Sennheiser Canada - Selected RF Projects

MTV RF Systems: 2006 & 2011
The Masonic Temple is a six-storey building located at 888 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (on the north-west corner of Davenport Road and Yonge Street). It was built in 1917 and in the years before it's sale to CTV, the building housed live music clubs known as The Concert Hall, and earlier, in the late 1960s, The Rockpile. The concert venue featured not only showcases for top local talent, but appearances by major international recording stars, including Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. In 1997 it was purchased by CTV which built a number of television studios and eventually became the home for MTV Canada.

MTV Canada had a focus on the entertainment and specifically the music industry and the flagship show MTV Live. MTV Live was a live performance presentation with artists performing in front of a live audience. The RF systems for this project required coverage of the main stage area, productions areas on the second and third floors (E-Talk and EFP) as well as exterior sidewalk space on both Yonge Street and Davenport Road. The exterior coverage was to accommodate fan interviews while waiting for entrance to afternoon or evening performances.

In addition to combining 2 isolated interior spaces and 2 exterior spaces, the distributed antenna system was designed for microphones (Rx) and monitoring systems (Tx).  The monitoring systems had to accommodate, stereo in-ear-monitoring for performers plus IFB's and intercom for production staff for both interior and exterior locations. The original 206- installation was updated and expanded in 2011.  Block diagrams are below and frequency coordination charts are included in the PDF link below:

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CTV Agincourt RF Systems: 2010 & 2014
CFTO Agincourt is the flagship station and central broadcast head-quarters for the CTV/Bell Media network in Canada.  The studio facilities are located an 9 Channel Nine Court in Agincourt (Scarborough) near the junction of the 401 highway and McCowan Road.  These studios produce the network's news programming:  Canada AM, CTV National News, CTV News Channel, CFTO News  - along with most of it's specialty channel productions like TSN's SportsCentre, Off The Record and That's Hockey 2Nite as well as Discovery Channels' Daily Planet.

In 2010, CTV needed to overhaul it's RF systems partly due to the Canadian 700 MHz "digital-dividend" transition.  This over-haul presented an opportunity to have a facility-wide harmonized RF system/frequency coordination where any wireless device could be used in any facility studio.  At the same time, there were requirements for combining certain logical production areas by employing a distributed antenna system. The system was updated in 2014 to add 8 channels of D9000 digital RF microphones.

The complete RF coordination for 90+ microphones, 35+ stereo and mono IEM/IFB/Intercomm channels was required for 10 production studios, and an exterior production location.  The exterior production location was also antenna combined with two primary productions studios inside the building.  To review a mic coordination example, see the attached PDF document. IEM sample coordination report below...

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Rogers TV RF Systems at 33 Dundas Street East: 2012

The Rogers TV studio complex at 33 Dundas Street East, near the corner of Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, Canada.  The seven story building was acquired by Rogers Media in 2007 and after a completed renovation in 2009, became home to four TV stations and various production studios.  CITY-TV, CFMT (Omni 1), CJMT (Omni 2) and the CityNews Channel.  In 2012 Sennheiser Canada was retained to completely replace the wireless mic system for the entire building and to resolve performance issues with both the IFB and intercom systems. 

The general incentive for the replacement was poor performance of the building-wide distributed antenna system and unreliable/failing wireless equipment that was originally installed in 2009.  The antenna system was to provide complete building-wide coverage: from the exterior roof-top shooting location to the basement facilities.  In addition, complete exterior coverage of Victoria Square - which sits between the Eaton Centre and the Rogers TV building - as well as sidewalk locations along the north and west sides of the building - was part of the requirement.  The antenna system was combined at each floor using an RF-over-fiber DAS that was deployed in the original installation in 2009.  RogersTV engineering preferred to continue to use this system.

Each floors' original antenna systems were replaced with a copper based "antenna grid" - for both Rx (diversity) and Tx.  This antenna grid  was then combined and inserted into the fibre node at each floor - which terminated at the DAS equipment racks in the basement central equipment room.  Each floors inputs/outputs was optically combined with the DAS system at that location.

The dynamic range of the fibre transport system and the poor gain structure, was determined to be one of the variables affecting the original systems' performance.  This node property combined with a small number of high-gain antenna produced the unreliable conditions in the antenna system:  high-gain scenarios near the original antennae created overload conditions at the nodes and elevated the over-all RF noise floor - while bringing the level down at the node, caused the far-distant production areas to have unreliable RF levels, resulting in spotty coverage and drop-outs.  To solve this problem, a lower gain "antenna grid" was designed;  a larger number of lower gain antennae would "normalize" the RF levels entering the Rx  fibre nodes but provide better coverage by minimizing the distance between mobile devices and antennae.  On the Tx side, amplifiers were used at each floor's Tx fiber nodes, to bump up the level prior to splitting to each of the Tx antennae on that floor.  The system required combining a total of 58 antennae distributed across 7 floors plus exterior locations on the 7th floor roof and the main floor building entrance. (Rx and Tx.)  This is the largest combined antenna system in a fixed installation in Canada.

The new Sennheiser wireless microphone system operating range was selected to provide isolation from the Tx systems (Lectrosonics IFB and Telex Intercom)  This facilitated a building wide coordination that allowed any device (Rx or Tx) to be used anywhere in the building and exterior locations.  Filters were placed below 450 MHz and above 700 MHz - as well as between the microphone and intercom ranges.  General frequency plan below - antenna location drawings, combining system and coordination documents are available from the PDF link:

 

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CBC Toronto Broadcast Centre - Various Projects: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013.

The Canadian Broadcasting Centre is located at 250 Front Street West in downtown Toronto, is the broadcast headquarters and master control point for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's English-language television and radio services. It also contains studios for local and regional French language productions and is also home to the North American Broadcasters Association. Consisting of 13 functional and spatially impressive stories, the broadcast complex has architectural, structural and infrastructural design features that considered the emerging concepts of information technologies underlying digital HDTV, Digital Radio Broadcast, and an IT platform for the multi-media cloud, integrated with the Internet.

Rob has been involved in numerous RF projects with various CBC engineering and production groups at the CBC over the past 5 years. The last project (2013) was the first installation at the CBC for a Sennheiser 9000 series digital RF systems. It was deployed in the main floor atrium for special events and for support coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup. Attached is a system block diagram.

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Combined Wireless Mic and IFB Systems
Global Television Network -  is a privately owned Canadian broadcast television network that is owned by Shaw Media/Shaw Communications. It is currently Canada's second most-watched broadcast television network and has twelve owned-and-operated stations throughout the country.   The flag-ship station, CIII-DT, maintains studio facilities located at 81 Barber Greene Road in the Don Mills district of Toronto, and its transmitter is located atop the CN Tower in downtown Toronto. The station serves much of the population of Ontario through a network of 13 transmitters across primarily the southern and central portions of the province.

Global Television updated a major portion of their wireless microphones and IFB systems during a major facility update to high-definition in 2007. Once of the motivations was to centralize equipment anda requirement for IP Addressable - remote controllable and managed devices were required. Rob was an integral part with Global engineering in providing a robust RF system for their facilities.

Below is a block diagram of the microphones... The PDFs shows a block diagram of the IFB system...

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Global Television - Downtown: 2010 - 2011

Global Television - Downtown  - is a broadcast facility built to host "The Morning Show": a nationally aired show by Global Television.  The magazine-style show feature news, weather and current events, plus a four-way discussion among the hosts.  The facility was built in a downtown location near the corner of Bloor Street and Church.  The facility is connected with fiber for audio, video, intercom, etc - to their main location in Don Mills.

Rob was contracted to build the RF system for mics and IFB's as well as an intercom system based on 1.9GHz licence-free DECT technologies from RIedel Communications.  The coverage of all systems were for a mid-sized TV studio plus exterior spaces just outside the studio - which is on street level, facing the busy downtown Bloor Street location.  This includes a large courtyard immediately west of the (red) studio doors - orange area below:

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Bell Media - 299 Queen Street: 2010 - 2011

299 Queen Street West - also known as Bell Media Queen Street, is the television/radio broadcast hub of Bell Canada's media unit, Bell Media is located at the south-east corner of Queen Street West and John Street in downtown Toronto, Canada. The building previously served as the headquarters of CTVglobemedia until Bell Canada acquired CTV in 2011 - as well as CHUM Television, until CTV acquired CHUM in 2007.  The current facility operates studios and production facilities for Bravo, BNN, CP24, The Comedy Network, Comedy Gold, E!, Investigation Discovery, M3, MTV2, MuchMusic and Space. In addition, selected CTV programs, including eTalk and The Marilyn Denis Show, are produced at the building.

Engineering at CTV contacted Sennheiser in regards to replacing all of their studio microphone systems to the 3000/5000 series devices - including combing 4 large production areas used by various production facilities. The coverage area included numerous studios in the main buildings, plus exterior spaces; public sidewalk areas encircling the building on Queen Street, John Street and Richmond Street - in addition to parts of the parking lot where it is used form special events like the MMVA's. (Much Music Video Awards)

The combining system was for both Rx and Tx. The Rx combining system combined diversity RX antennae from 4 zones and distributed to 24 3732 receivers, through a custom Sennheiser combing system. The Tx combiner provided a similar function by combining the transmitter outputs and then splitting to the four zones. A Tx amplifier at each antenna location provided and cable and splitting compensation. The antenna locations are below - the PDF link has block diagrams.

 

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Alberta Infrastrucure Project: Edmonton Remand Centre - 2011 -2013
The Edmonton Remand Centre is the largest, most technologically advanced remand facility in Canada. With a maximum bed capacity of 1,952, the Centre is built around a direct supervision system that increases inmates’ access to services and programs — and enhances facility security. Correctional peace officers are stationed inside living units to maintain direct and frequent contact with inmates. The new Centre is the size of 10 CFL football fields and rests on a site the size of 27 football fields. Construction on the $580 million centre began in 2007. It’s located at 18415 – 127 Street in Edmonton on 16 hectare site. The total facility area is 59,511m2 and includes 53 Video arraignment courts providing a direct link to court rooms throughout Alberta

For more about the Remand Centre, see here: New Edmonton Remand Centre

Rob Poretti was the lead RF consultant for the design of security guard communications systems in conjunction with Alberta Infrastructure engineers. The project entailed defining a specification to provide an IFB type communication system so that security guards could coordinate the transportation of inmates from facility cells to one of 53 video arraignment areas. The system had to be robust and easy to use with 100% coverage in all defined operating areas. The largest of these areas was the Main Video Arraignment which included 32 video courts.

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Sennheiser Offering RF Coordination Services For Vancouver Winter Olympics - PRESS RELEASE
Sennheiser Canada, in a coordinated effort with Sennheiser Germany, announces the opening of an RF/equipment service and sales facility in conjunction with the upcoming XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The facility will offer assistance to radio and television broadcasters from all corners of the globe using Sennheiser technology that requires frequency coordination and equipment service. Broadcasters will be able to purchase Sennheiser’s new 2000 Series wireless systems as well. Sennheiser’s 2010 Olympic RF coordination facility will open on February 6th – six days before the games officially start – and close at the end of day on February 14th. To secure an appointment, it is recommended that broadcasters contact Sennheiser Canada in advance. “Walk-ins” will be accommodated as time permits.

Sennheiser Canada Technical Consultant Rob Poretti, Germany Global RF Specialist Klaus Willemsen, and Technical Consultant Gerhard Spyra, will staff the Sennheiser Olympic service facility.

All three RF specialists have encyclopedic knowledge of Sennheiser wireless systems and decades of experience implementing Sennheiser technology in the world’s most challenging environments. In fact, Willemsen has been providing RF frequency assistance to Olympic broadcasters for the past fourteen years...

Rob Poretti managed the service shop for the duration.

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Fallsview Casino  - Multi-Zone Antennae Distribution System for Rx & Tx.  Facility-wide coordination.

Fallsview Casino is a casino/resort destination located in Niagara Falls, Canada. In 2009, Rob was contracted to develop a harmonized coordination for their facilities including the main music stage and large multi-zone ballroom. The RF systems were both expanded and revamped. The Avalon stage included 36 microphones, 16 stereo IEM channels and 12 channels of Telex intercom. Both Rx and Tx systems required the possibility of combing with wireless racks provided artists' systems.

Below is a block diagram of the system. The PDF link shows a device organization chart for the frequency coordination.



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