Sennheiser announced that it recently presented a preview of its new Wireless Multi-Channel Audio Systems (WMAS) technology in New York City attended by an audience of live production and pro audio professionals.
The technology was presented by Dr. Sebastian Georgi, one of the research and development engineers who invented WMAS at Sennheiser’s Germany headquarters, and Greg Simon, manager, regional technical application engineer.
“With this technology, we are re-thinking wireless audio transmission in multi-channel applications such as big live events, theaters, and broadcast studios – wherever many audio channels are up in the air,” states Georgi. “Sennheiser’s implementation of WMAS is essentially a bi-directional wireless broadband technology, which combines microphones, in-ears, and remote control in just one broadband RF channel.”
The presentation offered an in-depth look at WMAS, including how the technology adapts existing broadband techniques to the srequirements of professional wireless audio transmission in a design to provide frequency efficiency and a reliable wireless signal. Attendees were also provide with a first-hand demonstration of how future Sennheiser products will implement this technology.
While the products deploying WMAS are currently in development, the company states that once realized, they will enable a single bodypack to simultaneously support a wireless mic and in-ear monitor for artists. This will free up space backstage at events, taking away the need for racks of receivers and transmitters because a single base station would feasibly handle 32 inputs and 32 outputs. Live audio engineers and frequency coordinators would also have additional control, less clutter and negligible RF fading, amongst many other advantages.
“I think the WMAS Technology is truly the next step in RF management and organization,” says Jason Banta, live and studio engineer for artists that include Amos Lee, Better Than Ezra and Tonic. “The presentation was an eye-opening experience to see what’s possible now, thanks to Sennheiser’s innovative R&D engineers. I am looking forward to using this technology when it becomes available in the United States and have high hopes for its integration into tours and theaters.”
“WMAS represents the logical evolution of digital radio microphone technology, and Sennheiser has masterfully envisioned its implementation,” adds Henry Cohen, senior RF systems design engineer, CP Communications. “Future workflows employing WMAS will simplify equipment deployments and RF spectral efficiency for the technician while improving the user experience for the artist.”
Sennheiser notes that it is currently working alongside audio industry peers to educate the broader wireless community about WMAS and achieve the necessary FCC approval to bring the technology to market.
Joe Ciaudelli, director of spectrum & innovation at Sennheiser, explains, “WMAS is a completely new approach to wireless microphone design that requires a rule change issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Revolutionary technologies in any industry are often met with trepidation, but Sennheiser has demonstrated that WMAS not only fulfills the FCC goal for spectral efficiency but also provides greater protection against interference to other devices that share the same spectrum, including traditional wireless mics and IEMs. Sennheiser graciously thanks the numerous industry leaders who have provided their names to the FCC in support for the necessary rule change, clearly demonstrating strong enthusiasm for this problem-solving technology. Hopefully, this will inspire the FCC to enact a favorable Report & Order soon.”
WMAS has attained the necessary government authorizations in most of EMEA and in many APAC countries, with Sennheiser stating that it is taking steps to accelerate this regulatory step and bring the technology to the live audio industry in the United States.
Go here to learn more about WMAS.