CJD Productions deploys RF Venue for Times Square Live Concert Series

The band Couch performs during the Times Square Live Friday Concerts Series utilising a variety of products from RF Venue for dropout-free wireless microphones and in-ear monitors performance in 'one of the world’s most congested' RF environments. Photo: Michael Hull

CJD Productions recently provided 11 channels of wireless microphones and IEMs in the heavily-congested Times Square RF environment, ensuring dropout-free performance with RF Venue wireless audio essentials including DISTRO4 RF distribution amps, COMBINE8 IEM antenna combiners along with CP Beam and the patented Diversity Fin antennas.

“People regard Times Square as one of the hardest RF environments in the world to work in,” stated Chris DiCorpo, FOH Engineer/Production Manager for the Boston-based band Couch, who performed during the 2023 Times Square Live (TSQ Live) Friday Concerts series utilising 11 channels of wireless microphones and IEMs.

With no wide-open spectrum free of RF interference in the self-declared ‘Crossroads of the World’, DiCorpo relied heavily on the unbeatable performance of wireless solutions from RF Venue, a global leader in essential RF accessories for wireless audio. “Their products really just work, and that’s why I love using them,” he remarked.

Every year, TSQ Live invites hundreds of artists, performers and cultural producers to share their work in one of the world’s most iconic public spaces. These events – part of an initiative of the nonprofit Times Square Alliance – cultivate the creativity, energy and edge that have made the area an icon of entertainment, culture and urban life for over a century. Thusly, the technology utilised to produce these performances must be equally impactful, ensuring flawless performance and the best possible audio quality for both performers and the audience. With all these factors combined, DiCorpo chose product solutions from RF Venue to optimise the high-performance Sennheiser EW-D wireless microphone systems and Sennheiser EW IEM G4 in-ear monitor systems being used for the show.

“Was I a little nervous about using wireless in Times Square? Yes. But I’d been using RF Venue products since being introduced to their wireless solutions several years ago while working with some of the regional production companies here in the northeast,” said DiCorpo. “I’d never seen an RF Venue DFIN before. I’d never seen a CP Beam antenna before. Once I learned what they are and how they work, there was no going back.”

When the time came around for his company, CJD Productions, to buy its own wireless microphones and IEM systems for the work he was doing with Couch and a few other clients, “RF Venue was an easy choice to complete the systems,” stated DiCorpo, who sourced his RF Venue products from Berlin, Connecticut-based TMP-Pro Distribution.

For the Times Square Live performance, a selection of RF Venue products was used for the critical role of providing dropout-free microphone performance, including the DISTRO4 Professional Antenna Distribution System, an RF Venue Diversity Fin Antenna, and RF Venue Band-pass Filters, which DiCorpo describes as the “gravy on top.”

He elaborated: “If you really want to make sure it’s going to work well and work well for a long time, the Band-pass Filters help block RF from outside of the frequency range where your wireless mics are operating, giving you a little bit more comfort in your setup. With everything going on in Times Square, there’s a lot of other stuff in surrounding frequency bands, so it’s nice to isolate exactly what you’re using for your microphones. What’s great about RF Venue products is that they help the wireless microphones be seen through all that noise.”

The RF Venue Diversity Fin Antenna’s patented technologies utilise a vertical LPDA “paddle” element for reception of vertically polarised signals and a dipole antenna in an orthogonal (right angle) orientation in an all-in-one, easy-to-deploy, package. Designed to work with any brand or model wireless microphone receiver, the DISTRO4 ensures reliable RF signal for up to five receivers and delivers power for four receivers, eliminating wall warts, and up to five DISTRO4s can be cascaded for large system management.

For in-ear monitoring, DiCorpo chose a complementary configuration utilising an RF Venue COMBINE8 Transmitter Combiner and compact circularly-polarised CP Beam Antenna to provide a constant focused signal regardless of the IEM receiver position. “Couch is a high-energy band. A lot of fun. But if they can’t hear each other, they’re not performing at their best. It’s nice to be in a high-pressure environment like that and not have to worry about the microphones or in-ears dropping out. RF Venue gave me that peace of mind.”

The COMBINE8 IEM combiner brings together up to eight in-ear monitor transmitter signals into a single rear panel-mounted antenna connector, as well as providing DC power to up to eight IEM transmitters. Paired with a directional external antenna, most often the RF Venue CP Beam Antenna, the combination enables multi-channel systems to minimise the intermodulation artefacts arising from multiple adjacent transmitters interfering with one another, particularly when rack-mounted and using the transmitter-mounted whip antennas.

“In a sense, the Times Square show had one of the biggest audiences the band has ever played for, not knowing who was in the onsite crowd or who was watching from beyond. Once we got everything up and I did the frequency coordination and we had a smooth sound check, I was confident that it was going to work. You can’t beat that. I don’t want to have to worry about dropouts or interference. I want to concentrate on mixing the sound and making the band sound their best.”