Update to the December 16th blog entry:
Wireless Microphones and Wireless Guitar Devices
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ceased debate and announced an end date to the music industry’s use of the 700 MHz broadcast band. The FCC reorganized the UHF television spectrum ‘white spaces’ used by many wireless microphones, 2-way headsets, in-ear monitor systems, wireless guitar devices, etc.
Pressure to use the 700 MHz spectrum by computer related mobile devices in a rapidly expanding industry and by a public hungry for rich content streaming was sufficient to help drive the FCC decision making process.
The FCC has ordered all wireless equipment operating within the 700 MHz bandwidth (698 to 806 MHz) to cease operations by June 12th, 2010. No other bandwidth is affected. The cease and desist applies to all wireless systems users even if they currently have a valid FCC license.
What Happens to the Existing Equipment that’s still out there:
Shure has offered its customers an option: If they purchase new Shure wireless equipment (that complies with the new FCC regulations), the Shure company will rebate some portion of the value of the noncompliant equipment, if it is returned to Shure. Their offer appears to extend to other companies equipment as well. This appears to be a clever business move to get some new customers. See the Shure website for details.
AKG rolled out a rebate program shortly after the FCC announcement. The program was aimed at existing AKG product users and expired during May 2009. They claim to have alerted their suppliers and distributers. The problem is, the suppliers and distributers did not have an effective way to educate and communicate with their retailers, so the information seldom reached the end-users. In most cases, retailers are still unaware of the FCC ruling. To solve the concerns of their customers, AKG decided to simply lower the cost of their systems to reflect the values of the rebate program. For example, their WMS450 system that retailed for approximately $550, now costs $370 to $450.
According to the Samson website, their Airline Guitar products are still available despite their specifications indicating the use the spectrum between 801 and 805 MHz. There is a consumer alert in small print at the bottom of the web page with a link to the FCC website. There is no clear indication of rebates, exchange or new compliant equipment. If you contact Samson, they will tell you that they do have an exchange and rebate program and will send you the information in PDF format. The jist is: recently purchased units (within the past 6 months +/-) will be replaced with new compliant versions. Older units will get a rebate if you purchase new Samson first. The rebates are in the range of $15 to $25 per unit. Contact Samson for details.
We have no details for Nady, AudioTechnica, Telex or other wireless equipment.
March 9th, 2010