April 16, 2020 1 Comment
By Joel Guilbert, Dale Pro Audio
As an increasing number of religious and/or educational organizations want to locally distribute audio to patrons; there has been a resurgence of interest in low power FM transmitters. While this might be appealing on paper, or the wallet, it has a number of limitations: per the FCC guidelines:
“On FM frequencies, these devices are limited to an effective service range of approximately 200 feet (61 meters)... These devices must accept any interference caused by any other operation, which may further limit the effective service range."
Compounding the issue is that low-power products (such as the Rolls HR70 shown here) are now becoming incredibly hard to find.
If anyone is curious about using more powerful FM transmitters - there are a lot of regulations around them! The government is serious about this.
One alternative is to use a wifi distribution system. For these systems, you attached the “transmitter” to the venues wifi system (preferably a cordoned off guest network). Attendees would connect to the venues wifi, download an app that the venue would advertise, and then audio would, like magic, come from the attendees phone via the app.
Williams Sound has also created some bundles that directly address this market as well, with solutions that are particularly useful for streaming services such as weekly worship to patrons sitting in their cars. These systems bridge the gap between wifi and FM, using the strengths of both technologies to deliver audio to areas up 1000 feet away. Listeners either download a free app for iOS or Android, or can purchase a dedicated receiver.
With situations as they are these days, these can be useful tools to keep your group-related audio activities going. Worried about the costs of such solutions? We understand completely. However, these systems aren't just one-off affairs. You can use them for other purposes in your organization when things return to normal. In fact, it would be wise to consult with your local municipalities regarding ADA compliance - these distributed systems are typically used for hearing-impaired assistive listening functions.
We are always here to help if you have any questions - you're not alone! We're fielding inquiries like this almost daily due to the current events in our world, and our team has been diving in headfirst to find the best, easiest, and most cost effective solutions.
Joel Guilbert is Dale Pro Audio's Technology Development Manager, and assists on technical support inquiries, system design and integration, and much more for our company. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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