Wednesday, August 01, 2012
SACOM Now Shpping New DS8400/8800 Digital Wireless Microphone System
1RU receiver chassis holds up to eight receiver modules
SACOM is now shipping the new DS8400/8800, a full conference or stage microphone digital wireless system with 24-bit digital transmission providing the ability to tailor wireless audio devices to specific application environments.
The 1RU receiver chassis holds up to eight receiver modules. The system has a built-in antenna distribution amp so up to eight chassis (or 64-channels) can be daisy-chained together and operate with a single pair of extension antennas.
The antenna run can be up to 75 feet with RG58 or about 200 feet with RG8.
SACOM’s 256-bit encryption algorithm conforms to the US Government AES (FIPS PUB 197) specifications. Systems are also available without the encryption feature.
The system is built around NiMH batteries but will run on alkaline batteries. A free docking station is included with each receiver.
The transmitters can also be powered using a mini-USB charger or power from the USB port on a computer.
The DS engine’s RF technology allows for secure transmissions via certified data encryption without adding latency.
Latency is 2.8 mS digital out or 3.8 analog out. Analog and digital out operate simultaneously in parallel.
The same 32-channls can be repeated every 25 or so meters within a building. Output power can be selected for 1, 10, 25, or 50 mW, with 25mW providing a range of 100 meters line-of-sight.
The system includes SACOM Remote Software that controls all aspects of the system via USB, RS232 or Ethernet. Each receiver has its own MAC address and programmable IP address, providing daisy-chain I/P control without the expense of a hub.
The software provides a way to assign any two adjacent channels as a redundant pair (pilot and copilot). If anything happens to the “pilot” (i.e., there is an RF hit or a battery dies) the “copilot” takes over instantly without any audible hit or disruption.
The system has up to 25 pins of GPIO contact closures. The gooseneck and boundary mic buttons can be programmed to cause an audio mute or a logic mute.
The logic mute toggles the GPIO. This allows the automated mixer to monitor the ambient room noise level when mics are muted. GPIO can also be used to mute all mics simultaneously for a sidebar.
SACOM provides a 1/4-inch balanced mixed audio output on the front panel. The receiver and a speaker-on-a-stick is all that is required for an impromptu meeting with eight wireless microphones.
The system operates in the 902-928 MHz ISM band in North and South American, as well as some Pacific Rim countries.
The company’s engineers provide free antenna system design for specific projects and set up parameters so the equipment arrives at the job site ready for “plug-n-play.”
The new DS8400/8800 digital wireless system is made in the USA.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Think You’re An RF Guru? Time To Prove It By Taking Our Quiz!
Think your RF knowledge will test at the appropriate level? Time to find out!
Working with wireless systems can be tricky business.
Take a read and see how you stack up against the questions, and be sure to check out our other quizzes as well.
By the way, some of these questions may have more than one correct answer.
1. True or false: UHF has better audio performance than VHF.
2. True or false: there are more than five viable methods of diversity reception.
3. What are the advantages of analog wireless systems?
A. Long range with graceful signal decay
B. Analog designs are well understood
C. Analog sounds “warmer”
D. Rinse and repeat cycle
E. All of the above
4. What are the advantages of digital wireless systems?
A. Audio can be transmitted without a compandor
B. The signal can be encrypted
C. Digital is “way cool” – I heard this on the 6 o’clock news
D. Digital exhibits greater immunity to low-level interference
E. All of the above
5. What are the most important features of a wireless system?
A. Good sound
B. Reliable operation
C. Ease of use
D. Cool display with lots of lights
E. A great mother-in-law
F. All of the above
6. “Diversity” means:
A. Using two different transmitters and receivers on different frequencies carrying the same signal
B. Using more than one antenna system feeding a receiver to avoid dropouts
C. Using two complete RF receiver sections and either switching between or blending the two outputs
D. Phase switching between two combined antennas used to receive the best signal
E. All of the peoples of the world joining hands and singing “Kumbaya”
F. An old, old wooden ship
7. “Squelch” means:
A. The sound made when stepping on a snail
B. Muting the outputs of a receiver when the audio signal becomes too noisy
C. The amount the carrier is shifted from the assigned center frequency in response to the audio
D. The available audio monitor level
8. “Deviation” in an FM wireless system refers to:
A. Muting the audio of a receiver when the audio signal becomes too noisy
B. The amount the carrier is shifted from the assigned center frequency in response to the audio signal
C. How far from pitch the singer wanders during the song
D. How far apart your antennas have to be before true diversity reception is possible
9. “Deviation” is an important specification because it represents:
A. How “twisted” someone has to be to accept a touring job as monitor engineer
B. The degree of quieting and suppression of interference for good RF signals
C. The minimum distance you should have two wireless channels to avoid interference
D. The minimum tolerance for electronic parts used in wireless equipment
10. The optimum diversity antenna spacing for the absolute longest range is:
A. One-quarter wave
B. One-half wave
C. Three-quarter wave
D. More than a full wave
E. Surf’s up!
11. True or false: 608 MHz to 614 MHz is reserved for radio astronomy.
12. All other things being equal, a 100 mW transmitter when compared to a 50 mW transmitter provides:
A. Half the range
B. Two times the range
C. 40 percent more range
D. Four times the range
E. A tingly fresh feeling
13. True or false: directional antennas are always better.
14. True or false: when a transmitter antenna is touching a person’s body, a substantial amount of RF energy is absorbed.
15. “Yagi” and “Dipole” are:
A. Types of worm-like creatures living in freshwater ponds
B. Types of antenna designs
C. Types of golf swings
D. Two characters from Star Wars
E. None of the above
16. For the best reception:
A. Place antennas close to the transmitters and run long cables to the receivers
B. Place antennas further from the transmitters and run short cables
C. Depends on the inherent RF signal loss of the antenna cables at the frequency of operation
D. Stand on your head and whisper ancient Mayan war chants
17. And, finally, the best wireless system in the world is:
A. The one you have
B. The most expensive one on the market
C. The one your client requests
D. The one that will get the job done with the least hassles
E. The one with big tailfins!
Our thanks to Karl Winkler and the gang at Lectrosonics for providing the quiz!
Thanks for playing. Be sure to let us know how you scored in the comments!
More Fun Quizzes on PSW:
Test Your Knowledge Of Bass & Subwoofers
Take Our “Real World” Stage Monitoring Quiz
Test Your Knowledge Of Power As It Relates To Sound Systems
Quiz To Rate Your Audio Skills, Knowledge & Personality Type
CAD Audio Ships UHF WX100 Wireless Series
The UHF WX100 offers simple and intuitive operation along with exceptionally reliable wireless connectivity in the most congested RF environments and exceptional audio bandwidth.
CAD Audio is now shipping its installation-grade UHF WX100 Wireless Series system.
The UHF WX100 offers simple and intuitive operation along with exceptionally reliable wireless connectivity in the most congested RF environments and exceptional audio bandwidth.
In addition to enhanced connectivity, the WX100 features a familiar control scheme that facilitates problem-free operation by non-professional users. The transmitters are designed with straightforward form factors that make it easy to identify various features, operate on/off switches, change and recharge batteries.
These designs along with an array of useful accessories make the WX100 a perfect solution for A/V suites, flexible meeting spaces or any situation that requires easy to use, certain-connectivity wireless that doesn’t require a long learning curve.
Basic system components include the WX160 gooseneck desk stand transmitter and WX100 receiver, the handheld WX150 microphone and the WX155 body pack which can be used with the CAD 301 cardioid lavalier mic or CAD 302 headworn microphone for additional flexibility. The WX100 is supplied with a joining plate and rack ears for easy installation.
Asked about the WX100, CAD Executive Director of New Business Development Glenn Roop said, “Based on the high level of interest at InfoComm and positive reaction from our customers, we fully expect the WX100 Series to surpass our expectations in terms of sales and market penetration. The system’s outstanding RF performance, audio quality and ease of use make it a strong contender in the installation wireless market.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 07/30 at 07:00 AM
Neon Trees Endorse Audio-Technica Microphones, Wireless Systems
Utilizing numerous models on current concert tour
Alternative rock act Neon Trees (Tyler Glenn, Elaine Bradley, Branden Campbell and Chris Allen) has endorsed Audio-Technica microphones and wireless systems, and is utilizing numerous A-T models on its current tour, which kicked off in early July.
The band’s A-T roster includes the Artist Elite 5000 Series UHF wireless system with AEW-T6100a transmitter, used for lead vocals, as well as the following hardwired models: AE6100 hypercardioid dynamic handheld microphone, ATM250 hypercardioid dynamic instrument microphone, AE4100 cardioid dynamic handheld microphone, ATM450 cardioid condenser instrument microphone, ATM650 hypercardioid dynamic instrument microphone, AT4040 cardioid condenser microphone and AT4033/CL cardioid condenser microphone.
Neon Trees production manager Mike Bangs notes, “The AE4100 and AE6100 give high output that rivals many condensers, without becoming a roaming overhead. When Tyler [Glenn, lead vocals/keyboards] is running all over the venue, the 6100 really shines – the longer front pattern lets him really work the mic, and it survives ‘cupping’ issues better than most other mics. And then we use the 4100s on the background vocals, because it doesn’t have the same rear lobe as the 6100 and sounds more natural off-axis.”
Bangs singles out a few more mics and applications: “The ATM450 is one of my favorite mics. The capsule is comparable to or better than most pencil condensers, but the side-address gives me placement options I can’t get from any other mic. I use it under snare and under hi-hat – I love going under the hat, and with the 450 I can get it right under Elaine’s [Bradley, drums/percussion] contact point, and the snare is in the null.
“Then, on guitar cabinets, we use the AT4040. I love the AT4050 too, but I chose the AT4040 since I don’t need the adjustable pattern. We’ve also just started using the AT4033/CL on overheads – I am loving the ‘openness’ and natural feel of the high frequencies. They remind me of a much more expensive condenser.”
The stability of A-T mics puts the band at ease on the road. “I carry my mics and console everywhere we go. It gives the band a familiar feeling, no matter where we are. We use layering of inputs on almost every instrument,” Bands says. “The A-T mics allow us to build a huge sound with relatively little backline. They are also incredibly durable – our lead vocal 6100 has taken serious punishment with little cosmetic damage and no change in audio quality.”
Neon Trees’ current tour began in Philadelphia on July 9 and will run through August 22.
Posted by Keith Clark on 07/30 at 04:50 AM
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Earthworks WL40V Wireless Capsule Now Shipping
Delivers a detailed and realistic vocal sound that requires little to no EQ
After 14 months of development, the Earthworks WL40V wireless vocal microphone capsule is now shipping.
The WL40V is a wireless microphone capsule head suitable for use in a variety of live sound applications.
The capsule head has a 3-ring bulls-eye connector and is interchangeable with any of the screw-on-type handheld transmitters that receive a 31.3 mm / pitch 1.0 mm.
The WL40V delivers a detailed and realistic vocal sound that requires little to no EQ.
Its hypercardioid polar pattern and extended flat frequency response translate to a natural on- and off-axis performance coupled with benchmark levels of clarity and detail.
MAP pricing for the WL40V is $899.
Posted by Keith Clark on 07/26 at 12:28 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Blumenthal Performing Arts Relies Upon Lectrosonics Wireless
As the cultural hub of the greater Charlotte area, there are high expectations for every type of event that takes place here. That’s precisely why—when it comes to wireless microphone performance—the organization relies on its sizeable contingent of Lectrosonic wireless microphone systems.
Blumenthal Performing Arts’ venues are home to premier Broadway touring attractions as well as the Charlotte Symphony, Community School of the Arts, North Carolina Dance Theatre, On Q Productions, Opera Carolina, Queen City Theatre Company, and The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film.
As the cultural hub of the greater Charlotte area, there are high expectations for every type of event that takes place here. That’s precisely why—when it comes to wireless microphone performance—the organization relies on its sizeable contingent of Lectrosonic wireless microphone systems.
Robert Schoneman serves as one of Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Production Managers. With an emphasis on the production and presentation of touring Broadway attractions, live music, and theater, Shoneman’s responsibilities include day-to-day production management in the Belk Theater and, occasionally, at the Booth Playhouse as well as helping ensure consistency across sound systems and control equipment in all of the organization’s venues.
Tasked with ensuring trouble-free performance from all the audio equipment used, Schoneman discussed the factors that led to his selection of Lectrosonics’ Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology.
“Our top concern for our wireless microphone equipment was sound quality—primarily noise floor and a lack of HF artifacts caused by analog companding,” Schoneman explained, “and that’s where Lectrosonics equipment really delivers.
“Since the wireless gear is frequently used in a theater directly adjacent to a touring Broadway production, it was essential the equipment be able to operate capably in a crowded RF environment and that the ability to scan for and select open frequencies be quick and easy.
“We’ve also been very impressed with the rugged build quality of the Lectrosonics beltpack transmitters. When you consider how this type of equipment gets handled during costume changes and so forth, it’s a very important consideration.”
The Lectrosonics arsenal Schoneman selected includes twelve LMa beltpack transmitters that are used with Countryman B3 Omni Round Lavaliere microphones.
On the receiving end, the system includes two Lectrosonics VRMWB Venue series receiver mainframes, each fully stocked with six Lectrosonics VRT receiver modules.
This 12-channel system is augmented by two Lectrosonics SNA600 dipole antennas plus the company’s VRpanel software (part of LecNet2) for remote monitoring of the system.
“We purchased the Lectrosonics equipment to be used for two annual productions,” said Schoneman. “The Blumey Awards, which takes place in the Belk Theater is to recognize and reward excellence in high school musical theater and is a feeder program to the national Jimmy Awards in NYC.
“Charlotte Squawks takes place in in the Booth Playhouse. This show is a locally produced revue of local/regional/national events and politics. The show is best described as ‘Broadway meets Saturday Night Live meets Charlotte.’ All the actors wore their transmitters in NeoPax mic belts beneath their undergarments.
“Since everyone changes costumes for almost every number, we’re not doing any crazy transmitter placements, but it’s very reassuring to not have to worry about the equipment’s reliability and performance.”
When queried about factors that, ultimately, led to the acquisition of the Lectrosonics gear, Schoneman offered the following thoughts about Lectrosonics’ customer service.
“I never once got a demo of the equipment,” he reports. “I knew after calling the factory and getting a live human on the phone (on my first attempt and who spent over an hour talking to me) that our shows were in good hands. Equally noteworthy, Lectrosonics sales associate John Muldrow was extremely accommodating about helping us meet some time constraints. I was very impressed.”
Before turning his attention to some upcoming production tasks, Schoneman offered this closing thought, “I couldn’t possibly be happier with the decision! Everyone—including the talent—who has heard the Lectrosonics gear has commented about how great it sounds. This is the first time I’ve ever felt like the RF mics ‘disappeared’ into the audio path.”
Friday, July 20, 2012
What, Me Worry? Ruminations On Potentially Troubling Developments
Changing definitions of "audio equipment," more RF spectrum rumblings, understanding the basics...
A fair portion of the grumbling among the “more seasoned” generations of sound professionals can simply be chalked up to our inner curmudgeon.
Every generation thinks the next wave of “kids” is largely comprised of know-nothing, spoiled brats who “have no idea how tough this job used to be, and by the way, their music is a bunch of noisy dreck.”
That said, there are some emerging issues that really do keep me up at night worrying about the future.
For example, what is now defined as “audio equipment” runs a very wide gamut from complete junk all the way up to truly professional gear.
There’s even an inside joke in the industry that anything with the word “pro” in the name certainly isn’t. Why this is a problem is harder to define.
Let me put it this way: when I was a young buck, I knew that a certain well-known 4-track cassette recorder was a decidedly amateurish piece of gear. The real stuff was to be found in big studios and on big stages.
The difference was quite obvious and the thought of getting to work on the big-time systems provided inspiration to learn, study, practice, experiment, and move forward inch by inch.
I knew that I wasn’t big time yet but I definitely wanted to get there, and there was a lot of learning along the way: how to be efficient with your time, gear, money, while taking the patience of friends to the limit.
Fast forward to today. Sure, there’s still a difference between levels of gear, but the lines aren’t nearly as clear.
You can literally buy “audio equipment” at national discount chains, along with car parts, kitchen accessories, greeting cards, toys, garden implements and even a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk. Ditto musical instruments. Meanwhile, Garage Band comes free on iMac.
One can argue that this puts music- and sound-making equipment into the hands of a much wider base group of people, thus making it possible for more and better music to be made.
However, I think it can also be argued that we’ve not seen that kind of result. If anything, there’s more formulaic, pre-packaged “teen pop” drivel than ever before.
One of the effects of having this equipment available so widely and cheaply is that it may not seem special in any way.
And it may also not be obvious to the aspiring musician, producer, engineer, tech, etc., that this stuff is not pro.
By the same token, of course, using “real pro gear” does not make someone good at their craft. The two go hand-in-hand: improvements in the quality of the gear can only be fully utilized by the improved skills of the operator.
Unfortunately, as we’ve all seen, clients often don’t know the difference either. They ask to “borrow a microphone” and then are taken aback when “there’s no way to get the sound out.” (Oh, you meant the PA system?)
In general, this is an effect of globalization. Should we really expect to get a toaster for $9.99 or a printer for $29.99? How about a 24-channel mixer for $199? If you know anything about manufacturing, you’ll recognize that the toaster costs about $2 to produce and the mixer costs about $40. Difficult to comprehend, isn’t it?
Of course, this is a complex issue with many facets, and I don’t profess to have the answers, but at times, thinking about it does deprive me of sleep. That is, unless I’ve been hitting the bottle of Laphroig18 I received for Father’s Day…
Lack Of Balance
Another troubling subject: the government of the United States is currently hard at work on possibly further screwing things up for wireless microphone systems.
Didn’t we just get through a decade of warnings, misunderstandings, deliberate obfuscation, fear and panic over the 700 MHz issue?
Now it looks like the FCC wants to take even more spectrum from broadcasters. They want 500 MHz overall, and claim to expect about 120 MHz or so to come from broadcasters. Say what?
It’s all part of the “National Broadband Plan,” and the FCC is hoping that the broadcasters voluntarily “give up” this spectrum. In fact, they’ve proposed that the broadcasters share in the auction proceeds when it’s sold off to broadband network providers.
Yes, these are the same broadcasters that A) had to invest heavily in DTV technology just a few years ago, and B) already had to vacate the 700 MHz band. I can’t imagine that they’re too happy with this proposal. The government hints that if the spectrum is not given up voluntarily… well, you get the idea.
So what about wireless microphone systems? The vast majority of these systems, whether analog or digital, share the spectrum with the broadcasters.
What’s troublesome about all of this? It’s not that there aren’t efforts by wireless manufacturers to develop new products and new technology platforms - in fact we’ve even seen products that work outside the broadcast spectrum brought to market by an intrepid few.
And it’s not that everyone involved hasn’t already made significant sacrifices - from TV broadcast equipment makers and users to wireless system makers and users - because they have.
No, what is really troublesome about all of this is that the government still does not seem to understand that there must be a balance between content creation and content distribution; they’re seemingly only concerned with the latter.
It begs the question: just how is content going to be created? Clearly, the message that major sports, casino showrooms, Hollywood, theme parks, TV production, Broadway, churches, major tours, and so on rely heavily upon wireless systems has not sunk in with these folks. Even political debates and campaign tours benefit from this very same technology!
Why is this so difficult to understand? No wonder more scotch is required for me to sleep. Preferably at least 15 years old, Islay. Thank you.
Doing The Homework
Let me get back to audio for a minute. This is related to the first part, where I think equipment has been watered down and manufacturers are ever-tempted to cater to the lowest common denominator. As already stated, equipment is only half the issue.
What concerns me even more is that it has become increasingly rare to talk with someone who really understands the fundamentals of audio.
It seems a lot of folks have long-held beliefs about audio issues that are based on anecdotal information, an isolated personal experience, a less-than scrupulous manufacturer’s marketing literature - or parts of all of the above.
It leads me to posit (once again) that not enough people in our industry are learning the fundamental principles behind the work they’re doing.
There was an interesting post on ProSoundWeb recently that linked to an article about how “experts” quite often steer us wrong.
The only solution, really, is to think for ourselves. But before we can do that, we need to educate ourselves about the important issues. And to do that, we must first understand the fundamentals.
How many times have you heard someone say “Sorry, captain, but I can’t change the laws of physics?” (With or without a Scottish accent).
So, what laws of physics are we trying to break when doing our jobs? Inverse Square Law? The speed of sound? Ohm’s Law? The fact that latency is inherent in A/D conversion? Mismatched impedance?
O.K., maybe all of them aren’t laws of physics, and hopefully we know which is which. But still, they’re all based on those laws.
Hopefully, none of this causes you to lose sleep, but just as hopefully, all of this does provide something to think about. And maybe we can talk about it further, preferably over a glass of single-malt.
Karl Winkler is Director of Business Development at Lectrosonics and has worked in professional audio for more than 15 years.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Lectrosonics Wireless Helps Capture Cellist Yo-Yo Ma At Tanglewood Music Festival
Held each summer on the Tanglewood estate, the Tanglewood Music Festival consists of a series of concerts, including symphonic music, chamber music, choral music, musical theater, contemporary music, jazz, and pop music.
The first concert of the season—held on June 22 and again on June 24—featured the Silk Road Ensemble, which unites distinguished performers and composers from more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Under the artistic direction of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Silk Road Ensemble concerts were not only important events for the festival; they also served as the foundation for a forthcoming documentary DVD/Blu-Ray disc project—and to help capture the performances, wireless microphone technology from Lectrosonics was employed.
Boston, MA-based Soundmirror, a location recording and post-production company specializing in the ‘natural’ recording of acoustic music as well as sound for syncing to visuals, was contracted to capture the performances.
Company president John Newton employed a sizeable amount of Lectrosonics gear to make it happen—all of which utilizes the company’s Digital Hybrid Wireless®technology.
This list included HH handheld, HM plug-on, and SMQV, UM400, and UM400a transmitters, along with three Venue series receiver mainframes, each stocked with Lectrosonics VRT receiver modules to form an 18-channel system.
“I’ve been working with Lectrosonics equipment for a good ten years,” Newton reports, “and I’m consistently impressed with the sound quality and dropout free performance of these systems. For us, these are the most important considerations. Lectrosonics sound quality is first-rate—every bit on par with a very high quality 48 kHz A/D – D/A converter, so audio quality is excellent.”
The process of miking cellist Yo-Yo Ma was particularly interesting. “We required a superior pickup on Mr. Ma’s cello, which needed to be wireless so he could move about the stage and perform from multiple locations,” Newton explains. “Mr. Ma also wanted to be able to put the cello down, walk away, and talk to the audience, which meant the transmitter couldn’t reside in his pocket.
“To accomplish this, we built a special setup where we positioned an SMQV transmitter on the instrument’s endpin (spike) and made a mount for the Schoeps MK 22 microphone capsule that was positioned near the instrument’s bridge. The mic capsule fed the transmitter below via a matching CMRg cable for Lectrosonics transmitters that Schoeps manufactures.
“Hence, the entire wireless setup was instrument mounted—providing the freedom Mr. Ma requested.
“The RF range became an important consideration on this project,” Newton continues. “At the last minute, the decision was made to open the concert by having a bagpipe player enter the concert hall from the lawn area at the rear of the venue. Hence, we were suddenly faced with several hundred yards of range that was absolutely essential for the bagpipe pickup.
” We were very pleased with the performance of the two Lectrosonics ALP620 antennas we had on hand. We had positioned them out in the auditorium, running approximately 100 feet of coaxial cable between the antennas and the Venue receivers. I’m pleased to report it all worked flawlessly. There wasn’t a single dropout the entire time.”
According to Newton, the receiving end of the setup was very straightforward, “All the receiver signals went to a converter that created a MADI stream,” he says. “This stream was combined with a few additional MADI streams that were created from the conventional mics we deployed. These streams then fed a pair of Merging Technologies workstations—one that was used as a redundant system.
“We also provided the video and timecode lock between us and the video truck, as this project is going to become a Sony DVD/Blu-Ray concert / documentary disc taken from the two performances plus rehearsals.”
Newton reflected on the two concerts and the challenges of the project, “I couldn’t be happier with the way matters turned out. Lectrosonics team members Howard Kaufman and Karl Winkler were tremendously helpful and the tracks we captured using the Lectrosonics equipment are just wonderful. Because of this, we’re in great shape as we enter audio post production. In all the data we collected, we haven’t identified a single issue.”
Monday, July 09, 2012
Kaltman Creations Debuts New RF-id SOLO and RF-id STATION Frequency Identifying Products
One as a handheld device and the other in a self-contained case for multiple wireless devices
Kaltman Creations has announced the introduction of two new products under the Invisible Waves product banner that aid in identifying wireless devices’ frequencies.
Both units, RF-id SOLO and RF-id STATION, key in on wireless transmissions as near-field frequency counters, one as a handheld device and the other in a self-contained case for multiple wireless devices.
The RF-id STATION is primarily for professional audio wireless users, while the RF-id SOLO is aimed at anyone involved with pro audio wireless applications, including RF/audio techs, production companies, rental houses, contractor/installers, frequency coordinators.
The two units were shown at the 2012 InfoComm show in Las Vegas.
The RF-id STATION allows RF technicians to efficiently “stage” and manage their wireless microphones before and during a live event/performance.
It consists of a rugged plastic carrying case with eight designated foam-formed slots for wireless microphones or wireless belt pack transmitters. Each slot has a backlit, near-field frequency counter readout providing the exact frequency of the transmitter and a barograph signal level display; up to eight transmitters can be staged at one time and swapped-out as needed.
Just below the frequency counter display is a dry-erase write-on strip to help keep track of microphone/transmitter assignments.
Each of the 8 slots is individually RF shielded to reduce the effects of close proximity intermodulation and to reduce stray transmissions out into the performance area.
The station can also be used as a microphone and accessory carrying case with storage for up to 18 transmitters.
With the unit’s LCD readout, the RF-id SOLO user can simultaneously and instantly confirm exact frequencies and transmission signal strength, avoiding the need to handle the transmitter (which often involves menu scrolling and converting Group & Channel readouts to frequency values).
It works with both digital and analog single carrier transmissions in the 50 MHz to 2.5 GHz range and is not limited to just wireless microphones use. It can also be used with assisted listening devices, intercom, cell phones, 2-way radio and commercial RFID tags, provided that the transmissions are not a spread-spectrum or frequency hopping.
“These days, with all of the RF allocation turmoil and the ever-shrinking RF space, RF technicians need all the help they can get to efficiently manage their RF world. The Invisible Waves RF-id Station is a new and effective tool for your RF arsenal,” according to Mark Kaltman, president of Kaltman Creations. “And the RF-id Solo, with the ability to walk right up to a concealed/worn belt pack transmitter or wireless microphone and instantly confirm that the device is transmitting along with an exact frequency reading, is very powerful.”
Kaltman Creations LLC
Understanding Wireless: Receiver Design, Processing, Squelch & Diversity
Understanding basic receiver design, audio processing, squelch, and diversity operation can help ensure optimum performance of the system
The receiver is a crucial component of wireless microphone systems, as it is used to pick the desired signal and transfer its electrical information into an audio signal that can be amplified and used for a loudspeaker system.
Understanding basic receiver design, audio processing, squelch, and diversity operation can help ensure optimum performance of the system.
Virtually all modern receivers feature superheterodyne architecture, in which the desired carrier is filtered out from the multitude of signals picked up by the antenna, then amplified and mixed with a local oscillator frequency to generate the difference: “intermediate frequency.”
This “IF” undergoes more controlled discrimination and amplification before the signal is demodulated and processed to restore the output with all the characteristics and qualities of the original (Figure 1).
The audio signal processing of a receiver is the mirror opposite of the transmitter. Processing done in the transmitters often include pre-emphasis (boosting high audio frequencies) as well as compression. These are reversed in the receiver by the de-emphasis and the expander circuit.
An inherent RF noise floor exists in the air. The squelch setting should be set above this noise level. This acts as a noise gate that mutes the audio output if the wanted RF signal falls below a threshold level, preventing a blast of white noise through the FA if the RF signal is completely lost.
Figure 1: Block diagram of a receiver. (click to enlarge)
If the squelch setting is too low, the receiver might pick the noise floor and this noise can be heard. If the squelch setting is too high the range of the wireless microphone is reduced.
The Pilot Tone Squelch gives additional security, as the audio signal at the receiver is muted as long as there is no Pilot Tone. The Pilot Tone is a very high frequency which the human ear cannot detect (very often 32 kHz). If the receiver detects a Pilot Tone, the audio signal is un-muted.
WHY DIVERSITY IS A MEANINGFUL APPROACH
The Radio Frequency (RF) signal between transmitter and receiver follows multiple paths. Signals reflected from boundaries and objects will arrive slightly later at the receiving point than the direct signal (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Multi path signal propagation. (click to enlarge)
Because of the different amount of time the RF signal needs to travel from the transmitter directly to the receiver antenna and the reflected signal from a wall, both signals have a different phase at the antenna.
Both signals the reflected signal and the direct signal - are added at the antenna.
In the worst case scenario, the two signals are out of phase and the result is that no RF signal will arrive at the antenna (Figure 3).
This extreme example will cause a RF drop out which will cause an audio disturbance at the output of the receiver. The probability that this will happen at two different positions at two different antennas is very small.
Figure 3: Two RF signals are out of phase and result in a smaller RF signal at the antenna. (click to enlarge)
The two graphs illustrate how the signal strength from the same transmitter varies over time at two different pickup locations. If both signals are compared at any time and the stronger RF signal is picked, the sound quality is improved significantly.
There are different kinds of diversity concepts available. Antenna Switching Diversity uses two antennas and a single receiving circuit. If the level at one antenna falls below a certain threshold it switches to the other antenna.
This is an economical architecture but it leaves the chance that the second antenna could be experiencing an even lower signal then the one that falls below the threshold level.
Another approach is the switching of the audio signal of two independent receiver units where each receiver unit is connected to its own antenna. This is known as true diversity, and it can improve the effective RF receiving level by about 30 dB. Depending on the diversity concept, an active switching between the two antennas is a desired result.
The minimum distance between the two diversity antennas is very often an issue of debate. A minimum of 1/4 of a wavelength of the frequency wave seems to be a good approach.
Depending on the frequency, five to six inches is the minimum distance. In general, a greater distance is preferred. By using remote antennas, the positions at the sides of the stage are very effective. (Go here for more about antennas.)
Volker Schmitt is a senior engineer for Sennheiser US, and Joe Ciaudelli also works with Sennheiser US and has a history of providing frequency coordination for large multi-channel wireless microphone systems used on Broadway and by broadcast networks.
Monday, July 02, 2012
Nady Introduces New Wireless In-Ear Monitoring System
Nady has introduced their latest in-ear monitor system, the PEM-1000.
This state-of-the-art system allows you to hear your monitor mix clearly anywhere on stage (no matter how loud the music is), and offers all the advantages of wireless in-ear monitoring/mobility—clear focused audio, feedback protection, and the elimination of heavy, hard-to-transport floor monitors.
The PEM-1000 features 100 pre-set user selectable UHF frequencies for interference-free performance; up to 8 systems can operate simultaneously.
The system consists of one PEM-1000T transmitter and one PEM-1000R bodypack receiver (unlimited additional receivers can operate with the same transmitter).
Set-up is simple, using either the automatic AutoScan or manual open-frequency selection and ASC infrared synchronization of selected channel between transmitter and receiver. Both transmitter and receiver offer a user-friendly menu with complete control options shown in the LCD display.
The PEM-1000 all-metal, half-rack transmitter is rack mountable singly or side-by-side with optional rack kits. The system includes lightweight, soft rubber form-fitted earbuds for comfort and optimum acoustics and isolation, plus a rugged foam-padded traveling case. Operating range is up to 500’ depending on site conditions.
The PEM-1000 is available now.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless Goes Along For The Ride On “Shop Angels”
Shop Angels, an outdoor adventure travel show slated to begin airing in the first quarter of 2013, is currently in production, utilizing Digital Hybrid Wireless microphone technology from Lectrosonics.
Jimmy Corn, owner of Big Oak Productions, a television production company based in Nashville, serves in a variety of capacities with the show, including overseeing photography and location sound.
A veteran audio professional who started as a live sound engineer mixing concerts before moving into television production, Corn has handled projects for a client roster that includes CMT (Country Music Television), ESPN, NFL Films, GAC (Great American Country), ABC, HGTV, and NBC.
“I’ve been using Lectrosonics gear for a good 15 years or so,” states Corn, “dating all the way back to products like the CR185 and CR187 receivers. In my line of work, the wireless mics have to be bullet proof and this is precisely why I’m so fond of Lectrosonics. For Shop Angels, I’m using the company’s SM Series “Super Miniature” transmitters along with UCR411A and SR dual-channel slot mount ENG receivers.”
“It doesn’t matter whether I’m miking football and hockey players or following the girls on this show,” Corn continues, “I get one take and for this very reason, there is no other wireless system I would even come close to trusting. Lectrosonics equipment sounds great and its reliability can’t be beat. The gear is built really tough and it’s easy to use. I work in crowded RF environments all the time and being able to scan for open frequencies and make adjustments on the fly is critical.”
Corn reports that the SM series’ diminutive size and stellar range performance have been equally important attributes. “On Shop Angels,” he says, “it’s been very important to have small transmitters on the talent and our SM’s make a great choice. And for long range shots with audio, the Lectrosonics SMQV can’t be beat. We use smaller hand held cameras and we feed everything wirelessly to the SR receivers on each camera.
“In my line of work, you’re only as good as your last shoot; one bad day, and years of building your reputation goes down the drain,” Corn concludes. “Having Lectrosonics in my audio bag and on my productions ensures that, no matter what, I will have no worries from my wireless mics.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 06/29 at 01:47 PM
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Televisa Adopts Shure Axient Wireless In Chapultepec Studios
The primary benefit of the new Axient wireless system from Shure is its unique ability to detect and avoid interference, making the system a natural fit for live broadcast.
Recently, Televisa, the largest television producer in Mexico, selected Axient for use in its key Chapultepec production facility.
According to Juan Carlos Salazar, Technical Director for Studios at Televisa Chapultepec, Axient was chosen as the best system to address the interference problems inherent in an urban location like Mexico City. His engineering team is responsible for technical operations throughout the Chapultepec studio complex, including testing, maintenance, and selection of all audio and video equipment.
“We were having constant interference problems in our News Center, which is the studio dedicated to producing our most important live news shows,” he states. “It was very difficult to find enough reliable frequencies. Since adding six channels of Axient along with 20 channels of Shure UHF-R, our problems with interference have disappeared.”
Televisa dedicates its Axient systems to the most critical audio channels, typically the on-camera news anchors, with the UHF-R Series handling the other RF needs.
“We use Axient in its automatic mode and the frequency diversity feature has worked perfectly,” says Salazar. “When interference is detected, the system switches to a clear channel before it can be heard. The change is basically undetectable to the ear, which means that our Axient channels are fully protected from any RF problems. It’s a very impressive system.”
Televisa opted for the full Axient combo system, with three AXT400 dual-channel receivers. Six AX1 bodypacks and six AX2 handheld transmitters provide the flexibility to handle news, sports, or music presentations with ease.
In general, the news talent uses the bodypack transmitters with WL50 lavalier microphones, while Shure’s premium KSM9 or Beta 87 capsules are used for handheld applications. These systems are augmented by the AXT600 Spectrum Manager, AXT 610 ShowLink, AXT620 Ethernet switch, and AXT630 antenna distribution system. The system also comes with Shure’s Wireless Workbench 6 software.
Televisa also opted for Shure’s rechargeable battery system, which reduces the cost of ownership without any sacrifice in performance.
“When we put Axient into service last December, we were not sure the rechargeable system would be robust enough for our operations,” recalls Salazar. “But our experience has been very positive. The battery life is excellent, always enough to last through any show.
“What I like most about it is that we can put the transmitters into the charger regardless of their level of charge without shortening the life of the battery.”
With the success that Televisa has had with the combination of Axient and UHF-R Series systems, Juan Carlos Salazar is confident that the studio’s wireless problems are a thing of the past.
“The frequency spectrum in Mexico City is very crowded,” he notes. “When we started working with Axient, we scanned all frequencies every day to choose the best channels. But since we are in the same location every day, the system is very stable for us.”
The elimination of RF interference in the difficult conditions at Televisa Chapultepec has given Salazar great confidence in Shure wireless. “We have used our new systems in the News Center every day, with Axient wireless for the main anchors and UHF-R Series for the visitors, with excellent results,” he notes. “We plan to use it for all of our most important events, like Mexico’s presidential elections, which happens this July.”
Televisa Chapultepec has ten studios dedicated to news and sports, plus the Operations Center of ForoTV, transmitting 24 hours of news daily. Juan Carlos Salazar reports that, “We are planning to change all our wireless systems to a mix of Shure Axient and UHF-R Series as we replace our old systems over the next two to three years. They have been very successful for us.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 06/21 at 08:58 AM
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Accord Productions Relies On Lectrosonics
The production crew of Miami, FL-based Accord Productions captures audio with a high level of speech intelligibility and natural sound quality by depending on Digital Hybrid Wireless technology from Rio Rancho, NM-based Lectrosonics.
With offices in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Accord Productions provides production, post production, and digitizing services to the film and video industry. Its co-founder and vice president, Rocky Wyler, typically serves as the director of photography on location and also performs double duty as the company’s technology chief.
In this capacity, he is always on the lookout for new and better ways to keep the company at the cutting edge of developments as they relate to field production. A long time Lectrosonics enthusiast, Wyler reflected on a recently completed project and the impact his firm’s Lectrosonics equipment made.
“I’ve been a fan of Lectrosonics gear since the early 90’s when I first purchased some CR185 receivers and high band transmitters,” states Wyler, “so I have a pretty long history with the company. For much of our work in recent years, we’ve used UM400a beltpack transmitters with SR dual-channel slot mount ENG receivers.
“Just recently, we began working with Lectrosonics’ SMQV super-miniature, dual battery beltpack transmitters. These came in particularly handy on a new reality TV show called Ocean Models. Rounding out the gear for this project, we also had several of the company’s T4 IFB transmitters and R1a beltpack IFB receivers.
“At any given time, we had 4-5 producers on the set and each one was hooked up with the IFB gear.”
Ocean Models follows 15 international models that come to Miami to work with a new, high profile modeling agency. They were housed in a 10,000 square foot mansion on South Beach and provided with all the amenities most models never get to experience.
“There were several days where we had a good 16 – 18 mics going among the three audio guys—each of whom was equipped with digital 8-track recorders,” said Wyler. “Sometimes, the guys would have to follow the girls in opposite directions and when they split up, range became a huge factor.
“I was really pleased with the fact that our Lectrosonics gear handled this challenge beautifully. This would not have been the case with several competing wireless systems I’ve encountered.”
Wyler also reports that Lectrosonics audio quality, build quality, and reliability are equally important factors.
“Audio quality is exceptional. I love the fact that there are none of the annoying artifacts one frequently experiences with wireless systems using compandors. I’ve also been very impressed with the build quality—particularly of the new SMQV’s.”
“We used two SMQV transmitters on some of the models,” Wyler recalls. “These units are great. They’re really small and this made them easy to conceal when the girls were wearing skimpy outfits.
“I also discovered another important benefit of these transmitters. After a short while, the girls got very accustomed to wearing the transmitters and they started turning them off to make comments among themselves, which sometimes really fouled us up.
“With the SMQV’s, we locked them out so as not to interfere with our side of the production.”
Wyler was so impressed with the SMQV’s robust performance and compact form factor that he has since ordered several more units.
“As a result of our experience using the SMQV’s on this project, we are currently in the process of acquiring several more for all our reality show work. We will, of course, continue to use our UM400a’s in our industrial work. Based upon the success of our Lectrosonics equipment with this project, we will never have any other brand of wireless transmitter on our reality projects that aren’t Lectrosonics SMQV’s.”
Prior to turning his attention back to the business of the day, Wyler offered these final thoughts. “Our Lectrosonics equipment has served us extremely well over the years. The audio quality and range are excellent and the reliability is second to none.
“We have four in-house audio guys and I assure you they’re not very easy on the gear. Our Lectrosonics equipment is the only gear that seems to survive long term. I can’t imagine working in this business without it.”
Posted by Keith Clark on 06/19 at 09:18 AM
Monday, June 18, 2012
AKG Discreet Acoustics Modular PLUS Series Delivers For Conferencing And Presentations
With a continued focus of providing the highest quality and most versatile microphones available, AKG announces its latest addition to its installed systems – the Discreet Acoustics Modular PLUS Series.
With a wide range of goosenecks and installation modules available, the Discreet Modular PLUS Series offers optimal adaptation for all types of room setups and speakers, with quick microphone capsule exchange.
The reliability stemming from the models’ LED Ring underscores the ability to reduce the risk of operating errors, sturdy material to reduce fatigue and improved protection from signal block outs. The LED Ring uses special circuitry to operate off standard phantom power, as two separate leads carry supply voltage and provide extra shielding to the audio signal.
The Modular PLUS Series’ interface module connects the high-quality gooseneck to the phantom power source, which adds flexibility to all mounting modules. The self-cleaning connector is reliable, inconspicuous and safe – allowing for simplified and cost-effective microphone replacement.
The goosenecks themselves are tested under extreme circumstances, bent and twisted into extreme shapes, ensuring their quality and flexibility.
“AKG has specialized in developing, designing and manufacturing quality microphone capsules for more than 60 years and the Discreet Acoustics Modular PLUS Series is a testament to the continued strategy to offer the best in sound in any mic’d application,” stated Thomas Giczy, Business Development Manager Installed Sound and Conferencing, AKG. “The variety offered through the Modular PLUS Series, from the power offerings to the mounting and capsule modules, is the best in class and will provide optimum audio for videoconferencing or presentations around the world.”
The CK43 supercardioid condenser capsule offers users a 95-degree pickup angle, ideal for situations where unwanted noise pickup is a concern.
The CK49 is a reference condenser capsule with an 80-degree pickup, with clean, off-axis response. It is ideal for use with inexperienced speakers, focusing on the voice when the speaker is distant, and reducing pop if close to the mic.
AKG’s Gooseneck GN155M is a 155cm module with a heavy, shock-mount floor stand that works perfectly as a stand-alone unit or on stages placed in front of a large group of instruments or speakers. HM1000M is a reference-hanging module used to fly mics from the ceiling to record or reinforce music or speech in houses of worship, theatres or conference halls.
AKG’s PAE M reference powering module offers the phantom power for fixed and mobile installation, providing a gold-plated, 3-pin XLR connector. Its wide voltage range fits most mic mixers. PAESP M is a programmable power module for fixed and mobile installation, fitted with a unique binary coded decimal switch to recall operating modes.
PAESP M’s noiseless mic switch reduces its level by 26dB, avoiding the irritating crackling sound when phantom power is interrupted. The PAE5 M provides a 5-pin XLR connection allowing audio signal and central voltage to be fed separately.
The four different powering modules, five mounting modules and three capsule modules combine and add up to a total of 60 different microphones combinations.
Posted by Keith Clark on 06/18 at 04:15 PM