows me where the available frequencies are. I also use the Lectrosonics website to determine where the various TV stations in a given area are. In doing so, I can avoid those frequency blocks. The result is great sounding audio and strong RF signal. The tight RF front end on the 411 system is both very dependable and very predictable. These are great performance qualities. Once you set it, you needn’t worry about it.”

Before turning his attention back to an upcoming project, Muccio commented on his experience with Lectrosonics’ customer and technical support. “Lectrosonics has always been extremely responsive. Everyone at the company—in particular, our sales representative—goes out their way to assist their customers. In the eighteen years I’ve been working with their equipment, I’ve never encountered any performance problems. If you’re thinking about wireless equipment I can assure you Lectrosonics gear is both very dependable and user friendly. Their products are extremely consistent and are built to last. You just can’t go wrong.”

About TAI Audio
Headquartered in Orlando, FL, TAI Audio provides audio and communications solutions for the broadcast, film, and video industries. Clients include network television producers, production companies, special event and convention groups, sporting event companies, churches, and law enforcement. The company is also a design/build firm for the installation market. For additional information, visit TAI Audio online at www.taiaudio.com.

About Lectrosonics

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.