So Many Choices...
Which Wireless System is Right for You?
Veteran Technical Director and CCI Solutions Church Relations Director, Duke DeJong shares an outline of how to select the right wireless system! Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions. & www.twitter.com/ccisolutions
"I need a wireless system." Such a simple statement, and one we get often here at CCI Solutions. Unfortunately the question that follows is not always as simple, "Which wireless system?" There are many to choose from and they all have different pros and cons. Our passion is to serve you and your church by helping you get the right gear you need, so let's take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of each category of wireless system.
Entry Level Wireless Systems
While the cheaper wireless systems of yesterday had limited functionality, today's entry level wireless are more capable than ever. When looking at wireless systems for small rooms (under 200 seats), where you only need a handful of wireless mics in close proximity, and even many portable applications, systems like the Audio-Technica 2000 Series, Shure's PGX series and the new Sennheiser XS series will be more than adequate in providing you great wireless sound. You may also want to consider entry level wireless systems for harsh environments such as youth rooms or for baptismals. You get a solid wireless sound and if a mic gets broken or dropped in the water, it's a relatively inexpensive replacement.
Mid Level Wireless Systems
The vast majority of churches will likely need mid level wireless systems. Systems like Shure's SLX and ULX series and Sennheiser's EW 100 G3, 300 and 500 series and Audio-Technica's 3000b series have great range and good sound, providing the right solutions at a budget that won't break the bank. And if you are like many churches who need multiple wireless systems, most of these mid level systems can use 10-12 systems or more without complication. If you're pushing the range of the wireless systems or have many systems together in one room, most of these systems offer the ability to use antenna distribution systems to help increase range, improve frequency response and clean up the antenna clutter.
High End Wireless Systems
When high performance and absolute reliability are critical to what you do, or if you have a large number of wireless channels, high end wireless systems will be worth the extra money you spend. Systems like Sennheiser's 2000, 3000 and 5000 series, Shure's UHF-R and new Axient systems don't come cheap, but the performance and capability of these systems tend to be worth it to the power user. Usually adding additional features from the mid level systems, higher end systems offer networkability, enhanced configuration, greater wireless range and increased channel count.
Is It Time To Go Digital?
Over the last few years we've seen everything from TVs to our music players go digital. While there are still many benefits with staying analog (less compression, stronger wireless transmission, etc), digital is here to stay and for good reason. Since digital signals are more highly compressed, we can fit a lot more into the same space than we can with analog systems. If you've got a facility where you need 15 to 20 systems (or more), digital wireless systems may be the only way you can get that many systems into the limited frequency bands available. One huge benefit of digital wireless is its ability to transmit audio with a wider frequency range than analog systems. The benefit becomes obvious when you hear how much better bass guitars and other instruments that reproduce sound in the extremes of the audible frequency range sound. Other benefits of digital wireless are lower power draws, more advanced networking and communication ability and even advanced encryption of your wireless signal to protect against others from eavesdropping on your transmissions. While analog wireless systems are for the most part more cost effective and will work well for many churches right now, as our frequency bandwidth becomes tighter expect digital wireless systems to become more common. Though many of the best digital wireless systems are in the mid to higher end, such as Shure's new ULX-D system, there are some good options from Shure, AKG and Line 6 that allow you to get some of the benefits of digital at a lower cost.
So Which One Is Right?
There are no blanket right answers here, but our staff would love the opportunity to serve you and help determine which systems may be right for you. Balancing the cost and the benefits of each system against the needs you have is something we've been helping people all over North America with for years, and we'd be honored to do the same for you. Regardless of the level of system or the brand you choose, you can be confident in the wireless solutions we offer at CCI Solutions and the support you'll receive from our dedicated staff.
Church Relations Director
Duke has over 14 years of experience as a technical artist, trainer and collaborator for ministries. Duke travels around the country for CCI Solutions and is available to help your ministry. Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions