700 MHZ

I have two Shure wireless microphone systems I use during my live performance. I bought one in Berlin and it’s 220V for the shows I play in Europe. It’s rather new and working fine. The other one I own is pretty old, 120V/USA power based and the original wall wart power supply became frayed and stopped functioning. I replaced the power cable/unit with a cheapo Radio Shack multifunction device. On it’s face you can select multiple amp settings to match your product. Long story short it’s causing some line hum and I think it’s time to just buy a new wireless mic system for the USA. I really like the Shure SM58 systems because you really don’t get any feedback with them. I jumped online to buy one the Shure PGX/SM58 combo that I decided will work for me. However, I noticed the following warning:

“Consumer Alert: Most users do not need a license to operate this wireless microphone system. Nevertheless, operating this microphone system without a license is subject to certain restrictions: the system may not cause harmful interference; it must operate at a low power level (not in excess of 50 milliwatts); and it has no protection from interference received from any other device. Purchasers should also be aware that the FCC is currently evaluating use of wireless microphone systems, and these rules are subject to change. For more information, call the FCC at 1-888- CALL-FCC (TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC) or visit the FCC’s wireless microphone website at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones.”

On further inspection I also noticed that the same Shure PGX24/SM58 system came in three options: H6, J6 or L5. I continued my Google searching to see if these microphones were about to be obsolete and discovered the FCC page discussing why and when the 700 MHZ spectrum was taken from consumer mic use and put to use for emergency services: fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones

So here’s my questions: Does the current hure PGX24/SM58 systems for sale use the 700 MHZ spectrum or are they safe to buy? I believe they are. But then why the warning on every page they are for sale on? In addition is there any difference in the options H6, J6 or L5?

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on May 9, 2011 at 3:47 am, filed under live performance and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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6 Responses to “700 MHZ”

  1. Dave says:

    Shure does not sell any wireless *IN THE US* that are in the 700 MHz band. It is legal in some other countries. Legal frequencies are different in every country, and licensing is handled differently, so I usually rent wireless when outside the US. I’m sure their lawyers make them plaster the warning everywhere. The options are for different frequency bands: H6: 524-542 MHz; J6: 572.250-589.875 MHz; L5: 644-662 MHz.

  2. Peanut says:

    I can’t speak for the US but I know that here in the UK there are some changes coming soon that will make some handsets (such as the one shown above) illegal to use… I know a little about this because we have a couple of those Shure PGX2/4s currently in use in the venue where I work that are having to be ‘phased out’ before the new regulations come into play sometime later this year… It’s going to cost venues and equipment hire companies an awful lot of money!!

    • Peanut says:

      ** UPDATE **

      A quick search lead me to this helpful update on equipment manufacturer Audio Technica’s website:

      http://goo.gl/eEpZx

      Basically, sometime in 2012, the frequencies we use here in the UK for 80% of wireless mics (854-862MHz) are being auctioned off by the regulatory board (Ofcom here in the UK) for use as wireless broadband signal ranges.

      This might extend to your use of the aforementioned mics when you play EU shows, so I’d give it a read if I were you, just so as you don’t get caught out! :-) They’re de-regulating a thin slither of airspace in the EU (863 – 865 MHz) to replace the current ones, which should theoretically be enough to allow 3-4 mics to be used at once…

    • Aaron Zilch says:

      This whole situation is causing a huge amount of headaches here in Vegas. The venues are so close to each other and rely on wireless systems not only for their house audio but also for all the communication between production staff. I know some of the larger more complex shows use well over 10 channels of audio simply for communication. It’s gotten to the point where the money you have to spend on new equipment doesn’t even matter because there are simply not enough frequencies to go around.

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