Three weeks until approxmiately 1/4 wireless mics become illegal.

FCC Consumer Advisory


Under a new FCC rule, anyone who uses a wireless microphone (or similar device) that operates in the 700 MHz Band must stop operating their wireless microphone (or similar device) no later than June 12, 2010.

All users of 700 MHz Band wireless microphones (and similar devices) who wish to continue to use their equipment – including users such as theaters, churches, schools, conference centers, theme parks, and musicians – will need to retune or replace if necessary, their equipment no later than June 12, 2010. Wireless microphones (and similar devices) that operate outside of the 700 MHz Band are not affected by the FCC’s actions and may continue to operate.

Why did the FCC make this rule?

Certain wireless microphones (and similar devices) have operated in frequencies that are needed for public safety. When this equipment was first designed, the frequencies they used were in between the frequencies that television stations used to broadcast television programs. With the completion of the digital television (DTV) transition on June 12, 2009, television stations no longer use the frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz (the 700 MHz Band) for broadcast. These frequencies are now being used by public safety entities (such as police, fire and emergency services) and by commercial providers of wireless services (such as wireless broadband services).

The wireless microphones (and similar devices) that had been operating in the old TV broadcast channels can cause harmful interference to these public safety and wireless consumer services. Therefore, all users of wireless microphones (and similar devices) that operate on any of the frequencies in the 700 MHz Band – including both licensed users (under Part 74) and unlicensed users – have to stop operating in this band.

The FCC is only prohibiting the use of wireless microphones (and similar devices) that operate in the 700 MHz Band. You may continue to use wireless microphones (and similar devices) that operate on other broadcast frequencies. Microphones and similar devices with cords are not affected by the FCC’s decision..

What is a “Similar Device” to a Wireless Microphone?

Equipment that is a “similar device” to a wireless microphone is also known as equipment for a “low power auxiliary station”. Typically these devices can transmit over distances of 100 meters. Examples devices include wireless intercoms, wireless in-ear monitors (“IEM”), wireless audio instrument links, and wireless cueing equipment (aka “IFB”.)

How to Determine if Your Equipment is Operating in the 700 MHz Band

Some wireless microphones (and similar devices) are marked with the frequency the device uses. If information on the device indicates that it operates on frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz then the device uses the 700 MHz Band and may NOT be used after June 12, 2010.

In addition, the FCC’s website provides information about which wireless microphones currently operate in the 700 MHz Band at Consumers may look up equipment by manufacturer. The website also includes information about how to contact manufacturers for more detailed information about wireless microphone equipment. In addition, interested parties may call the FCC at 888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) where staff will be able to help consumers determine if their equipment is affected.

Consumers may also be able to contact equipment manufacturers for more information about their equipment. Contact information for the equipment manufacturers will be on the website at

Retuning or Replacing Existing 700 MHz Band Equipment May be Possible in Some Instances

Some wireless microphone (and similar device) equipment may be able to be retuned to operate outside of the 700 MHz Band. Consumers should contact the manufacturer to determine if retuning is possible and if it is cost-effective. If the equipment cannot be retuned to operate outside of the 700 MHz Band, the consumer will need to purchase new equipment. Wireless microphones and other electronic equipment should be recycled. Consumers should check with their local household hazardous waste collection program for disposal information. [CSG Note: many wireless systems can be traded in for significant rebates on replacement systems.]

Some Operations May Need To Stop Earlier Than June 12, 2010

In certain instances, wireless microphone (and similar device) users may be required to stop using their 700 MHz Band devices immediately. In other instances there may be a 60 day notice informing users that they must stop using their devices.

When Use Must Stop Immediately
All wireless microphone users that cause harmful interference to a 700 MHz public safety or commercial licensee must cease operations immediately. If a consumer is informed that the device the consumer is using is causing harmful interference, the consumer must cease operations immediately.

60 Day Notice to Stop Use (Early Clearing Process)
In some instances, public safety and commercial licensees may need to initiate their services in the 700 MHz Band before June 12, 2010. In these instances, users of 700 MHz Band wireless microphones will be required to stop using their devices prior to June 12, 2010. This is called the “Early Clearing Process.”

There are two ways that wireless microphone (and similar device) users may become aware of an Early Clearing Process that affects them. In both instances, wireless microphone users are required to cease operations within 60 days of the notice.

1) The FCC will issue a Public Notice identifying markets where wireless microphone operations must cease. The Public Notices and summary information will be available on the FCC’s website or
2) Any 700 MHz Band public safety or commercial licensee may notify any entity operating low power auxiliary stations that the licensee is going to initiate use of their spectrum.

In the event that both of these notice provisions are used, the wireless microphone user will be required to stop operations based on the earlier of the two termination dates.

What Happens If Someone Does Not Stop Using a 700 MHz Band Wireless Microphone?

Using the 700 MHz Band for a wireless microphone (or a similar device) after June 12, 2010 could be extremely dangerous and could even be life threatening. Police and fire departments, and other public safety groups, use frequencies in the 700 MHz Band. Interference from wireless microphones can affect the ability of public safety groups to receive information over the air and respond to emergencies. Harmful interference to these communications could put you or public safety personnel in grave danger. In addition, use of your microphone can cause unlawful interference to consumer services provided using the 700 MHz Band.

Operation of wireless microphones in violation of these rules may subject the user to substantial monetary forfeitures, in rem arrest action against the offending radio equipment and criminal sanctions, including imprisonment. Because any operation in violation of these rules creates a danger of interference to important radio communications services and may subject the operator to severe penalties, this advisory emphasizes the importance of complying strictly with these legal requirements.

Part 74 Licensees

Under the Commission’s Part 74 rules, certain licensees were permitted to operate their wireless microphones (or similar devices) in the 700 MHz Band as well as in other specified bands. After June 12, 2010, Part 74 licensees will no longer be permitted to operate in the 700 MHz Band. Part 74 licensees may continue to operate in the other, non-700 MHz Bands identified in their licenses, including in the core TV bands (i.e. channels 2-51, excluding channel 37), without further Commission action. For more information please go to

For this or any other consumer publication in an accessible format
(electronic ASCII text, Braille, large print, or audio) please write or call us
at the address or phone number below, or send an e-mail to

To receive information on this and other FCC consumer topics through the Commission's
electronic subscriber service, visit

This document is for consumer education purposes only and is not intended to
affect any proceedings or cases involving this subject matter or related issues.


FCC Logo Federal Communications Commission · Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau · 445 12th St. S.W. · Washington, DC 20554
1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) · TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) · Fax: 1-866-418-0232 ·

Courtesy the FCC. Please note that the lovely formatting is theirs, not mine!

For new and legal wireless: see here.
For rebates on new and legal wireless: see here.

David McLain | The Wireless Guy | CCI SOLUTIONS
Be seen. Be heard.
PO Box 481 / 1247 85th Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98507-0481
Voice: 800/426-8664 x255 / Fax: 800/399-8273
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Using EQ On The Church System Mixing Console

Here's how to get comfortable with your console's equalization (EQ) controls.

by Joe Wisler

“You know, I’ve been doing sound here at my church for about two years now, and there are a couple of things that aren’t quite clear to me. First, where’s the bass and treble control? And, what are these knobs for - the ones on the console labeled high, mid and low?”

church sound console

I’ve heard questions like this posed more than once by people who do sound at their churches. And they’re great questions. Remember - we’re all in this together!

The short answer is that the knobs are for an audio process called equalization, typically shortened to EQ. Together, the knobs make up the console’s EQ section, which allows the operator to more finely tailor the sound.

Let’s start by taking a look at the EQ section. (Refer to the graphic example below right.)

This image shows a typical example of a rather basic EQ section found on each channel of consoles that are very commonly used with church sound systems.

Note that every knob and button included on a console channel - EQ section and every other one -apply only to that specific channel, not the entire console.

As you can see, there are three separate EQ knobs on the channel, one each for high frequencies, mid-range frequencies, and low frequencies. If we turn any of these knobs to the left, we are “turning down” those frequencies, and if we turn any of them to the right, we are “turning up” those frequencies.

Note that in audio terminology, this is also sometimes referred to as “boost” and “cut” – as in “boosting” (turning up) some frequencies and “cutting” (turning down) some frequencies.

A Simple Way
It’s important to understand the frequencies controlled by these three primary knobs. A simple way is to equate it with a home stereo: the high frequency knob equates to those frequencies controlled by the home stereo’s treble knob, and the low-frequency knob equates to the home stereo’s bass knob.

Most console EQ high frequency knobs are centered at about 12,000 hertz, usually abbreviated to 12 kHz (kilohertz ), and this is a measure of cycles per second. (In this case, 12 kHz equals 12,000 cycles per second. The more cycles, the higher in pitch the frequency.)


For musicians, 12 kHz translates to the note F-sharp in the ninth octave on the piano. Or in simple layman’s terms, 12 kHz is pretty high.

What we’re trying to achieve with high frequencies are things like adding “crispness” to an instrument or taking the harsh “s” sounds out of a speaking or singing voice. On most consoles, this knob controls what is called a shelf filter. Starting at the 12 kHz frequency, turning this

control will effect all frequencies above 12 kHz.

In other words, by turning this knob to the right, frequencies above 12 kHz are boosted, normally with a maximum boost of 12 dB per octave. One octave means affecting all frequencies up to 24 kHz. Turning it up too much can cause serious damage to the high-frequency section of loudspeakers, so caution is advised.

And, it follows that turning this knob to the left will cut these same frequencies. Just remember: using this control effects a broad frequency range so be aware of when cutting or boosting - do so only in small steps.

Moving To The Lows
Much the same is true of the low-frequency knob. It’s usually centered at about 80 Hz, and is used to enhance the bass level and signature of vocals and low-frequency instruments. This is also a shelf type filter, like the high frequency control knob, and it controls about a two-octave area.

It boosts low frequencies at 80 Hz to 160 Hz, and cuts low frequencies at 80 Hz to 40 Hz. Again, every time the frequency is doubled or halved, it represents one octave of frequency range.

Excessive low frequency adjustment is far less likely to cause damage to loudspeakers. However; because low-frequency signals are made up of larger sound waves that tend to go “everywhere” and often cause feedback, we can use this knob to cut those frequencies back.

In general, with microphones on console channels being used for vocalists and pastors, you will want to turn down the low frequency on those channels to reduce the tendency for low-end rumble, and also to help speech intelligibility. (Eliminating the rumble will bring more clarity to the vocal signal.)

Another feature offered on some consoles is a low-cut filter on each channel. Pressing this button does just what the name implies – it cuts the low-frequency EQ.

A Combination
Now, what about the mid-range knob? Nothing that corresponds to the mid-range can be found on most home stereos - rather, mid-range on the home stereo is a combination of the bass and treble knobs.

However, on the console, the mid-range control doesn’t work exactly the same as the high- and low-frequency controls. When it is boosted or cut, it adjusts the frequencies on both sides of the center frequency.

So if the center frequency of the mid-range control is 3 kHz, it will effect frequencies as high as 6 kHz and as low as 1.5 kHz. By the way, this two-octave range of frequencies comprises most of what we hear, and is also at the heart of most human voices.

The overall mid-range frequency band can be as low as 100 Hz and up to as high as 3 kHz. A bass instrument typically plays from about 30 Hz up to about 240 Hz, while a bass vocalist (think gospel quartet) is in the 55 Hz to 500 Hz.

All vocalists, from the lowest frequencies to the highest, will therefore range from about 55 Hz and up, all the way to about 1.7 kHz (think soprano). This is then the frequency range where we can make the voice of the person speaking or singing sound crisp and clear (or dull and lifeless).

Note that some consoles are now also equipped with a “mid-low” frequency and/or “mid-high” frequency knobs. Simply, these knobs provide the operator with even more ability to adjust and fine-tune the crucial frequencies in the mid-range. (Again, it’s the frequency range of what we hear most.)

Just A Little Time
So, how do you get comfortable using these controls? It’s not difficult and can be fun if you enjoy your calling and have a little time. Just plug a mic into the console start to speak into it, and set all three knobs straight up to “0” - no cut, no boost.

While talking, cut and then boost the high knob, and note the effect it has on your voice. Then do this with each control so you can hear what happens in each frequency range.

There is no magic here, and not much to fear unless you like to listen at real high levels. By the way, I highly recommend doing this too. Turn it up until some feedback is produced and see which frequency range cuts out the feedback. (This is best done when others aren’t present.)

Also play some music through the system and do the same cuts and boosts. You’ll soon be surprised at what you hear and don’t hear.

The point is to understand the frequencies and what they correlate to, and to be up-to-speed on using the EQ knobs to tailor the sound for pleasing and effective results.

The next time you’re working “live” with a person speaking or performance, you’ll then know how to make it sound even better.

Joe Wisler has worked in professional audio for more than 30 years and has also been involved with church sound and technical ministry throughout that period. Courtesy ProSoundWeb

David McLain | The Church Mixer Guy | CCI SOLUTIONS
Be seen. Be heard.
PO Box 481 / 1247 85th Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98507-0481
Voice: 800/426-8664 x255 / Fax: 800/399-8273
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