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Friday's 'Penn P.I.' event was plagued by frequent microphone problems. After experiencing difficulties with two wireless microphones during Friday's Penn Politically Incorrect program in the newly renovated Irvine Auditorium, facilities officials are investigating the source of the problem and hope to have it repaired within the next week. During the event -- one of the first major events to be held in Irvine since it opened earlier this month after major renovations and upgrades to its sound and audio-visual equipment -- microphones worn by Senior Class President Lisa Marshall and host Bill Maher periodically faded in and out, making it difficult for audience members to hear the panelists. The sound problems will not affect the highly anticipated visit of former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to speak in Irvine on October 6, since Netanyahu will be using a standing microphone instead of a wireless one, Hauber said. Officials have pinpointed the wireless microphone problem to the frequency on which they operate, which conflicted with the large number of people in the audience, according to Tom Hauber, who will manage the Perelman Quadrangle upon completion. Irvine is one of the five main buildings that constitute the new Perelman Quad student center. Hauber said that engineers should arrive within the next few days and that the problem should be resolved quickly. "When people enter the auditorium, there is a difference in biorhythm, but it usually? never affects the sound check," Hauber said. "As the frequency decreased, then the volume went down." According to Hauber, the difficulties panelists experienced with the wireless microphones were unexpected and not due to a lack of preparation on the part of the sound crew. "[The microphones] were all tested before anyone was admitted to the auditorium," Hauber said. "They all checked perfectly"-- that is, until the audience entered. Still, he maintained that "we've called in the engineers who actually installed [the microphone system]. Whatever we find the correction that needs to be taken, it will be taken at every event." Hauber added that the microphones are still under warranty in the event that they must be replaced. Students who attended Penn P.I. said that while they found the audio problems distracting, the event was not ruined as a result. Wharton sophomore Scott Kend said he felt audio difficulties took away from the ability of the panelists to maintain a fast-paced, funny dialogue -- especially after Marshall and Maher had to resort to sharing a hand-held microphone -- but that the program was still successful. "It's sort of like the new Billybob's," he said. "I mean, on one hand you sort of think there's something missing [and] it's not like old times. But on the other? it's better than nothing." And Wharton junior Kate Portland said that while the fading of the audio was distracting, she didn't feel it ruined the show. "I don't think it was a big deal at all," she said.

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