Of all the professions out there likely to run afoul of the law, an IT buyer or AV integrator probably doesn’t come to the top of your mind. But, thanks to new FCC regulations about bandwidth use, your AV solutions—particularly your wireless microphones whether they’re in conference rooms, auditoriums or city council chambers—could be out of compliance. For that, and probably a few other reasons, too, it might be time for your organization to consider a sound system upgrade.
What is the new FCC requirement?
The new regulations from the FCC focus specifically on wireless microphones, but could impact your AV sound system as a whole. Due to increasing demand from other wireless services such as wireless Internet, TV band spectrum in the 600 MHz band has been repurposed and will no longer be available to wireless microphones. Wireless microphones currently operating in the band (the 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz frequencies) have to cease operation by July 13, 2020 and may be required to stop operating in that band sooner if they start to interfere with new wireless licenses in that band.
The good news is, the FCC has opened up new opportunities for licensed wireless microphone operation on different parts of the spectrum outside the TV broadcast band, including in the 169-172 MHz band and portions of the 900 MHz band, the 1435-1525 MHz, and the 6875-7125 MHz bands. Additional bands have also been opened for unlicensed wireless microphone operators.
And, wait! There’s even more good news. To help with the cost of system upgrades this new regulation will require, and to incentivize organizations to make the change faster, the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate lets you trade in your existing, ineligible system for a rebate on a new, eligible system. Your existing system doesn’t have to be a Shure model to qualify for the rebate. That’s a deal good enough to make you consider whether the time might be right for a full or partial sound system upgrade.
How do I know the time is right for an upgrade?
Sounds systems can be made up of any number of components including wireless microphones and receivers, and can be found in a wide variety of spaces including auditoriums and performance venues, places of worship, corporate conference rooms, public lobbies and college classrooms and lecture halls. Each type of location will have specific audio needs and considerations, but there are some universal indications that you are due for a sound system upgrade.
- No one can hear you. “Can you hear me now?” was a catchy advertising slogan, but it gets pretty old pretty fast if you hear it over and over again on a conference call or during a lecture. An audio system’s chief job is to make things, well, audible, so if your sound is garbled, unreliable or otherwise unclear, it’s time for new components or a new system all together.
- Your system is jacked. If your audio system requires phone jacks or other cords, it’s time for an upgrade. Corded systems are less reliable, have poorer audio quality and are becoming so rare that companies usually won’t fix or replace them.
- Your equipment makes you look bad. How many microphones are in your conference room? Can everyone sit comfortably in their chairs and talk or does everyone have to huddle around one mic and fight to be heard? Does your audio come in and out so employees, clients or students miss too much of what you say? Do you have cheap computer speakers cluttering up your conference table, instead of sleeker, more far-reaching speakers installed on your wall or ceiling? If your organization’s image suffers because of the quality of your AV systems, it’s probably time for an upgrade.
What upgrades are the most worthwhile?
Even with savings from the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate, upgrading your sound system can still be an expensive undertaking. If you don’t have the budget for an enterprise overhaul, here are the system components that give you the most bang for your buck.
- Microphone systems. Microphones capture the sound of your meeting or lecture or worship service so having a good one is a must. Microphones are also a good place to start because the latest microphone technology can integrate with streaming and webcasting platforms giving you a lot more flexibility in how your audio is used and where it goes.
- Control systems. If your audio system needs to fill a variety of needs—for example, in a multi-purpose room that hosts small meetings and large musical performances—an updated audio control system is the best place to start. A centralized, modern control system will let you support one large audio event or run multiple smaller events simultaneously without sacrificing clarity or quality.
- Speaker systems. High quality microphones are critical for capturing clear audio and upgraded speakers are essential to broadcasting it. Especially as more employees work remotely and use their own devices for corporate work, quality, durable speakers will help you bridge the audio gap and make it easy to hear anyone no matter where they’re talking from.
For starters, don’t leave money on the table! If you are eligible for the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate, act today. Once you have those savings in hand, peruse some of the latest sound system products to see what works best with your upgrade plans. Need help making up your mind? There’s always someone nearby to help.