With campuses spread over much of central and southern New England, the multi-site, non-denominational Vox Church Stanford calls heavily on music performance and communication from the stage for its services. But operating eight locations (with a ninth to open shortly) in a region crowded with TV broadcast stations, and heavily populated with event sites that use wireless mic and IEM systems, presents a challenging RF environment.

When he joined the church several years ago to help with its proliferating number of wireless channels, used for both vocals and speech, and for in-ear monitoring, A1 audio engineer Eugene ‘Geno’ Mulcahy brought a decade of from the massive Mohegan Sun Casino (25 miles east of the church’s main Branford, Connecticut location) earned while building and managing the resort’s sprawling RF infrastructure.

Vox Church 10th anniversary event at the Westville Music Bowl ‘It was a trial by fire, putting wireless microphones into every aspect of the property,’ he recalls. ‘But it really taught me the importance of establishing a good RF infrastructure for wireless.’

At Mohegan, he also encountered what would become a foundational part of that infrastructure, when he met RF Venue co-founder Chris Regan as the brand was first getting its RF product line off the ground. ‘Chris really showed me how critical the antenna and its distribution is to a reliable wireless system,’ Mulcahy says.

At Vox Church, he has since implemented a wireless systems using wireless antennas and signal combiners from RF Venue. ‘Antennas and distribution are the non-fun part of working with wireless, but they are mission-critical to making any event happen flawlessly,’ he says. ‘The RF Venue products do the one thing that absolutely has to happen with wireless, and that’s make sure there are no dropouts. If you lose audio during a service, especially during the streaming audio that’s going out to other campuses that depend on taking their music cues from us, it’s game over. It’s as bad as losing video.

RF Venue systems are used to manage up to six wireless mics and 12 IEM mixes each Sunday at Vox Church’s New Haven campus

‘We do what is called point-to-point streaming, where we send various channels to our other church campuses so the band at the remote locations can play along with the main worship band at our broadcast location. If the worship leader’s mic fails, it not only fails in the live performance area but also at the other locations.’

The Vox Church antenna, distribution and combiner systems include the RF Venue Diversity Fin Antenna, a multi-purpose system that can make an RF system less susceptible to dropouts thanks to a patented cross-polarised design. It provides a diversity solution in a single package by combining one log-periodic dipole array (LPDA) and one dipole antenna in an orthogonal (right angle) configuration (where one element captures vertically polarised waves, and the other horizontally polarised waves).

Unlike ‘paddle’ or ‘shark fin’ antennas, the Diversity Fin allows receivers to see a constant signal regardless of microphone orientation, allowing the user to hold a wireless microphone in any position relative to the antenna without signal loss. These antennae interface with RF Venue’s Distro4 and Distro9 distribution amplifiers, which feed RF to multiple wireless microphone receivers of any brand.

The Distro4 has dual inputs that combine the two outputs of the Diversity Fin Antenna for distribution to up to five wireless microphone receivers, along with regulated 12V DC power. Six Distro4’s can be connected together to feed up to 25 receiver channels.

Geno Mulcahy at FOH during a Vox Church serviceThe Distro9 features dual zone inputs for reception from dual Diversity Fin Antennas. Its nine outputs can be used to directly feed wireless mic receivers, or to feed the inputs of additional Distro9 units to in turn feed up to 81 receiver inputs. To ensure a consistent signal with in-ear monitors, RF Venue’s Combine4 and Combine8 can combine the outputs of four or eight wireless monitor system transmitters into a single output to feed the CP BeamAntenna, a lightweight, circularly polarised helical antenna.

Mulcahy has used RF Venue products throughout most of Vox Church’s campuses and is adding more as opportunities present themselves, creating what he calls a ‘soup-to-nuts reliable infrastructure for wireless’. At the same time, he says that RF Venue allows him to use any wireless microphone and IEM systems he wants – Vox Church is using Shure ULX-D for the former and Sennheiser IEM G4 for the latter.

‘Antenna choice, placement, and management are the most important aspects of wireless, and RF Venue has made those aspects easy to take care of,’ he says. ‘At our New Haven campus, we have as many as six channels of wireless microphones and 12 monitor mixes each Sunday. For our big 10th anniversary show at the Westville Music Bowl in New Haven, we had 16 IEM mixes plus the eight handhelds, and not a single dropout. RF antennas aren’t the glamorous part of audio, but without them there’s no show. With RF Venue, there’s never a dropout.’

More: http://rfvenue.com

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