As the clock ticks down to the January 1, 2015 deadline that will see most existing wireless users vacating their spectrum, the University of Sydney have carefully plotted their exit strategy with Shure and integrator Rutledge AV. A huge user of RF devices in teaching and performance spaces, the University was faced with the enormous task of replacing every single wireless microphone device, which are soon to become both illegal and unusable.
“For a university our size, the government changes to frequency laws were a big deal” said Jason Wheatley, Manager – Interactive Learning Services at the University of Sydney. “By the time you add all the labour, it’s a million dollar proposition. It’s a big investment, and one we carefully considered the options for over a long period of time.”
Not only did Jason and the team have to replace all of their existing equipment, but also had to factor in new buildings such as the recently opened Charles Perkins Centre, a collaborative research and teaching space dedicated to reducing the impact of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“This was an opportunity and a challenge to test what was in the market” continued Jason. “The new mics were going to have to live in a new and more crowded area of wireless spectrum. We wanted to have confidence that the equipment we chose had the flexibility to move to another area of spectrum if there was a problem, and had sufficient channels available to change things to get out of any trouble.”
After a long evaluation and testing process, the University have invested in 240 units of Shure ULX-D Digital Wireless Systems. “We went with the ULX-D mainly because of their flexibility in the new RF environment” Jason explained. “We feel some aspects of the changes are still an unknown, and our applications are mission critical in the larger spaces. We also wanted the networking features. They enable us to have monitoring capabilities and communications. It allows us to treat it like a proper enterprise fleet of equipment. We have a small team and a large university; wherever we can, we look for remote controlled systems rather than being dependent on going to a room to fix something.”
There were also the end-user considerations, which were highlighted during the live trial period. While some competitor product proved confusing to operate, both the handheld and beltpack ULX-D transmitters won out. “It’s the simplicity of the design; how you turn the transmitters on and off” clarified Jason. “We have a variety of users, from students to professors, who may or may not be technically competent. We also like that you can take out flat rechargeable batteries and replace them with fresh alkaline batteries and keep the show on the road. We hadn’t gone with a rechargeable system before and we wanted a back-up plan in case someone had forgotten to place the transmitters back in the charger.”
Like many existing wireless users, Jason is sad to see the old units go. “We have had a long association with Shure microphones at the University. The old ULX systems having been doing good service, and it hurts to take them out as they are still working! They’ve been very robust and reliable pieces of kit over many years of service.”
For more information on Shure microphones, visit www.jands.com.au or contact:
Jands Pty Ltd
Tel: +61 2 9582 0909
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