Lessons in mixing drums: on a StudioLive

PreSonus is introducing a new digital console. It's the first small mixer (at 16 channels) that I've seen that looks like it's been really well thought out. It's got both studio and live features on it, and it sure looks like a winner.

John Mills talks about it in this raw video footage. The session here is more about mixing drums in church than about the mixer, but it's still interesting.

AT's Solution: Ultra Wideband (UWB) Technology

This is Audio Technica's proposal for dealing with the white space issue: Ultra Wideband wireless transmission: using a "a series of short nano-second pulses which occupy an instantaneous bandwidth of 500 MHz,:" they utilize the 6.4 GHz band. Because of the high band and low RF power (40 nanowatts), there are some severe distance limitations. But this is brand new technology, and it's a solution! Hats off to AT for the new technology.

This is their press release:

Audio-Technica has partnered with Multispectral Solutions, Inc.® (MSSI®), the industry leader in the development of Ultra Wideband systems for communications, radar and geo-positioning, to introduce this new application of UWB technology.

A-T’s SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband wireless microphone system represents the first commercial sound implementation of UWB technology, which has recently been licensed for commercial use by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Ultra Wideband technology allows the wireless transmission of data in extremely short-duration pulses over a wide spectrum of frequencies. Instead of utilizing conventional channels and carrier frequencies, UWB technology uses a series of short nano-second pulses which occupy an instantaneous bandwidth of 500 MHz within the 6 GHz frequency spectrum.

The signals, in precisely timed sequences, result in the reliable transmission of information near noise-floor levels. The “decoding” of these pulses requires the specialized technology incorporated into the SpectraPulse system – making SpectraPulse inherently secure and preventing signal interception by other wireless systems. For a higher level of security, Audio-Technica offers an optional encryption package that meets the NIST-approved (National Institute of Standards and Technology) AES 128-bit encryption standard developed by the U.S. government for securing sensitive material.

This press release is from AT's website.
AT's white paper on the technology is here.
Wireless for conference room application is shown here.


What This Means For Wireless Microphone Users
November 18, 2008

The FCC has finally released its rules allowing a new class of unlicensed consumer electronic products to operate in locally unused TV channels. These have previously been referred to as white space devices (WSD) but are now called TV Band Devices (TVBDs). They will mainly be used as broadband access devices.
TVBD are categorized as:

1) Fixed
These are allowed to operate with effective radiating power up to 4W on channels 2-51, with the exceptions of channels 3, 4, and 37.

2) Personal/Portable
They are restricted to channels 21-51, and are also not allowed in channel 37 (reserved channel for radio astronomy and medical telemetry). They are limited to 100mW operating power or 40 mW if operating in a channel adjacent to an active station. This moderate power will reduce their range and therefore the possibility to cause interference.

Licensed operation of wireless mics takes precedence over TVBD. TVBD must coordinate around active licensed wireless mic systems.

The rules include several safeguards to avoid interference to wireless microphones:

  • Spectrum Sensing
TVBDs must include the ability to listen to the airwaves to sense wireless microphones (in addition to TV stations). Until they can demonstrate through “proof of performance” that they can reliably sense wireless mics and avoid causing interference they must also use a:
  • Geolocation/Database system
TVBDs must use location sensing in conjunction with a database of registered broadcast license assignments. The database will also include a list of protected areas for wireless microphones such as entertainment venues and sporting events. TVBDs must first access the database to obtain a list of permitted channels in the area before operating. A TVBD that lacks this capability can operate only under the direct control of a TVBD that has it.
  • Reserved channels
Personal/ Portable devices will be barred from channels 14-20 (470 – 512 MHz). In addition, in 13 major markets where certain channels between 14 and 20 are used for land mobile (municipal and public safety) operations, two channels between 21 and 51 will be reserved and available for wireless microphones. These will be the first open (non-TV) channels above and below channel 37.

This means, at minimum, 16 wireless systems (8 in each TV channel) can be used simultaneously in any venue. When using our equipment with high linearity (extreme suppression of harmonic distortion known as intermodulation) such as our 3000 and 5000 series equipment, the number increases to at least 20 systems (10 in each TV channel). Protected areas will be able to operate many more channels.

Multi stage and studio properties can also effectively increase the number of systems in use through:

1) Physical distance and transmitter output power management

This can be augmented by a balance of other techniques such as shif
ted coordinated frequency sets, zone isolation (natural or enhanced shielding between rooms), directional antennas, and filtered distribution systems.

2) Time multiplexing:

Using systems in different rooms at different times

The anticipation of these changes has caused a great deal of anxiety for many customers. However, when you choose Sennheiser, you not only get great hardware, you get service and support. To help manage customers through this transition and assure they can purchase with confidence, we will be introducing several new service and support programs. In the meantime, we invite you to register at our website, www.sennheiserusa.com/spectrumreallocation, for a free initial consultation. A Sennheiser representative will contact you, assess your current list of equipment and make recommendations to ensure reliable operation of all your wireless audio equipment.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you for your continued support.

Joe Ciaudelli
Sennheiser Electronic Corp.
One Enterprise Drive
Old Lyme, CT 06371
860-434-9190, ext. 508

What’s happening with 700 MHz?

The FCC ruling yesterday really took most of us inside the Pro Audio industry. There was widespread expectation that the FCC would make a ruling on the now-ancient-history subject of 700 MHz, something to the effect that “It’s now illegal to use these frequencies.”

They didn’t.

I’m told by industry insiders that there is a proposal out there to that effect, but that the proposal has not been implemented. (What did happen, is that the big winner – Verizon – has had some hurdles removed that allow the FCC to accept their 28 Billion dollar payment and give them the licenses to use those frequencies.)

We all expect that they will make this decision sooner or later, and that wireless mics will eventually be disallowed in that frequency group.

But they have not yet made that decision.

And it may take time to make that decision. It will take time to implement that decision. And it will take time, I am told, for the technologies that require that decision to be developed.

Yes, the 700 MHz band has been sold. The new owners paid a lot of money for it. But they are not yet using their new purchase. In fact, they can’t yet.

The technology that will be used there has not been developed, licensed, manufactured or sold. In fact, it may not be entirely invented yet.

When that technology is implemented, many professionals are thinking that it will be something akin to cell technology: towers and high-powered broadcast signals blanketing the country. Assuming that this is the direction that they go, their high-powered signals will completely overwhelm the poor wireless microphone in your sanctuary or portable system. The rule won’t be necessary: mics will cease to work.

So there are two dates looming over us: the day that they tell us to stop using the frequencies, and the day that the frequencies cannot be used.

There are a lot of wireless users that will stop using their 700 MHz mics when the FCC says to. But I’ve heard from a number of individuals who say, “I’m going to keep using mine until they get the new technology in place. I have no interest in selling them!”

Indeed, the FCC appears to have no interest in policing the 700 MHz bandwidth for 50 milliwatt violators, so it appears that they will get away with it just fine.

The bottom line: don’t throw out your 700 MHz wireless just yet. It could be useful for a good long time yet.

FCC White Spaces Decision Kicks Off the Next Wireless Revolution

By Priya Ganapati Email

Television static is now broadband gold.

The Federal Communications Commission's decision to open up the 'white spaces' spectrum to unlicensed devices could usher in a new telecom revolution, say analysts.

Like WiFi, the availability of free, unregulated spectrum could create new technologies and new markets, bringing superfast wireless connectivity to the masses. Unlike WiFi, it could also put pressure on wireless carriers.

"All the PR spin and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) failed in the face of physics and the ground reality of engineering," says Sascha Meinrath, research director of the wireless future program at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan public policy think-tank.

"Opening up white spaces will lower the cost of communications by facilitating new technology, software and devices is an enormous win for public interest," he says.

White Spaces Winners

Intel: The company's chips could power many of the new devices on the white spaces spectrum.

Google: New services from Google could be offered on the new spectrum. Google could even end up becoming a broadband service provider, perhaps as part of a consortium.

Motorola/Philips/Dell: They are likely to create the hardware and the devices to access the broadband services on white spaces.

Consumers: More innovative products, more wireless choices, and higher wireless data speeds. Also, the use of white spaces could finally usher in the era of seamless roaming across technologies.

White Spaces Losers

Verizon/AT&T/Comcast: These companies have paid billions over the years to gain exclusive rights to the spectrum. Now they will have to fight new entrants who have no legacy costs to worry about.

Professional Audio Equipment Manufacturers: These companies, which have so far operated in the white spaces, will have to spend more to create equipment that will work in different areas of the spectrum. They will also have to spend more on testing their devices to avoid interference.

'White spaces' refers to the unused bits of spectrum between UHF television channels, which will no longer be needed when the United States abandons analog television broadcasting and goes all-digital in February, 2009.

But just how to use that spectrum was a hotly-contested battle that pitted technology companies against broadcasters and wireless audio equipment manufacturers.

Wireless microphones and other equipment used by broadcasters and event producers already use some of this spectrum, so those groups resisted the idea of letting unlicensed devices onto their airwaves, willy-nilly.

The FCC's latest decision means technology companies such as Google, Intel Motorola, Phillips and Dell -- which lobbied to "free the spectrum" so they could build data services on it -- will emerge as big winners.

Update 11/06: Dell has said it plans to launch white spaces capable laptops

Telecom carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and Comcast will feel the pain and be forced to adapt to a new reality, say analysts.

Verizon and AT&T have paid billions over the last few years for exclusive chunks of spectrum. Also, Sprint and Clearwire are creating a WiMax network that could also be threatened by white spaces-based broadband.

White-space frequencies are unlicensed, which means any company can use the spectrum. By contrast, wireless carriers have exclusive, licensed access to the frequencies that their phones use.

"White spaces could be a friend or foe of existing carriers," says Paul Gallant, an analyst with research wealth management firm The Stanford Group. "It might end up enabling carriers to enhance their retail offerings, or it could be used in completely new ways to undercut the existing business models."

Sprint declined to comment.

White spaces have been coveted by technology companies for their potential. The spectrum will allow wireless signals to travel two to three times farther than WiFi signals can today, including through obstacles.

Allowing for unlicensed use of white spaces means consumers will see a new generation of wireless broadband devices, said Craig Mundie, chief strategy officer for Microsoft, in a letter to members of the House of Representatives a few days ago.

It will enable low wireless broadband service in rural areas, self-forming mesh networks capable of routing traffic at speeds of 20 megabits per second and above within the mesh; and wireless distribution of content throughout the home and among devices, said Mundie.

That's exactly what consumers need today, agrees Meinrath. "All those problems of diversity on the airwaves and access to internet broadband connectivity are predicated on the artificial scarcity of airwaves," he says. "They will be alleviated."

The future of communications is in seamless roaming across not just networks but also technologies such as wireline broadband, WiFi and cellular networks.

"The devices of the future will allow you to completely un-tether yourself," says Meinrath.

Already Google has applied for a patent that would allow the company to create such a device.

Chip companies such as Intel are also likely to profit from opening up of white spaces. Intel could potentially develop chips that can ride over white spaces, much like the WiFi and WiMax-enabled chips it produces today.

The move could also mean that companies such as Motorola, Phillips and Dell could create new mobile devices that could become alternatives to smartphones or companions to notebooks.

For telecom service providers, it will be the beginning of a new world. Broadband connectivity over white spaces could change the telecom landscape much like WiFi did a few years ago.

Existing service providers will have to evolve fast or find themselves sinking as newer players, probably a consortium led by Google, enter the market.

"The key question is, who is going to pick up the ball and run with it?" says Gallant.

Meanwhile Cablevision is building out a mobile broadband service in New York using unlicensed spectrum that's not white space, says Gallant. If Cablevision's experiment succeeds Comcast, Verizon and other service providers could end up embracing white spaces.

As for Verizon's $4.7 billion winning bid earlier this year for the 700-MHz spectrum, it won't be an investment they are likely to regret.

"Verizon knew exactly what they were getting with that spectrum," says Gallant. "White spaces is just the opposite. It is very risky and may be hard to create a business model that will be truly successful on it."

from Wired magazine.

Airwaves Battle Pits Dolly Parton Against Google

SAN FRANCISCO — Tuesday marks the end of a battle that has lasted for more than two years, with each side predicting apocalyptic consequences should it lose.

Not the fight for the presidency. The one pitting Google against Dolly Parton.

The titan of Silicon Valley and the queen of Country are two of the many combatants in a high-tech dispute over precious slices of the nation’s airwaves. The issue comes to a head on Election Day, when the Federal Communications Commission votes on a proposal to make a disputed chunk of radio spectrum available for public use.

Google, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and other technology companies say the spectrum could be used by a whole new array of Internet-connected wireless gadgets. They say freeing it up would encourage innovation and investment in much the same way that the spread of Wi-Fi technology has. (This would, of course, generate more business for tech companies.)

But a coalition of old-guard media — from television networks to Broadway producers — is objecting to the proposal, saying it needs a closer look. The opponents argue that signals sent over those frequencies could interfere with broadcasts and wireless microphones at live productions.

The measure appears likely to pass, though its opponents have mounted a spirited late-stage lobbying effort supported by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, and others in Congress, the professional sports leagues, Las Vegas casinos, a coalition of rock musicians and, of late, Ms. Parton, who is soon to open a Broadway show called “9 to 5: The Musical.”

If the spectrum is set free, Ms. Parton says, chaos could reign on Broadway — in the form of static and other interference.

“The potential direct negative impact on countless people may be immeasurable,” Ms. Parton wrote in a letter last month to the F.C.C., urging it not to release the frequencies.

Ms. Parton got involved after she was contacted by the Broadway League, a theater-industry trade group that has lobbied the F.C.C. on the issue and coordinated support from performers. The trade group said Ms. Parton had been more engaged than other performers because she also was a producer of live shows.

In the digital era, airwaves carrying television, cellphone and wireless Internet signals are highly valuable. The F.C.C. regulates the spectrum and auctions off licenses for its use — in some cases for billions of dollars — to private companies. But in this case it is considering setting aside a free or “unlicensed” chunk for public use.

Tech companies argue that if it does so, entrepreneurs and innovators will create a new generation of devices that transmit signals farther and more reliably than Wi-Fi, which also relies on unlicensed spectrum. The technology could also handle cheap Internet-based phone calls.

“This could lead to Wi-Fi on steroids,” said Richard Whitt, a Washington lobbyist for Google on telecommunications issues. “It could become a ubiquitous nationwide broadband network.” The battle between the old- and new-media companies is a byproduct of an impending change in the way over-the-air TV signals are delivered. In February, TV stations will be required to switch over from analog broadcasting to digital, which is less susceptible to radio interference.

Since 2004, the F.C.C. has been studying whether it might make better use of some “white spaces,” TV frequencies that are not being used by broadcast channels. These frequencies have traditionally been left largely empty, because broadcasters send out such powerful signals that a buffer is needed between channels.

The theory behind the F.C.C. proposal is that handheld devices and other gadgets emit such low levels of power that their transmissions will not overlap or interfere with the digital TV signals. Plus, the proposal’s supporters say, devices can be made smart enough to sense when they might interfere with a broadcast signal and find another frequency.

The F.C.C. has been studying the potential for interference and found that most problems can be avoided through tight regulation of the new devices, said Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the F.C.C., who proposed the white space measure, and Michael J. Copps, a commissioner who supports it.

“Some want 100 percent certainty, and that’s kind of difficult to provide,” Mr. Copps said. But he added that he supported the measure because there was ample evidence that the new devices would not interfere, and that further study would amount to unnecessary delay.

“This unlicensed spectrum is going to be a tremendous force for innovation,” he said.

The five-member commission seems likely to approve the measure, according to several people involved in the agency’s internal discussions but who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Beneath the surface of the debate are shifts in politics and culture. Heavy Internet and computer adoption by consumers has given the technology industry lobby more power and prominence. At the same time, the broadcast industry has lost some of its lobbying sway as consumer tastes have changed and advertising dollars have flowed to the Internet.

Still, the National Association of Broadcasters, which represents 8,300 local and national television stations, is helping lead the effort to get the F.C.C. to postpone a decision on the measure.

Without more testing, “this could be a recipe for potentially massive interference into the television spectrum,” said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the broadcasting trade group, arguing that TV screens could go temporarily dark or that pictures could freeze. Broadcasters say the signal could even disrupt channels received over cable.

The interest of TV providers is different from that of Broadway theaters, which rely on wireless microphones to broadcast sound to the audience and for communication among crew members.

Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the Shubert Organization, a Broadway production company, said new gadgets that were designed to use the disputed frequencies could interfere with the 450 wireless microphones used in New York’s theater district. That could lead to static, he said, or worse — if, for instance, crew member communications were interfered with, causing an accident, like a falling set piece.

“There’s a danger element attached to this,” he said. “They are fooling with many aspects of American society under the pretext of helping get Internet access for parties that already have the greatest amount of Internet usage.”

Urging a delay on the vote, Mr. Schoenfeld added: “Why this is being rushed through at this time is mystifying.”

The wireless microphone technology used for Broadway shows and other events uses some of the same frequencies that regulators would like to open up for wireless data. But under the F.C.C. proposal, these incumbent users would be given first rights to the space.

In her letter to the F.C.C., Ms. Parton conceded that she did not understand all the technicalities of the debate. But based on the counsel of others, she concluded that the potential problems were serious. She called the proposal “a dangerous and shortsighted answer to a highly complicated question.” The Broadway League and Ms. Parton’s representatives said she was too busy to comment further.

For his part, Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, sent his own letter to the F.C.C. recently.

“We are eight days away from a vote that could transform the way we connect to the Internet,” he wrote. “The time for study and talk is over. The time for action has arrived.”


10. It's a great excuse to skip work/school. (j.k.- sorta...;)
9. All the cool kids are doing it.
8. Starbucks in the morning on our way! Mmmmmm. Coofffffffffeeeeeeeee....
7. You get a lanyard with your name on it...AND you get to KEEP it!
6. You have always wanted to know what the inside of the church van looks like.
5. Lunch in a box never looked so good??
4. Did I mention we are stopping for coffee??
3. "Because I said so..." - (reason submitted by your mom) (O.K. Seriously..)
2. We get a great opportunity to hang together/learn together/eat together/sing silly van songs...and encourage each other in our gifting and calling in Worship!
1. Investing time in relationships with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ as well as the God given talents and calling on our lives and our Church Home is never ever a waste of time. Jesus comes with us. Wink



When: November 14th & 15th (Friday and Saturday)

Where: Overlake Christian Church - Renton, WA

How Much: $134.00 per person (not including food/coffee/instructional materials you may want to buy)