Conference Microphones Tech Showcase
Oct 31, 2011 1:00 PM, by Bennett Liles
In deliberative bodies such as legislatures and other assemblies, the topics can be intense and the dialogue critical. The discussion must be heard clearly and accomplished without technical glitches. The conference systems and microphones we focus on here, many also known as discussion systems, include the latest features for quick setup, reliable performance, and simple operation by non-techies. Many of the systems include chairman and delegate stations, inputs for media playback and teleconferencing, as well as outputs for sound reinforcement and translation.
The CS 5 conference system from AKG is anchored on the CS 5 BU with all stations connected to it via a closed-circuit Ethernet configuration. The base unit also drives the CS 5 IRT1 and CS 5 IRT2 infrared radiators, which provide up to seven selectable language channels to the system’s CS 5 IRR7 infrared receivers. Users can have up to 64 separate channels assignable to the delegate, chairperson, or interpreter stations. Larger systems can be set up to include control from a central computer using the CS 5 PC control software and up to 5000 participant and interpreter units can work together. The CS 5 BU central unit can also act as an interface to external devices including mixers, wireless microphones, recording devices, CD players, and other equipment.
Apex Electronics created the Apex145 dynamic tabletop gooseneck microphone for conferences, forums, broadcast applications, and emergency communications where fixed mounting is not practical. The microphone, its flexible 18in. gooseneck, and its die-cast weighted base are all integrated. The unit features a built-in switch that toggles on and off with silent operation. The moving coil dynamic element exhibits a cardioid pickup pattern with a frequency response from 100Hz to 12kHz and a sensitivity of -75dB +/-3dB. The unit’s total weight is 55oz., just enough to anchor well on a tabletop and still be easy to move around as needed.
Using ultra-wideband pulse technology in the 6GHz RF range, the Audio-Technica SpectraPulse system offers two microphone schemes for conferencing. The system consists of one or two drm141 digital receiver modules, as many as two aci707 audio control interfaces, and up to 14 mtu101 or mtu201 microphone transmitter units. The mtu201 desk stand transmitter can be fitted with a variety of Audio-Technica Engineered Sound gooseneck microphones. The third transmitter option is the mtu301 bodypack transmitter for greater mobility. Frequency setup consists of simply setting the frequency with a switch on each transmitter unit. For added security in this wireless conferencing system Audio-Technica offers an optional encryption package that meets the AES Level 3 128-bit encryption standard. Audio response is from 100Hz to 12kHz with a sampling rate of 24kHz and 16-bit AD/DA converters. The interconnection between the digital receiver module/antenna array and the audio control interface is made with a single shielded Cat-5 cable.
For easy placement and a variety of gooseneck lengths, the MicroPod series from Audix includes the M1250B condenser microphone and a choice of a 6in., 12in., or 18in. gooseneck. There is also a shotgun version (the MicroPod6S) that features the high-output M1255B condenser microphone along with the 6in. gooseneck. These can be used with the optional ATS-10 table stand for conference and discussion systems. There is also a choice of cardioid or hyper-cardioid pickup patterns. The microphones, running on 18-52V phantom power, provide a frequency response from 15Hz to 19kHz. The table stand includes a lighted on/off switch. Each model may also be placed on a standard mic stand when used with the DClip mic stand adapter.
The IRR-106 receiver is at the center of the Azden 6-Channel IR conference system with individual volume controls on each channel and the capability to use as many as four IRD-66 or IRD-36 external IR sensors for coverage in large rooms. The unit is run with an external power supply and can be rackmounted. Among the microphone models that can be used in the system are the IRC-51 chairman’s tabletop microphone featuring its own on/off button and a mute button for the IR-56 participant microphones.
Beyerdynamic introduced the MCW-D 50 conferencing system with 128-bit encrypted wireless transmission and rechargeable battery operation on the microphone units. These consist of the MCW-D 531delegate and MCW-D 533 chairman Revoluto microphone units along with the MCW-D 521 delegate and MCW-D 523 chairman gooseneck mics. The system is anchored on the MCW-D 50 digital discussion control unit with direct sequence spread spectrum modulation in the 2.4Ghz band. Each control unit can allocate channels for up to seven delegate and two chairman mics simultaneously while using an integrated splitter/combiner for diversity RF reception. It can be operated by a PC on a network or by RS-232 while running a Windows-based control application.
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