Monday, April 08, 2013
Audio-Technica Offers New Components For SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband Wireless System
New chg004 charger and sei001 encryption interface enhance performance
Audio-Technica has introduced two new components for the SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband (UWB) wireless microphone system, including the new chg004 four-bay charger for SpectraPulse transmitters and the new sei001 encryption interface, which is now included with the optional encryption software available for the SpectraPulse system.
The new components and SpectraPulse system are on display at the A-T booth (C1711)at this week’s NAB 2013 show in Las Vegas.
The new chg004 offers four charging bays that hold either mtu101 microphone transmitters or mtu201 XLR desk stand transmitters; the unit is also designed to charge up to two mtu301 bodypack transmitters. Supplied rechargeable AA Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries are charged within the SpectraPulse transmitters.
The chg004 offers built-in safety features that monitor cell voltage and automatically stop charging if problems are detected or if alkaline (non-rechargeable) or damaged batteries are installed. Maintenance charging prevents battery self-discharge until the transmitter is removed from its charger.
The package includes the chg004 charger, 12 NiMH AA batteries, two charging cables (for charging mtu301 units), a wall adapter power supply and an installation/operation manual.
SpectraPulse systems offer exceptional immunity to eavesdropping, and are available with optional sep128 encryption software that meets the AES 128-bit encryption standard developed by the U.S. government for securing sensitive material. The sep128 software now comes equipped with the sei001 encryption interface, a convenient one-bay encryption station for SpectraPulse transmitters.
The first commercial sound implementation of Ultra Wideband technology, Audio-Technica’s SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband wireless microphone systems offer secure wireless operation for the installed sound market, free from RF competition, frequency coordination and “white space” issues.
These new components are currently available, and they are part of Audio-Technica’s contractor-exclusive Engineered Sound products. As with all line Audio-Technica Engineered Sound products, SpectraPulse comes standard with a five-year warranty.
Posted by Keith Clark on 04/08 at 01:52 PM
BNY Productions Eliminates IEM Dropouts With RF Venue CP Beam Antenna
Switch made after comparison with several leading directional antennas
Seeking to end in-ear monitor signal dropouts, Christian rock band Bread of Stone’s lead guitarist Bill Kirstijanto has switched to the CP Beam antenna from RF Venue to end band’s wireless headaches.
“On our last tour, I was getting a lot of complaints from the guys about drop-outs on our ears monitors,” says Kirstijanto. “We were having trouble getting a consistent signal with our paddle antenna, so that led us to seek out a solution for our IEMs.”
Whenever he isn’t on tour with Bread of Stone, he’s at the helm of Sioux City, Iowa-based live production and consulting company BNY Productions.
Kirstijanto follows a common routine for system setup. “We always perform an RF scan a couple times before setting up, and then walk the stage area to see if there are any dropouts. I also try and place the pack beside our belts, instead of on our backs, so that the signal has fewer objects to travel through and ideally has line of sight when the transmit antenna is positioned at the side of the stage.
“IEM antenna placement is important; side stage versus rear stage can make a big difference and influence where IEM packs should be positioned.”
Kirstijanto found time in between shows to transform the BNY shop back in Iowa into a wireless test range, comparing the leading directional antennas on the market to the CP Beam from RF Venue.
“We did a normal field test – where the CP Beam performed very well – and then we did something a little more rigorous,” he explains. “We tuned the IEMs to occupied frequencies, and recording each antenna’s performance from the same spot. This was to test the worst case scenario.”
As a result of their extensive shootout, BNY Productions now recommends the CP Beam to its clients, and Bread of Stone relies on it for The Promises Tour.
“Under extreme conditions, using the paddle antenna, we got pretty spotty performance- like we’d experienced on tour,” he notes. “With other helical antennas it was much worse, dropping out for ten seconds or more at time. The CP Beam was hands down the best antenna we tested.
The circularly polarized CP Beam is designed for IEM systems as well as long range wireless microphone applications, providing high gain and consistent signal, all in a lightweight foldable design that fits in a 2RU rack drawer.
Posted by Keith Clark on 04/08 at 07:23 AM
Friday, April 05, 2013
Pop Singer Camryn Takes Shure Wireless On The Road
ULXD4Q Quad Channel Digital Receiver with Dante Digital Audio Networking is Workhorse Behind Opening Act of One Direction’s ‘Up All Night’ Tour
Transitioning a young artist from a junior high stage performance to a global arena tour takes a great deal of planning and work. After several months touring almost 100 schools across the U.S., pop singer Camryn was tapped by boy band One Direction to be the opening act for its “Up All Night” tour.
Ready to face the high-stress demands that come with executing flawless sold-out stadium performances, Camryn’s manager and FOH Engineer, Jeff Pringle, turned to Shure’s ULX-D Digital Wireless Microphone System with quad channel digital receivers and Dante digital audio networking.
The move to a wireless system was not easy, as Pringle was reluctant to allow Camryn to use anything but her wired KSM9.
“Being a maturing artist, it’s important Camryn always sounds good to each and every fan,” said Pringle. “I remember conversations with her where I would argue that a wireless system affects how good vocals can sound. Deep down though, I knew Camryn needed a wireless solution to give her freedom of movement on an arena stage.
“After doing my homework, I was introduced to Shure’s ULXD4Q quad with Dante. My world changed.”
Pringle got his hands on ULX-D after hearing industry chatter about its unmatched audio clarity. Although the sound quality was paramount, it was the system’s integration of Dante networking that amplified the engineering behind Camryn’s performances, as the feature enables Pringle to distribute multiple channels of audio to a variety of devices over a single Ethernet cable.
“ULX-D has given us this really amazing and unique ability to manipulate the integration of vocals and guitars with our console and Pro Tools set-up—and it’s all because of Dante,” Pringle commented. “We have no guitar rigs on stage and no rack-mounted guitar simulators—everything is routed through the Dante signal to the console, or to our Mac mini computers and then to the console.
“I even run Pro Tools as an insert on my vocal channels, just like a piece of outboard gear, which is huge because I can automate the plug-ins, significantly relieving my FOH workload.”
“The flexibility of adding Pro Tools on the same network doesn’t compromise the system’s stability, enabling me to do my job confidently,” Pringle added. “While feature-packed, ULX-D’s Dante networking provides reliable, low latency audio networking.”
At only 7.6 pounds, the ULXD4Q has also proven valuable for traveling, as it delivers space savings in the rack and cost savings when shipping.
“Between the wireless gear, monitor gear, and in-ears, our whole show is contained in one 13-rack space road case that weighs less than 50 pounds,” commented Pringle. “We can easily check the gear in as luggage when hopping on a flight to get to the next show.”
A backbone for Camryn’s tour, Pringle and his team took the ULX-D system on the road when Camryn rejoined One Direction for its 2013 World Tour in Europe, which began on February 23. The tour includes more than 60 sold-out shows.
“I love this [ULXD4Q] box and all of the folks at Shure who help me do my job better,” concluded Pringle. “From a consumer standpoint, they’re always getting it right—the company listens to the features I need and always has customer support who will pick up the phone and answer my questions.”
Services At First Presbyterian Church Thrive With Lectrosonics
Lectrosonics Quadra wireless digital IEM and Digital Hybrid Wireless technologies combine for world-class cable-free audio.
Since 1804—when Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States and Lewis and Clark were exploring the newly purchased Louisiana Territory— First Presbyterian Church has been meeting the spiritual needs of people in the Augusta area and around the world.
Music plays a prominent role in the church’s worship activities and to ensure the best possible sound quality for all involved, an impressive assortment of wireless technology from Rio Rancho, NM-basedLectrosonics is utilized.
Brandt Fincher serves as the media consultant at First Presbyterian Church. He specializes in location audio recording, audio for video post-production and mastering, as well as film scoring, video production and media integration for distance learning.
With this background, he is a natural choice to assist First Presbyterian Church in their efforts to improve their sound reinforcement capabilities. He discussed the project and his decision to deploy Lectrosonics’ Quadra IEM systems as well as the Digital Hybrid Wireless UM400a beltpack transmitters and HM plug-on transmitters in conjunction with the company’s Venue receiver mainframe and VRT receiver modules.
“Worship can occur in a variety of settings at First Presbyterian,” Fincher explains. “Our music and arts director, Paul Roberts, is encouraged by the church leadership to explore a variety of musical avenues. We are not only covering traditional services that incorporate a wide scope of instrumental ensembles and choirs but contemporary services that can range in a variety of styles from blues to bluegrass.
“With roughly 1,500 worshippers each week divided among the various services, we need equipment that can reliably perform well. Of particular note, after vacating the sanctuary for renovations, we also found ourselves with limited space in our current location. We couldn’t afford to sacrifice the amount of floor space stage monitors require, so an IEM system was very appealing. This eventually led us to the Lectrosonics Quadra system.”
“Our goal has been to maintain a relatively clean stage while keeping sound quality and flexibility a priority,” Fincher continued. “I have a long history with Lectrosonics and selected their products for their exceptional sound quality and reliability. When the company introduced the Quadra,
“I knew it had to be good and viewed it as a wise and very low-risk investment. We initially bought six Quadras but added two more systems shortly after. The Quadra system is a unique fit for us because we are able to feed multiple channels of clean audio for each person—enabling them to custom tailor their own mix without having to resort to networked systems.
“The Quadra IEM’s provide the versatility we need without having to maintain extra lines and hardware in an already confined space.”
For wireless microphones, Fincher’s choice of UM400a beltpacks and HM plug-on transmitters proved a great choice to address the church’s wide range of wireless applications.
“Our microphone requirements vary quite a bit,” Fincher reports. “Having the ability to use any mic in our collection wirelessly without a noticeable loss in gain or sound quality is a great advantage. With the HM transmitters, not only are we able to choose which mic we need for a particular purpose, we are also able to spot mic choirs and other ensembles without having to run cabling through a congested area.”
Fincher’s choice of the Venue receiver system addressed the church’s space limitations with equal aplomb, “As is the case with both the Quadra IEM’s and the wireless mic transmitters, the Venue system doesn’t require as much rack space as many other systems. The Venue receiver setup was yet another space-efficient choice that addressed our requirements very well.
Reflecting on the variety of Lectrosonics equipment First Presbyterian Church uses, Fincher offered these final comments, “Collectively, the Lectrosonics Quadra IEM’s, transmitters and the Venue receiver system deliver exceptional audio quality. We could not be more pleased. The gear is very well crafted and performs beautifully. When the time comes for us to move back into the sanctuary, we already have plans to add more Lectrosonics equipment.”
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Clear-Com Unveils Further Enhancements To Tempest Digital Wireless Intercom At PL+S 2013
Latest update includes a remote line extender
Clear-Com is announcing enhancements to its Tempest digital wireless intercom at the upcoming Prolight + Sound 2013 show in Frankfurt (Hall 8.0, Stand L51).
Among the enhancements is a remote transceiver line extender that further increases the Tempest systems’ ability to provide portable wireless communications capabilities in RF-rich environments.
The new remote line extender increases the system’s cable run distance of a remote antenna by 3,000 feet (914 meters), with one line extender or 2,000 feet (609 meters) per line extender if using more than one. This allows for the deployment of larger systems with longer cable runs from the BaseStation.
A total of three line extenders can be connected to provide total coverage of up to 7,500 feet (2,286 meters).
The Tempest2400 is a 2.4-GHz wireless intercom with either two or four channels designed to provide interference-free communications for tours and performance facilities. The Tempest2400 offers a Seamless Roaming feature, which provides users with continuous wireless coverage across an expanded production space.
The Seamless Roaming feature allows BeltStation users to migrate between as many as 16 different Tempest BaseStations (coverage areas or zones), allowing audio professionals to focus on critical production cues rather than on the settings of their wireless BeltStations. This gives them the ability to move freely and wirelessly throughout large venues separated by large distances, such as multi-studio complexes and sports arenas.
Both Seamless Roaming and iSelect Roaming are available to accommodate virtually every application need.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Avlex Introduces New MIPRO ACT-818/828 True Digital Wireless Microphone System
Two new receivers plus handheld and bodypack transmitters
Avlex Corporation has announced the new MIPRO ACT-818/828 wideband true digital wireless receivers and two matching transmitters: the ACT-80T true digital encryptable bodypack transmitter and the ACT-80H true digital encryptable handheld microphone transmitter.
The new ACT-818/828 digital wireless receivers are available in single-channel (ACT-818) and dual-channel (ACT-828) configurations. Both models are true diversity digital systems with absolutely no companding to ensure pristine audio quality. These receivers employ 256-bit encryption that can be enabled/disabled as required.
The receivers operate from 480 MHz to 698 MHz over 3 bands, each with expanded 64 MHz bandwidth. They employ 24-bit/44.1 kHz audio sampling, a true dynamic range of 115 dBA, proprietary SmartEQ with capsule emulation and low latency.
The new ACT-80T is a very small true digital bodypack unit—enabling the transmitter to be conveniently hidden among wardrobe. In addition to direct mute capability, the ACT-80T offers remote mute capability via the optional MJ-70 remote mute switch control—enabling the person wearing the transmitter to easily mute/unmute the transmitter—even when it is buried underneath clothing.
The ACT-80T offers battery life of over 12 hours using two AA batteries, a robust magnesium alloy housing to withstand the abuse typically encountered in the field, a multifunction backlit LCD display for easy viewing of system parameters, shielded controls that prevent accidental operation, and six selectable gain settings.
The MIPRO ACT-80H handheld transmitter has a lightweight magnesium alloy housing that is both rugged and comfortable to hold. It incororates a condenser cardioid capsule for audio quality with superior off-axis and plosive characteristics. It too offers12-plus hours of performance from two AA batteries.
In addition to a manual mute on/off, this unit features an Auto Mute function whereby the transmitter automatically mutes itself when lowered by one’s side, etc. — a means of avoiding feedback when in the hands of unseasoned users.
Rounding out the key features, the ACT-80H includes a multifunction backlit LCD display for easy viewing of system parameters and selectable gain, low cut, and limiting settings among its many features. Top it all off with color end clips for easy identification as well as the choice of black or champagne finishes and the ACT-80H is a tough act to follow.
Fred Canning, national sales manager for Avlex Corporation, states, “The new MIPRO true digital wireless systems deliver outstanding features at an affordable price. They provide an expanded 64 MHz bandwidth, ensuring optimal RF spectrum flexibility.
“These true digital diversity systems include a full-color Vacuum Fluorescent Display for clear viewing, one touch ACT for quick and easy channel setup, SmartEQ with capsule emulation, and 12 hours of battery life,” he continues. “True condenser handheld capsules, auto mute capability, and the world’s smallest digital bodypack, plus the ability to engage 256-bit encryption to ensure secure transmission when needed make MIPRO’s third generation true digital systems able to deliver features not found elsewhere, I’m confident audio professionals will find this a compelling system.”
The new MIPRO true digital wireless system carries the following MSRPs:
• ACT-818 single-channel receiver system (transmitters included): $1,450
• ACT-828 dual-channel receiver system: $1,400
• ACT-80T bodypack transmitter: $725
• ACT-80H handheld transmitter: $725
All models are in stock and available now.
Posted by Keith Clark on 04/03 at 09:21 AM
View/Download The Latest PSW Webinar: Wireless Apocalypse Or Hype?
What you need to know about the future of RF for professional audio
The recording of the recent PSW webinar—“Wireless Apocalypse or Hype?”—is now available for viewing and download here.
Presented by noted RF/wireless consultant James Stoffo, the webinar will get you up to speed on the state of affairs on white space device introduction in the U.S. this year and going forward, and how it will affect your wireless microphone and intercom operations.
Further, learn methods to maximize your chances for successful wireless microphone and intercom operations.
In addition, Stoffo unveiled wireless intercom technologies developed by his new company, Radio Active Designs (RAD). This new technology will be on display at the upcoming NAB 2013 Show in Las Vegas.
Again, go here to view/download the webinar.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Special Report: The Current & Future Wireless/RF Landscape
This year, for the first time in the history of man-made radio, digital consumer devices will share RF spectrum with wireless systems
Note that the recent PSW webinar, “Wireless Apocalypse or Hype,” presented by the author and providing further information, is also now available for viewing and download here.
After dedicating my entire professional career to wireless audio, I can assure you that there is no “hype” here. Whether the “apocalypse” applies or not is largely up to us. If we pay attention to the new RF landscape and follow a few simple guidelines, we may just all get through this relatively unscathed, only slightly worse for the wear.
The problem…Just a few years ago, the wireless production community lost fully one-third of the amount of radio spectrum it’s had since the introduction of wireless microphones more than five decades ago. Of course, I’m referring to the infamous “700 MHz auction” of 2009.
Digital television (DTV) has energized throughout the U.S., leaving much less radio space than we’ve ever had. On top of that, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now implemented ET docket 04-186 to introduce “super Wi-Fi” consumer devices in the U.S.
This year, for the first time in the history of man-made radio, digital consumer devices will share radio frequency (RF) spectrum with wireless microphone, in-ear monitor, and intercom systems.
This means that in the very near future, your audience may be full of smartphones transmitting data right on top of your wireless systems. Not too cool—especially if the wireless intercoms are key to a life-safety situation.
What To Do
There are a few 6 MHz slices of radio spectrum where these digital consumer devices are not authorized to operate. If you know exactly where those are, then you should be able to accommodate many dozens of frequencies for your event. This, coupled with proper RF band planning and antenna techniques, will maximize chances for success.
There are two types of digital consumer gadgets known as television band devices (TVBDs): fixed and portable. Fixed TVBDs may operate in both the VHF and UHF ranges with a few caveats. They’re not authorized to operate adjacent to any active television station, meaning that these unused 6 MHz “slices” are a great place to operate wireless mics, IEM, and intercom systems.
Portable TVBDs may only operate above 512 MHz in the UHF band. In addition, there are two TV channels in each city that are reserved for use by wireless production audio systems. These are the first 6 MHz TV channels above and below channel 37.
TV channel 37 is the chunk of radio spectrum reserved for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and wireless telemetry, and goes from 608 to 614 MHz.
This is why wireless microphone and intercom systems cannot tune to that range in the U.S. (Try it.)
The FCC has also authorized TVBD database administrators throughout the country. Their job is to process requests that result in an over-the-air instruction to all TVBDs in a given area to stay clear of a specific radio band that is protected by request.
So if you qualify, you may submit your request for protection from TVBDs. The FCC has specified that this database will be reserved for large special events and broadcasters who are FCC Part 74 licensees.
Most unlicensed wireless operators should prepare to make do with the radio bands that TVBDs are not authorized to operate in. This includes unused spectrum adjacent to TV channels in:
—76-88 MHz low band VHF (TV 5 and 6)
—174-216 MHz high band VHF (TV 7 through 13)
—470-512 MHz TV bands (14 through 20)
—First open TV band above TV 37 in your city
—First open TV Band below TV 37 in your city
Most wireless systems in the U.S. operate in the UHF spectrum, which has created more RF congestion than ever in this band. In addition, all analog wireless systems implement Frequency Modulation (FM), which is spectrally inefficient compared to other forms of analog modulation. Transmitters take up too much spectrum, and each receiver requires over 300 kHz of spectrum to process the information. You can place 10 systems in that amount of space using other types of more efficient modulation.
Be on the lookout for more spectrally efficient products from wireless manufacturers. You should also attempt to escape the UHF band wherever possible. This is especially true since the FCC has stated that you may not seek database protection unless you’ve implemented equipment in other RF bands such as VHF. I anticipate that manufacturers will begin to migrate back to the VHF band in the near future.
So, at least for now, if you maximize use of equipment outside of the UHF band, implement proper RF band planning, and deploy 6 MHz cavity filters on your base station receivers, you’ll likely get through this wave of re-allocations. Watch for future FCC auctions (at www.fcc.gov) that will have a further negative impact on wireless audio equipment.
Stay informed and stay tuned.
James Stoffo is CTO of Radio Active Designs, a new wireless technology company. He also provides wireless and frequency coordination with high-profile performances, events and venues such as the Super Bowl, Broadway theatre, the World Cup, theme parks, NBA All-Star Weekend, the Radio City Rockettes, and many others.
Posted by Keith Clark on 04/02 at 11:06 AM
GoodLuck’s International Tour Relies On AKG Wireless Systems
Since the release of its self-titled debut album in 2011, South African electro-swing dance group GoodLuck has reached the number one spot on South African charts six times and performed more than 500 live shows in seven countries utilizing AKG wireless microphone systems.
Since the release of its self-titled debut album in 2011, South African electro-swing dance group GoodLuck has reached the number one spot on South African charts six times and performed more than 500 live shows in seven countries.
Equipped with Harman’s AKG WMS4500 wireless system, GoodLuck entertains its loyal fans with mashups of old school swing music, electronic dance and its own original vocals.
With three AKG PT4500 bodypack transmitters, an HT4500 handheld transmitter and D7 capsule microphones, GoodLuck performs its chart-topping hits with clear and quality sound in any country.
“GoodLuck has been a fantastic member of the AKG family, extending our global reach and building our reputation for internationally acclaimed premium live sound on an international level,” stated Walter Ruhrig, Artist & Key Customer Relations, AKG. “As an international touring band, the quality of its performance reflects heavily on its fans’ and followers’ experience at events and we are proud to offer GoodLuck AKG’s premium wireless systems.”
GoodLuck was recently nominated for three South African Music Awards including ‘Best Dance Album,’ ‘Best Duo / Group’ and the coveted ‘Record of the Year.’
The group’s live show has been hailed as one of the most explosive and energetic in the electronic music world.
“When using AKG, we know our fans are hearing exactly what we envision our sound to be,” stated Ben Peters of GoodLuck. “This past year has been so great for our group and we look forward to working with AKG to continue sharing our art with the world!”
Riedel Digital Matrix & Wireless Intercoms Enable Clear Communications At Pershing Square Center
Two elements unite to provide flexible platform for communications throughout facility
New York City’s Signature Theatre Company has installed a Riedel Communications digital intercom system at the Pershing Square Signature Center, the company’s Frank Gehry-designed home situated off-Broadway on 42nd Street.
The installation includes the Riedel Artist digital intercom matrix and Acrobat Digital Wireless Intercom system, which unite to provide a flexible platform for broadcast-audio-quality communications throughout the facility.
“Riedel’s digital intercom products give us the quality and versatility that is critical for productions in a modern theater environment,” says Graham Johnson, sound, video, and communications supervisor at Signature Theatre Company. “Not only is the ability to communicate essential to the production, but it is also critical to the safety of our staff and performers. The Riedel systems have surpassed our expectations in every way.”
The facility’s Artist systems feature a distributed masterless system architecture that significantly reduces wiring, making it easy and cost-effective for users to configure intercom panels and partylines to meet current production requirements at the center’s three theaters: the Linney, the Diamond, and the Griffin.
For each theater, engineers have created stage manager stations comprised of Artist 1000 Series control key-panels packaged into flight cases. Access plates throughout the building provide connections for both Artist control panels and Performer digital partylines, which are routed via a central patch bay.
The theater company uses an Acrobat CC-60 cell controller to support 16 wireless beltpacks. In addition, 24 Acrobat CA-6 cell antenna units installed at the Pershing Square Signature Center ensure complete coverage of the building with seamless hand-over between the antennas’ cells, providing intercom communications with consistently high audio quality regardless of users’ location.
The Acrobat system is optimized for both partyline and point-to-point communications and provides digital audio quality without interfering with UHF radio microphones or in-ear monitors.
Monday, April 01, 2013
Behringer Introduces EUROPORT iP40PRO
Behringer has introduced the latest in its EUROPORT product line, the iP40PRO, an all-in-one portable PA system with full Bluetooth connectivity for users who demand cutting-edge audio coupled with supreme ease of operation.
Behringer has introduced the latest in its EUROPORT product line, the iP40PRO, an all-in-one portable PA system with full Bluetooth connectivity for users who demand cutting-edge audio coupled with supreme ease of operation.
The iP40PRO can handle gatherings of up to 250 people, making it ideal for company picnics, pool parties, corporate presentations—or any other event requiring fast setup and high-quality audio performance.
The iP40PRO features a 40-Watt, Class-D amplifier; a powerful 8-inch woofer and high-resolution tweeter housed in a rugged self-contained package; Integrated wheels and a convenient retractable luggage-style handle for ease of transport. To further enhance portability, a rechargeable internal battery provides up to 12 hours of on-the-go operation.
A robust “Planet Earth” switching power supply offers maximum flexibility (100 - 240 V ~) worldwide, as well as noise-free audio with superior transient response and lower power consumption. Two microphone inputs with high-quality mic preamps and individual volume controls are provided, as well as an Aux input for connecting external audio players.
And since much of today’s music resides on smart phones and computer tablets, the iP40PRO comes equipped to stream audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device such as an iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, or laptop computer. Users can also seamlessly integrate the Behringer ULM Series digital mics (sold separately) for complete audio freedom.
Happy April 1! Lectrosonics Unveils First Solar-Powered Wireless Microphone Transmitter
The WXLRMAG "supercharger" is a 10-in magnifying glass that is used to concentrate the sun's rays onto the WXLR case
Lectrosonics announced today, April 1, that it is introducing the world’s first solar-powered wireless microphone transmitter, the WXLR.
The new transmitter is based on the idea that today’s solar cell technology is sufficiently advanced for use on portable electronic devices.
The WXLR utilizes the design of the previously introduced WM water-tight transmitter. Being fanatics, Lectrosonics engineers aimed to simplify that design even further and make the housing even more bulletproof by eliminating the battery compartments and associated doors altogether.
While discussing solar power as a potential option, one engineer realized that solar insolation is almost exactly 1 kW per square meter, or 0.65 watts per square inch in full sunlight. Solar insolation is the available power from the sun that strikes the earth’s surface after atmospheric losses.
The WXLR case is 2.98-in by 2.55-in, equating to 7.6 square inches. With new multiple-junction, single crystal gallium arsenide solar cells approaching 39 percent efficiency, a custom cell sized for the WXLR case could produce 1.92 watts in direct sunlight. Since the unit only uses half of a watt to operate at the two lower power settings of 50 and 100 mW, there is more than enough power to run the transmitter and charge permanently installed internal Li-Ion batteries, even after overcoming small conversion losses.
What really makes the concept workable is the 30 percent Federal Tax Credit for solar installations combined with the 10 percent State Tax Credits. The 10 percent tax credit is allowed by progressive states such as New Mexico and fortunately, New Mexico is where Lectrosonics is located.
Lectrosonics has always been a leader when it comes to providing accessories for its customers, in order to enhance utility and user experience. The first accessory, the WXLRMAG “supercharger,” is a 10-in magnifying glass that is used to concentrate the sun’s rays onto the WXLR case, reducing charging time (vs. plain sunlight) from 2 hours down to 30 minutes. The user is cautioned that the WXLR will become extremely hot when charged in this manner. A special set of insulating gloves is included with the WXLRMAG.
The second accessory, the WXLRNIGHT, is used when the WXLR must be charged at night or in rainy weather. It uses a 300-watt OSRAM Ultra Vitalux sun lamp tanning bulb. This bulb with its stand and reflector can be plugged into any AC outlet such as those commonly found in hotel rooms and on sound mixer carts. This accessory charges the WXLR in approximately 2 hours and can charge 4 WXLR transmitters at once. Other accessories will be released in the near future.
Lectrosonics intended to release the WXLR in time to coincide with the Vernal Equinox on March 20 (first day of spring) when the sun is directly above the equator. However, unforeseen supply issues caused a delay of 12 days for the introduction.
MSRP: $2,395 for the WXLR, $79.95 for the WXLRMAG and $295 for the WXLRNIGHT. Spare bulbs are $90.
And finally, the company notes, “Sorry, Charlie T., this product is not for use or sale in Seattle.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 04/01 at 06:52 AM
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Seven Common Wireless System Misconceptions
And what you can do about them...
When it comes to entertainment wireless systems, it’s not uncommon to hear a wide range of opinions, ideas, “facts” and methodologies about anything from microphone technique to drive racks to damping factor. And quite often, these perceptions are either slightly off-base or are dead wrong.
Having worked in the wireless business for several years now, I’ve heard my share of doozies. Here are some of the more common misconceptions.
1. A directional “paddle” antenna is always needed. Sure, a directional antenna can be a good idea – and even a great one – depending on the application. However, it’s not mentioned often enough that a directional antenna can be best used when the null (the rear) of the antenna is pointed toward an unwanted RF source, such as TV towers, while the live end (the front) is pointed toward the talent.
In this way, the RF signal-to-noise ratio is enhanced. Simply pointing the antennas at talent without considering that the boost realized from the directional pattern may be raising the noise floor right along with your desired signal.
2. Using RF booster amplifiers for the receiver antenna system gives greater operating range. The only reason to use RF boosters in an antenna system is to overcome signal losses in the antenna cables. To determine if boosters are even needed, consider that directional antennas have about 4 dB of passive gain. Using a low-loss cable such as 9913F7 means that even for a 100-foot run, there is only about 3 dB of loss at 600 MHz. Thus, a booster is not needed.
The goal should be to have approximately unity gain between antennas and receivers. Too much boost really is a bad thing for more reason than one. First, receivers are designed to accept no more than a certain signal strength. Too hot of an RF signal can “desensitize” receivers, actually reducing range. Second, simple (passive) is always best in an antenna system if you can manage it. The more gain stages in the receiver system, the more opportunity for unwanted IM (intermod) signal generation.
3. Using a certain brand of battery makes an appreciable difference in range or audio performance. Really? It’s certainly O.K. to be loyal to whatever brand gives you consistent, reliable results. However, nearly all modern transmitters use DC-DC converters so that they will perform in a consistent manner until the batteries die.
Used batteries may create art, but they also create a lot of waste. (click to enlarge)
Some batteries may last longer than others, but at least for the two major brands (Energizer and Duracell), it’s difficult to measure much of a difference in the real world of actual use.
4. Rechargeable batteries don’t work in wireless mics. Yes, in the old days, NiCad batteries were a horror show. They would develop memories very quickly while rarely developing the voltages of decent alkaline batteries. But the newer technologies are much better. NiMh AA batteries, for instance, are quite good.
Yes, a battery management process needs to be in place if you plan to use rechargeables. That said, these procedures should always be in place for the overall wireless system setup and maintenance anyway.
5. Going digital solves all challenges. Since when? Yes, it’s great to see the innovation with digital that’s been ongoing the past few years.
But what problems does digital really solve? Probably the biggest is sound quality. As good as analog companders have become, they still introduce artifacts into the audio. We can argue all day long about which systems sound better, but this is largely a matter of personal taste based on what we’re used to.
That said, digital audio in wireless mics really does make a difference. Without the compander along with pre- and de-emphasis in the audio path, there is far less distortion in all its forms.
But what digital does not do is change the laws of physics. We still need to carve out some spectrum like we always have. However, there are ways to pack the data streams and use data compression, so we’re seeing potentially higher channel counts now with digital than with analog.
Just remember the engineering triangle. In this context, there is long operating range, good audio quality, and high channel count. Pick any two, because you can’t have all three in one system.
6. VHF systems have greater operating range than UHF models. Sure, there probably was a time (maybe in the 1990s) when this was true, because UHF systems were just being implemented. But today, practical antenna dimensions restrict the kind of range performance that can be attained with VHF.
Particularly with the transmitter, antenna efficiency matters. And antenna efficiency is based on size relative to the size of the waves being transmitted. This is why VHF antennas are rather large. A 1/4-wave antenna in the UHF band measures 3 to 4 inches – a practical size, and they’re quite efficient. Because of this, today’s UHF systems generally far outperform VHF systems.
7. There is “voodoo” or “black magic” associated with getting wireless mic systems to work properly. I hear this more often than anything else. Frankly, it comes from those who have not learned the fundamentals, continuing to stab in the dark and roll the dice.
But mastering the basics of wireless isn’t any more difficult than loudspeaker coverage, power requirements, gain staging or any of the other nuts-and-bolts stuff we must learn if we’re to consider ourselves professionals. Further, modern software makes much of this quite easy, with the caveat that it’s only as good as the user.
Flip It Around
To counterbalance these misconceptions, I’ve put together a set of best wireless practices. This list was developed over many years, and is the foundation of what I teach when doing training on proper setup and use of wireless systems.
1. Develop and deploy a consistent procedure, based on solid science and experience. This requires learning the fundamentals, understanding equipment inside and out, followed by gaining experience putting things into practice.
There is no one “right” procedure; it can be developed to suit your preferences. However, it should always start with receiver antenna system positioning, then receivers (frequency scanning and coordination), followed by transmitter gain staging. Get these things right, and you’re well on your way.
2. Learn, understand and utilize frequency coordination software. As noted, the software is only as good as the user. You’ll probably want to customize the settings to suit your style of working, and/or based on your experiences.
Often, programs have defaults that are fairly conservative, and you’ll be able to get more channels coordinated by relaxing some of them. However, much depends on the quality of the system components and the care with which the system has been set up.
3. Understand the RF fundamentals underlying all wireless mic systems whether they are analog, digital, 472 MHz or 2.4 GHz. Again, no secret here. There are certainly innovations going on in this part of our industry, as there are for loudspeakers, amplifiers and consoles. But just like for those other areas, the fundamentals still apply. There are no magic bullets.
4. Get your receiver antennas 10 feet in the air and at least 10 feet apart for a diversity pair. There is actually math behind this (there is math behind everything!) but let’s just say that with receiver antennas 10 feet in the air, there is better line of sight between transmitters and receivers while minimizing the effects of the floor and other obstacles in the Fresnel Zone.
As for the diversity pair, the bare minimum spacing is often said to be 1 wavelength, which works out to about 1 to 2 feet for UHF systems. However, it’s been demonstrated that the maximum advantage of diversity antenna pairs can be achieved with much greater spacing. A good rule of thumb is to place antennas on either side of the monitor console.
Ignore the Fresnel Zone at your own peril. (click to enlarge)
5. Get receivers and antennas as close to transmitters as possible. This is like mic technique: it’s all about signal to noise. The noise floor is relatively constant, although there can be localized noise sources, too. By placing antennas close to the desired source (transmitters), you’re increasing the desired signal over the undesired. Just watch out for antenna cable loss.
6. Understand that all manufacturers of quality systems have their own ways of doing things, and none is inherently “better” than any other. They all work well. Learn to understand the quirks of each without disparaging any others. If you’re paying $600 to $700 (or more) per channel of wireless, nothing “sucks.”
However, operator skills can make or break a system’s performance based on setup, frequency coordination and other related factors. A pro can get a $500 wireless system to work far better than a hack with a $5,000 wireless rig. True, the more expensive systems do have advantages such as better filtering, often better sound quality, more frequency choices, and probably better durability and reliability. But it still takes users knowing what they’re doing to get the most out of these advantages.
7. Overcome the trepidation associated with using this equipment. Follow the steps outlined here and you’ll be far more confident in specifying, setting up and using wireless systems. My goal is for all of us to be so good at working with wireless that it’s not automatically the first thing blamed when there is noise or other problems in a sound system.
That’s a worthwhile goal, isn’t it?
Karl Winkler is director of business development at Lectrosonics and has worked in professional audio for more than 15 years.
NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers Pre-Game Broadcast Goes Wireless With Shure ULX-D & PSM 1000
Overcomes crowded RF environment and noisy surroundings while offering ease of use
When the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers broadcasting and production teams decided to move their pre-game show from a studio to the public concourse of the Rose Garden Arena, Mike Janes, the team’s vice president of engineering and technology, put together the new gear, including a Shure ULX-D digital wireless system and a PSM 1000 personal monitor system.
Moving from a quiet studio to a public concourse made the broadcast more engaging and exciting for viewers, but presented challenges for hosts Adam Bjaranson and Michael Holton and the technical team. With a crowded RF environment, noisy surroundings, and the need for quick and easy setup and teardown, Janes sought a flexible yet reliable wireless solution, provided by the new ULX-D system.
“Because the set goes up and comes down on a regular basis, we needed a system that was easy to use, easy to collapse, and rugged enough to withstand the repeated abuse,” says Janes. “We use the system as a mobile rack system, which enables the gear to be transported and used at other events throughout the off-season. The life we get out of the system over time is huge.”
To maximize usability, Janes pairs ULX-D with the SBC200 dual-docking battery charger. “We love the rechargability factor,” Janes notes. “It makes it easy to just drop the mic in the same place and know it’s ready to perform the next time we pick it up for future games.
“It’s also much more cost-effective. Before the charger, we were buying fresh batteries before every broadcast, just to have peace of mind, but at $12 a game, over the course of 42 games, it wasn’t cheap. The type of cost savings we obtain from the SBC200 is a big plus.”
Making it possible for the hosts to hear clearly and comfortably was of equal concern. Janes opted for the PSM 1000 personal monitor system, which provides music-quality Interruptible Feedback (IFB) audio and enables each host to set his own volume level.
The PSM 1000 transmitter has been coupled with PSM 900 bodypack receivers. “The system’s compatibility and ease of use has been a nice benefit,” Janes adds.
Along with the bodypacks, the talent is equipped with SE425 Sound Isolating earphones for IFB. “The sound quality far exceeds what we’d call our ‘traditional in-ear drivers’ that we had been using for years, and because of the way [the SE425s] custom fit, they help isolate the noise on-set. The quality of the in-ear driver also allows the announcers to use less volume and protect their hearing in the long-term.”
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Clear-Com Enables Collaboration At Astana Media Center
Kazakhstan’s Newest Broadcast Facility Relies on Eclipse Matrix, FreeSpeak Wireless and V-Series Panels for Day-to-Day Operations
Clear-Com is pleased to announce that the Astana Media Center has taken delivery of a wide range of Clear-Com intercom solutions.
Production personnel at the newly opened broadcasting complex in Kazakhstan rely on Clear-Com’s Eclipse-Median and Eclipse-PiCo digital intercom matrices along with FreeSpeak digital wireless intercoms to communicate across the 75,500-square-meter facility.
The Clear-Com systems provide production staff with reliable, high-quality communications throughout the 24-story Astana Media Center. Eight Eclipse matrices with hundreds of V-Series desktop and rack-mounted intercom panels form the backbone of the facility’s communication network.
FreeSpeak wireless beltpacks are fully integrated with the Eclipse-Median frames, providing mobile users with wireless communications. This comprehensive and integrated intercom solution allows seamless communication between team members located in eight production studios, four news studios, two drama studios, 22 master control rooms, 10 radio stations, cinema concert hall and a conference area.
“The Astana Media Center is one of the most advanced broadcast production facilities in Central Asia. It has a large number of rooms and divisions that serve not only all the broadcasters in the country, but also international broadcasters,” says Burak Devecel, Sales Manager for Akfa Teknoloji, the system integrator that installed the Clear-Com equipment at Astana Media Center.
“The ability to connect multiple Clear-Com Eclipse frames via fibre enables the staff in the complex to manage all the communication for these divisions from a central convenient location and offers an extremely flexible, efficient and future-proof solution.
“Akfa Teknoloji designed and installed the intercom systems for the Astana Media Center, but Clear-Com application engineers supported us during the commissioning stage to ensure the system met customer configuration requirements.
“Their aid was critical to help us meet our project deadline. They also assisted with end-user operational and maintenance training so that every intercom user would be familiar and comfortable with the systems. We’re very satisfied with Clear-Com’s service and support.”
“Astana Media Center’s selection of Clear-Com intercoms is a strong testament to the proven capabilities of this solution,” says Karlie Miles, Director of EMEA and South Asia Pacific Sales, Clear-Com. Clear-Com. “We are proud to be a part of such an important and cutting-edge broadcast organization and look forward to continuing our work with the Astana Media Center as it makes more inroads in Kazakhstan’s broadcast community.”