INDIO, CA, MAY 22, 2017 — The challenge of radio frequency interference in the middle of the desert at this year’s Coachella was a nonissue for all who performed and attended. Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) was on-hand to provide flawless frequency coordination for some of the biggest names in the music business, as well as numerous sponsors on site. The PWS crew was responsible for coordinating all wireless microphones, in-ear monitors and communications for the eight music stages, The Antarctic Dome, a sponsor stage, content ENG crews, artist interviews crews and a film crew. To help coordinate all these activities, PWS worked closely with Goldenvoice and the festival audio provider, Rat Sound.
PWS prides itself on being a hands-on company when it comes to serving its clients. Although the company was only charged with providing frequency coordination services at Coachella, PWS was ready with backup RF equipment and PWS custom products to handle any issues that might have come up during the festival.
“From an RF standpoint, one might think that the great thing about doing Coachella is the location”, says Danny Lane, RF project manager, PWS. “But once we conducted an RF sweep of the grounds, we found 16 Digital Television (DTV) channels that were completely unusable; we even picked up an analog TV station still broadcasting. We tried to get as much information as we could in advance from all the wireless users at the festival so we could build the coordination ahead of time. The main coordination is centered on Rat Sound’s gear which lives on the stages and is utilized by some bands. At one point PWS’ IAS software was kind enough to let us know that we were coordinating Coachella with 12 million mathematic potentials for intermodulation interference.”
In addition to PWS’ frequency coordination services, the company’s Helical Antennas were utilized by Rat Sound. PWS Dome Antennas and GX8’s were also utilized by many of the bands to reduce the risk of drop outs and guarantee the strongest signal for microphones and in-ear monitors.
“We emailed the coordinated frequencies to as many artists as possible prior to their showing up for load-in,” adds Lane. “In doing so, we were able to spend the rest of the time reacting to last-minute frequency requests from artists and ENG crews. We used Spectrum Analyzers during the festival to determine unknown sources of RF. Once identified, we captured them and put them on a safe, coordinated frequency.”
With the closing of the FCC Auction of the 600MHz Range, Lane and the crew at PWS has already started figuring out how to tackle Coachella next year. The days of coordinating 350-400 frequencies a day are soon to be a thing of the past in many areas as the number of available frequencies begins to drop. With headliners like Lady Gaga requesting 56 frequencies and Hans Zimmer requesting 48 frequencies, clean available spectrum will run out quick. PWS is confident that its knowledge and expertise will ensure an interference-free show for the foreseeable future.
The 2017 Coachella Festival’s diverse lineup of artists included Lady Gaga, Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Hans Zimmer, Lorde, Bonobo, The XX, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Kaleo, Travis Scott, DJ Snake, and Toots & The Maytals.
For more information about Professional Wireless Systems, visit www.professionalwireless.com.
About Professional Wireless Systems (PWS)
Based in Orlando, Florida, Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Masque Sound. Founded in 1992 by James Stoffo, a longtime engineer, technician and broadcast coordination consultant, PWS specializes in developing innovative gear for the increasing demands of RF equipment.
PWS has developed such wireless products as the GX-4/GX-8 combiner and the PWS Helical and Domed Helical Antennas. The company also develops and produces custom system packages and hardware, as well as builds custom antenna systems and specialized accessories. PWS has supplied and supported wireless systems for notable events, including Super Bowl 51, Coachella, as well as several events for the NBA and Joel Osteen. For more information, visit www.professionalwireless.com.
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