Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission began the Incentive Auction, which in simplest terms re-allots frequencies, or “spectrum bands” for use by newer technologies, such as smart phones. Most wireless microphones and personal monitor systems are affected by this transition, and will be slowly phased out.
Change Is Gonna Come
Microphones have faced frequency adjustments in the past- once solely residing on VHF, or very high frequency. Eventually, mics moved predominantly to UHF, or ultra-high frequencies, due to the fact systems suffered less interference. While the upgrade from VHF to UHF often proved costly, each frequency holds distinct pros and cons. As technology gets more accessible, the FCC aims to step in and allot wavelengths to help all tech sources thrive in unity.
Waving Out the Frequencies
Churches, schools, theaters, sports stadiums and other establishments that utilize wireless mics are impacted by this change through slowly phasing out the ability to channel 600 MHz bands by 2020. Remaining in compliance with operating within proper spectrum bands will be crucial- those unlawfully operating on the 600 MHz bands could face fines or criminal penalties down the road.
With most wireless microphones ranging anywhere from $350 to upwards of $1,200; this change comes at a cost. Businesses are beginning to plan on upgrades and replacements to avoid penalties. School districts such as many in Pennsylvania are planning and budgeting properly to keep musicals, student events and more compliant.
Rebates and Trade-Ins
Thankfully while bands are being reallocated, there’s plenty of time to prepare for the frequency auction. Companies like Harman and Shure are offering trade-in programs that make upgrading more affordable. As distributors, we’re able to find deals and offers to save some cents with this change!
Are Your Microphones Compliant?
Are your mics affected by this transition? To know this, you’ll need to know specific frequencies utilized by your mics. Our Pro Presenter Tom Burgess adds that many areas of the country have already began the transition to FCC compliant mics. “I would encourage all wireless microphone and IEM users to check their equipment in order to be certain that they may continue operating in both an effective and legal manner,” Burgess suggests. Contact your microphone manufacturer, or simply give us a call to see if your mics are compliant!