Middletown, CT – July 2009… Nothing hinders a play, a musical, or other activities faster than audio feedback, insufficient levels, and similar sound system challenges. Until recently, these were the overbearing concerns that made students, faculty, and administrators cringe when it was time for one of Mercy High School’s various functions. After determining they’d had enough, school officials decided to rectify the situation. Much to the surprise and delight of all involved, the remedy to this unpleasant state of affairs was well within reach—in the form of the DM1624 Digital Automatic Matrix Mixer from Lectrosonics.
Michael Miceli, Executive Producer for Southington, CT-based Miceli Productions, LLC, a firm that provides High Definition video content creation, acquisition, and editing along with sound system design and consulting services, was contracted to handle Mercy High School’s facility upgrade. In the process of reviewing the existing equipment setup and speaking with numerous people involved in the school’s activities, Miceli quickly realized that an automated mixing system would provide the flexibility necessary to accommodate the school’s numerous events.
“We’re talking about an 800-seat auditorium with a proscenium stage,” said Miceli. “The space is used for school assemblies, concerts, plays, musicals, and countless other activities. The room needed to be as self-contained and easy-to-operate as possible, since it generally operates with just one teacher present. This is an environment where the person in charge needs to be able to select a particular setup and, from that point forward, have everything automated.”
“Previously, there was an analog system with a completely open architecture,” Miceli continued. “As a result, volume controls were fully accessible and were routinely abused—creating rampant feedback problems. This was a 70-volt system with 8 mic inputs along the front of the stage and a level control for each. Sound quality was poor and microphone volume levels were rarely adequate.”
To address these shortcomings, Miceli deployed a Lectrosonics DM1624 Digital Automatic Matrix Mixer and the optionally available RCWPB8 Pushbutton Remote Control. With powerful digital audio processing, mixing, and routing capabilities, the DM1624 is an ideal sound reinforcement solution wherever unattended operation is the norm. With provisions for multiple DSP filters, automatic digital feedback elimination, a compressor, and a digital delay—along with the ability to store multiple configurations that can be recalled at a moment’s notice—the DM1624 offers twice the input capacity and infinitely more signal routing and management capability than ever existed with the school’s previous setup.
“As part of the system overhaul,” notes Miceli, “we deployed additional inputs and designated different inputs to accommodate different types of tasks. Inputs 1-5 at the front of the stage feed an automix configuration that maximizes gain while minimizing the noise floor. There are now separate inputs for the choir microphones, so that these mics can be effectively processed for the school’s show choir. Further, the system is configured for both CD and iPod audio source playback and is also set up for dedicated left-right inputs to accommodate an auxiliary console. This way, the system can be easily expanded for larger musicals and other events.
“I particularly like the fact that the DM1624 provides manual control if desired,” said Miceli. “This way, there are provisions for manual volume control of items such as the CD player or iPod, but they are limited in their range through the software—thus regulating the minimum and maximum volume levels of these devices. Since a teacher needs to be able to quickly and easily enter the room and recall a specific configuration to match the type of activity taking place in the auditorium, we also equipped the room with a RCWPB8 Pushbutton Remote Control. This makes it very easy to change from one setup to another.”
The power and speed of the DM1624 in combination with Lectrosonics’ LecNet2™ software were additional factors in Miceli’s selection of the equipment over competing brands. “The ability to connect via USB and have instantaneous access to all of the features within the DM1624 was a huge factor in configuring the mixer for this installation,” explained Miceli. “The layout of the software is very straight-forward and easy to grasp and this is a tremendous benefit for accessing the DM1624’s wealth of features. Equally important, I have never experienced any latency issues as a result of the signal processing. Combined with its first-rate audio quality, the DM1624 is a very powerful and versatile audio mixing system.”
Mercy High School’s new DM1624 was installed and configured in June and, according to Miceli, everyone is looks forward to using the system come the new academic year. “The ease of being able to walk into the room and push a button to turn on the system and configure it for a variety of applications has been well received by all involved with the programs in the auditorium,” said Miceli. Previously, there was a lot of anxiety when it came to use the prior sound system. This has been completely alleviated with the integration of the new DM1624. I’m quite certain that as the school gets comfortable with the new system, they’ll find even more uses for it.”
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theater technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical application