Audio-Technica Network Solutions Selected for Pittsburgh City Council Chambers

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STOW, OH — The City of Pittsburgh recently completed a major renovation of the government access broadcast infrastructure in its 100-year-old Pittsburgh City-County Building, including the installation of a Dante™-networked Engineered Sound® conference microphone system from Audio-Technica, for use in the City Council chambers. The city engaged RPC Video, Inc. of Verona, Pennsylvania, to design, supply and integrate the new in-house broadcast, streaming and archiving production systems and infrastructure for City Channel Pittsburgh, which is available live via Comcast and Verizon and the city’s website, and on-demand on its YouTube channel.

RPC Video installed a total of 23 Audio-Technica ATND8677 Microphone Desk Stands with Dante Network Output in the chambers for use by the council members, Council President, City Clerk and other participants. The base unit’s touch-sensitive switch may be programed to operate in a variety of mute and talk modes, or can be set to remotely trigger other Dante-enabled equipment. Twenty-two of the stands are paired with Audio-Technica ES915C18 18-inch Cardioid Goosenecks, while one is fitted with an A-T U857QLU UniLine® Condenser Quick-Mount microphone on a 23-inch gooseneck. In addition, five ES915C24 24-inch goosenecks are mounted on through-desk shock mounts. Two ATND8677 desk stands with ES915C18 goosenecks are also installed in the control room for studio intercom use.

“I am extremely pleased with the microphone choice that we made,” says David Finer, who was appointed Communication Technology Manager at City of Pittsburgh in late 2014. The single biggest selling point for the council members was the programmable mute button, he reports. “To be able to mute themselves, turn and cough, or talk to the person next to them, and know that they are not going to be heard, was a huge thing for them.”

The city council members had been using the same XLR-connected microphones for 30-plus years, according to Steve Obenreder, RPC Video’s Sales Manager. The decision to include Audio-Technica products in the project was an easy one to make, he says. “We’ve been Audio-Technica dealers for a few years. When we were starting to design this, we didn’t look around. Based on what we’d done with A-T before, and the Dante microphone bases that they have, I just knew they were going to work fine.”

Pittsburgh celebrated the bicentennial of its incorporation as a city earlier this year; the Pittsburgh City-County Building was constructed on the city’s 100-year anniversary. At one time the facility reportedly had one of the most extensive community broadcasting systems in the nation, but over the ensuing years the installed AV equipment fell behind the current state of the art.

The old analog wiring in the building, which occupies a city block, has now been replaced by a fiber infrastructure that interconnects the City Council chambers on the third floor, broadcast production and engineering facilities on the ninth floor and editing facilities on the sixth floor. Audio transport is via two separate Dante networks, one for sound reinforcement in the chamber and another for the video production system that televises sessions by the legislative body.

“This project – the microphones, cameras and speakers in council chambers, our two engineering spaces and our control room – really was 30-plus years in the making,” says Finer. “We are up to date for the first time in 34 years. We’ve made a huge leap in the last 18 months, skipping, by my count, at least two generations of video technology. Even as recently as 2013 we were still recording on video tape. Now that it’s done, we’re up to 2016 standards.”

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