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Sennheiser Helps Christian Broadcasting Network Take Wireless Sound to New Level, Helping it Prepare for 700 MHz Transition

EM372 rack

Rack containing Sennheiser’s EM372 receivers

OLD LYME, Conn. – April 8, 2010 – Back in December of 2008, the Christian Broadcasting Network (http://www.cbn.com), the nation’s oldest Christian broadcast facility and one of the largest Christian television ministries in the world, began preparing for Digital TV Transition (DVT) and the clearing of the 700 MHz frequency band.

The Virginia Beach, VA-based campus, which is the main production engine of CBN, features two100′ x 100′ broadcast studios as well as a smaller news insert stage. Each of these environments, which are fully outfitted for HD, collectively produce an average of 25 to 30 shows each week–for both domestic and international programming.

As the FCC’s 700 MHz transition date approached, CBN wanted to ensure its entire facility was prepared from both a technical and quality of infrastructure perspective well in advance, as one of its studios was operating squarely within the 700 MHz spectrum. Since the CBN technical staff was only mildly pleased with the quality of their legacy wireless system and accompanying microphones, they decided to completely replace and upgrade to Sennheiser’s 3000 and 5000 series wireless systems, while adding an array of complementary microphones.

Working closely with Laurie Webb, president of Soundmixers, CBN purchased a package containing eight channels of Sennheiser’s EM3732 receivers and eight SK3063 body pack transmitters. They also added six new SKM5200 handheld microphones, and six Neumann KK105 capsules.

“We took delivery of our new wireless system in early 2009, and immediately heard a dramatic improvement in our on-air audio quality,” recalls Philip Peters, director of audio at CBN. “Even during the first production, which was a simple interview program, it was obvious that Sennheiser’s wireless units were sonically superior to any others we had used before.”

Since then, Peters and company have gone on to use their new system in a variety of broadcasting applications, from magazine style shows to full-on music productions with high profile Christian recording artists. Peters notes that musicians in particular have a fondness for the SKM5200s combined with Neumann capsules, saying they deliver smoothness and accuracy across a broad range of applications including background vocals and percussion among others.

Laurie Webb, president of Soundmixers, commented: “In our opinion, the combination of a Sennheiser 5000 series microphone with a Neumann capsule is the best handheld wireless system on the market. We consider the 2000 series with the 965 capsule to be a great alternative to the Neumann 5000 combination. The 965 capsule has both switchable pattern and sensitivity and offers excellent audio quality at an attainable price. The 2000 series has a strong RF system with a switching bandwidth up to 72 MHz. Overall, we feel that Sennheiser sets the bar for the industry with their handheld wireless systems.”

Since successfully retrofitting the wireless infrastructure of one studio and having been more than pleased with its quality and performance, CBN is now in the process of retrofitting its second studio with Sennheiser as well. For the second studio, CBN is acquiring a package of EM2050 receivers, SK2000 body pack transmitters and SKM2000 handheld microphones with MMK965 capsules (a wireless version of Sennheiser’s e 965; a large diaphragm, condenser capsule with multiple polar patterns).

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