Radio microphone and in-ear-monitor users around the country are checking their equipment for compliance following the recent TV frequency re-stack and associated sell-off of bandwidth by the Australian Federal Government.

Users have to check their inventory for compliance, and replace equipment that would no longer reliably function or be legally operable after the frequency changeover. For large institutions such as Hillsong Church, this was a major project across three states and more than a dozen locations, all with different radio spectrum requirements.

Hillsong took the opportunity to evaluate the current market offerings in radio microphones and in-ear-monitors before they replaced their inventory. Hillsong services are verbally and musically dynamic, with worship leaders, singers and musicians all relying on their radio devices to get their message heard. A radio microphone used by a pastor must provide excellent clarity to the congregation, while Hillsong’s platinum-selling worship bands feature some of Australia’s finest vocalists and musicians, who test the dynamic range of any radio device.

Steve Le Roux, Facilities Project Manager at Hillsong, oversaw the process of evaluating the equipment throughout the organisation and preparing for the looming frequency changeover. He approached all of Hillsong’s campuses and extension services and got a list of their radio equipment. They were able to determine from the list that they needed to replace the radio devices at all the campuses.

Since the changeover represented a major financial as well as logistical undertaking, the Hillsong team were thorough in their assessment of both technical performance and overall costs. After assessing all the major players, they identified Jands and Shure for the equipment supply.

Across Hillsong’s locations, the technical team decided on a combination of Shure UHF-R, ULX-D, and QLX-D radio microphones, along with PSM 300, PSM 900, and PSM 1000 in-ear-monitors. They selected ULX-D for all the campuses except Baulkham Hills, where they stayed with UHF-R.

Reid Wall from Hillsong’s Brisbane campus wanted really reliable RF performance; he explained that he needed to confidently put all microphones and in-ears on stage and know they were not going to drop out. He was impressed by the PSM 1000s, especially their RF performance since there was no intermittent RF interference. He notes that the PSM 1000s are a game-changer for wireless IEM.

To complement the new in-ear systems in Brisbane, Reid added a combination ULX-D and QLX-D wireless microphone systems. He is also happy to be managing everything in Shure’s Wireless Workbench RF management software. Being able to monitor every mic and in-ear system with one piece of software that also functions as the coordination and control software is really handy.

Sonic and RF performance was important, but ongoing operating costs were also taken into account. Hillsong enthusiastically adopted the option of rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries across the Shure range, simplifying battery management, reducing environmental impact and saving the organisation money in the long-term.

Jands provided extensive support to Hillsong during the rollout, including RF engineering to ensure correct frequency allocation at every site and region. Using Shure’s Wireless Workbench software, Hillsong executed scans in each campus. The scans were sent to Jands’ Jeff MacKenzie, and Peter Twartz, who coordinated each campus’ frequency allocation. The entire installation was accomplished without any issues.