When the Hillsborough North Superior Court in Manchester, New Hampshire underwent reconstruction and modernization, they brought in K&S Electronics of Craftsbury, Vermont to upgrade their sound system.
According to K&S President Ken Atherton, “The system had to provide audio for media and function effectively as a PA system. Because we support the FTR (ForTheRecord) digital recording format, our challenge was finding microphones that would provide audio for live reinforcement and recording verbatim testimony in courtrooms with digital-ready audio quality and minimal background noise.
“A while back, we had used 905R Astatic mics for court service windows in Maine.” Atherton continues, “and were impressed with their signal-to-noise performance and vocal clarity. Based on that, we chose Astatic 915B and 920B goosenecks for six courtrooms in the Hillsborough project because they also have impressive signal-to-noise performance and outperformed more expensive microphones.
“We also installed the Astatic 905R at the witness stands because their short length, tight pickup pattern and outstanding sensitivity at picking up soft-spoken witnesses allowed them to be mounted at a greater distance, which also provided a larger work surface. The mics also have a minimal visual impact because of the miniature gooseneck design.
“For the attorneys, we chose Astatic 40-117 microphone stands, which we use in virtually all installations. The muting function is essential for attorney-client privacy and the stand also lends itself well as a platform for modifications. We typically mount either a jack, for wired hearing assistance, or switches that can be wired for sound system-muting applications.”
The rest of the system upgrade included Shure SCM810 8-channel mic mixers, TOA A-912MK2 amplifiers, and Electro-Voice loudspeakers. Atherton also points out that the Shure mixers’ noise gating function teamed effectively with Astatic mics to further increase the gain-before-feedback.
Summing up, Ken explains “We’ve found that the price point of Astatic microphones make them an excellent choice in today’s economy without any compromises in quality. Comparing them with other brands, we’ve found they perform as well as brands that cost three times as much. And for Hillsborough, their performance was definitely up to the recording quality of the FTR system. They are quiet, natural-sounding microphones, which makes them an ideal choice for courtroom applications.”