Puerto Rico's WKAQ-TV wanted to be able to access any production audio source in the building from any control room.
WKAQ, owned and operated by Grupo Telemundo and the largest and longest-running television station in Puerto Rico, has laid the groundwork for its next phase of audio equipment upgrades with the implementation of a Dante-enabled Sennheiser Digital 6000 Wireless Microphone System and installation of network antenna throughout the facility.
Conceived, installed and commissioned by San Juan-based equipment supplier AVL Group and custom designed by Sennheiser, the new system provides uninterrupted wireless microphone coverage in the building's eight television studios and outdoor production areas.
"WKAQ wanted talent to be able to walk from Studio 1 down the back aisles to Studio 8 and have seamless streaming quality coverage all the time," said Andrew Kornstein of Sennheiser, Customer Development and Application Engineering, Americas. "It was a very complex requirement. This is not just something we have in the catalog."
Alexander Rojas, vice president of the AVL Group, commented that WKAQ-TV wanted to be able to access any production audio source in the building from any control room. Those sources can include talent in the air, which sometimes moves between studies. Now, with coverage of the entire Sennheiser facility seamlessly covering the studios, hallway, lobby and outdoor areas, Rojas says, "They don't have to change microphones, because the whole system is in a network."
In addition, with Sennheiser's new networked configuration, each control room is no longer limited to the number of wireless microphone channels installed in the studio, but can scale the system if a production demands it. "It's just a matter of audio routing," Rojas says.
Following Kornstein's initial site visits and consultation with AVL Group, Michel Morrisette, Customer Development and Application Engineering at Sennheiser's Montreal office, developed a system design to meet WKAQ's requirements. In total, the network antenna system comprises 20 Sennheiser A 2003-UHF passive directional antennas and six passive omnidirectional A 1031-U antennas.
An equipment rack located in the main aisle interconnects the distributed antenna system and wireless microphone receiver racks through a series of ASA 214 antenna splitters, ACA 3 antenna combiners, and AB 3700 broadband antenna amplifiers. The racks also house custom connector panels designed and built by Morrisette.
There are three wireless microphone receiver racks: one in Studio 2 that also serves Studio 1, another in Studio 3 that also serves Studios 4 and 5, and a third in Studio 8. Studies 6 and 7, which share a control room, are currently unused. The AVL Group pulled out more than 8,000 feet of cable for the project, reports Freddie A. Rojas, who led the firm's engineering and after-sales commissioning team.
AVL Group also delivered a total of 22 Sennheiser EM 6000 Dante two-channel digital receivers plus 14 SKM 6000 handheld transmitters topped by MMD 945 super cardioid dynamic capsules to WKAQ. Thirty-two MKE 1 miniature clip lapel microphones are paired with 29 SK 6000 pocket transmitters, with three SK 6212 mini bodypack transmitters additionally available for female talent on the air. All of the equipment uses Sennheiser's L 6000 rechargeable batteries and rackmount chargers, says Alexander Rojas.
Studios 1 through 5 are used to produce WKAQ's original programming, which includes a weekly comedy sketch show, game shows, an entertainment show, and political news analysis. Studio 8 is used daily for multiple day and night newscasts, as well as for a talk show and variety show.
Several of the shows also make use of some of the public areas of the WKAQ building in their productions. "There's a big hallway that they wanted to use sometimes in game shows," Alexander Rojas said. "Also, the cameras can go into the front yard, which is pretty nice, and they also do things in the parking lots." As part of this project, AVL Group also previously wired the rear parking lot, he says.
WKAQ had previously been standardized on Sennheiser's 2000 series analog wireless system. "They've been a Sennheiser house for 10 or 12 years," Alexander Rojas reported. Maximizing WKAQ's previous investment, some of the existing 2000 series antennas were incorporated into the new antenna system. The station also retained a twin EM 2050 analog receiver for use with a custom presenter's microphone.