FORT WAYNE, INDIANA: Tim Eldridge of dBA Acoustics, a respected consulting and design services firm, recently helped raise the roof of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum to allow for bigger audiences and better sound throughout. Initially a 10,000-seat indoor stadium, primarily used for events such as hockey games and various traveling shows, the venue's owner felt it was time to fully renovate and increase seating capacity by a third. This required the removal of the venue's roof. It was cut free and raised with cables while upper seating sections and suites were built underneath.
Today, the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is a 13,000-seat - and far more welcoming - live event destination. It even sounds better than before, thanks to Eldridge and his simple, yet capable acoustic measurement system featuring an Earthworks M30 microphone, SIA SmaartLive software, the TerraSonde Audio Toolbox, and - the rig's linchpin - the Lectrosonics TM400 wireless system for test and measurement.
"It was the first time that we had used the TM400," recalls Eldridge, who purchased the Lectrosonics system shortly before this comprehensive acoustical and audio system design project began. "In the past, we had used wired microphones and long cable runs. In such a project, you simply couldn't get a cabled mic to all the seats without a very long cable. Going wireless surely saved us a great deal of time."
The project took two to three days for Eldridge and dBA, who measured each necessary component of the distributed audio PA system. "There are a couple of different loudspeaker rings covering different areas of the audience," he explains. "It was somewhat symmetrical, so we didn't have to get the microphone in front of every box, but one component of each symmetrical pair. We did one speaker, then copied the settings to the other box. We'd then EQ it, set up compression/limiting, make sure that each was flat and sounded good, then move on, setting delay times as we went."
The quality of wired audio versus wireless audio was never an issue - there simply is no measurable difference, insists Eldridge. He wasn't worried about it from the onset of the project, either, since he's come to know that Lectrosonics gear performs to their printed specifications. "We had reviewed the specs on the TM400 and at one point, we hooked up a wired microphone just to see what it would do. We wired the same Earthworks M30 that we were using with the TM400 and both were essentially the same frequency response."
The Lectrosonics TM400 Test and Measurement System replaces long cable runs between calibrated microphone and test equipment and features 24-bit, 88.2kHz digital signal handling for compandor-free audio. A receiver and transmitter set, the TM400 system offers 256 synthesized UHF frequencies as well as a rigid all-metal construction.
The low-noise R400A receiver is a robust RF front-end that offers a balanced XLR audio output and SmartTuning with a graphic display. The UH400TM transmitter has selectable 5, 15, or 48-volt powering and a strong 100mW of RF output power for long range operation. The TM400 package comes enclosed within a water-resistant case. For an additional cost, the R400A receiver is available with a rack-mount front panel.
While Eldridge feels that such tools as the TM400 make his job easier than in the past, he insists that all such technological advances require well-informed experience and knowledge of their performance characteristics for successful operation.
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.