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?

Jawbone Jambox

As a musician when I play my songs to friends I want them to be loud. The problem is these days I’m usually playing music from my laptop, iPad or iPhone. I’ve used various little speaker systems in the past but the associated power cords and audio cable’s are a hassle to truck around. I’ve had my eye on the Soundmatters foxLv2 Bluetooth speaker. It’s a small portable speaker with Bluetooth and a rechargeable speaker and it has some rave reviews for it’s sound. This week Jawbone released a similar speaker using the same exact audio technology and trumped up tech specs. The new Jambox also looks modern and comes in black, blue, red or gray. Besides louder music the Jambox is also a good speaker/mic for conference calls. It’s $200… someone put one under my Christmas Tree ok?

“Meet JAMBOX by Jawbone the smallest, best-sounding wireless speaker and speakerphone on the planet. Just place it anywhere in a room to stream pristine wireless audio from any Bluetooth device. It’s the perfect way to make those jams on your phone or iPad sound, well, awesome.” – aliphjawbone

For more info: jawbone.com/jambox

midipad for iPad

midiPad in action from kai on Vimeo.

What musician didn’t want a Jazzmutant Lemur? What musician could actually afford one? Luckily technology marches forward and brings goodness to the masses and the midipad for iPad is a good example. There will be different views to start you off such as studioView, djView, launchView, fxView and keysView. The concept is futuristic fun but will I really want to use it in my studio? I like to move as fast as possible between brain and sound. How about live then? I can manage to use my iPhone while on my elliptical trainer so sweaty fingers won’t be a problem. I do know I’m definitely going to try it out!

“The striking feature of midipad is its ability to directly communicate via network-MIDI-protocol. So there is no need to install any communication-peer-software on the Mac! Simply plug-and-play via Apple Bonjour – wireless. This multitouch-capable midi-controller-application communicates with your Apple Mac your Windows-based PC and even standalone hardware-synths via Wifi.” – midipad.de

For more info: midipad.de and on Twitter: twitter.com/midipad

Apple Magic Mouse

I’m one of the few people who loved Apple’s last mouse the Mighty Mouse. I loved the scroll ball on top to shoot left and right in Ableton Live. The major flaw of the Mighty Mouse was that the ball on top consistantly broke. There were ways to bring it back to life but eventually it would completely stop working. They have since lost the rights to the name “Mighty…” and yesterday released a new mouse the Magic Mouse. It looks like a multi-touch wonder. The only thing I am unhappy about is the fact that it’s not wired. Come on Apple keep it green. There’s no real reason to buy, use, recharge batteries in a device always 1 foot away from a plug-in source. That said, I never used a battery powered Bluetooth mouse. Am I missing something? Is there a good reason they exist? I’m definetly going to give it a try!

“It began with iPhone. Then came iPod touch. Then MacBook Pro. Intuitive, smart, dynamic. Multi-Touch technology introduced a remarkably better way to interact with your portable devices — all using gestures. Now we’ve reached another milestone by bringing gestures to the desktop with a mouse that’s unlike anything ever before. It’s called Magic Mouse. It’s the world’s first Multi-Touch mouse. And while it comes standard with every new iMac, you can also add it to any Bluetooth-enabled Mac for a Multi-Touch makeover.” – Apple.com

For more info: www.apple.com/magicmouse/

Will your cordless mic stop working in February?

In the United States the FCC will kill analog TV next February (2009). Apparently anything that uses the old analog signals may stop working or run into interference. There are some cordless mics that will be affected. I own two systems (110/220V versions) both from Shure. I like Shure the best because I find they are the least susceptible to feedback. In fact, I returned another brand because it caused such a non-stop screech I thought the audience was going to kill me.

“This ruling does not address the issue of wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band.  The FCC had proposed earlier that wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band should cease in February 2009, but a final transition date has not been announced.” – Shure.com

I have a PGX system which by quickly reading the Shure website I believe will keep on working without a fuss. Am I wrong?

Mix Magazine’s Ten Wireless Tips for the transition: http://mixonline.com/mixline_live/ten_wireless_tips/

The complete FCC document is available for download: click here