Boundary Mics & Auto Mic Mixers
Sep 13, 2013 3:18 PM, By Mike McIntyre, CTS-D, EST-L2+
Dan Dugan Sound Designs’ Model E-1A automatic mixing controller helps audio mixers handle multiple live mics without having to adjust their individual faders. Designed for news panels, sports commentary, conference reinforcement, multiple wireless mics for theater, boardrooms, civic meeting, and distance learning, this 8-channel (analog) or 16-channel (digital) signal processor patches into the input insert points of an audio mixing console. Detecting which mics are being used and making fast crossfades, it frees the mixer to focus on overall balance instead of adjusting many faders. The Model E-1A’s voice-controlled crossfades track unscripted dialogue perfectly, eliminating cueing mistakes and late fade-ups while avoiding the choppy and distracting effects common to noise gates.
The SPN812 is an eight-input, 12-output 1RU mixer in Lectrosonics’ Aspen series of audio processing products. Ideal for applications ranging from small installations to more sophisticated multilayered systems, the SPN812 features ultra-low noise input preamps, a full crosspoint matrix with 48 inputs, and unlimited input expansion. It is also TCP/IP Ethernet addressable and allows seamless automixing at the matrix crosspoints using PGA. Simultaneous multi-point third-party and native control is also featured, along with automatic master/slave detection, while a single Cat-6 interconnection carries data, audio, and control signals.
Peavey’s S-4 can be used as a plug-in or standalone mixer, and up to 10 S-4 units can be linked together via TRS cables to provide up to 40 gain-shared inputs. Automix not only simplifies the mixing of spoken-word microphones, but also improves sound quality and increases available microphone gain for soft-spoken individuals. Once engaged, it monitors the levels of these channels and automatically turns down unused or low priority inputs to give priority to the main microphone, minimizing ambient noise and feedback. The S-4’s direct outputs are processed, enabling it to be used in-line with a standard mixing console to add automatic mic mixing. Another feature is Mid Morph equalization, which is actually two EQ controls in one. When the knob is cut, it pulls out low-mid frequencies; when boosted, it shifts to an upper-mid frequency that brightens the vocal range. Each channel is full featured with compression, equalization, and PFL.
Rane’s AM2 is both an 8-channel, gain-sharing automatic mic mixer and a Rane RAD. Use it as a standalone mic-only mixer, add more gain-shared mics using up to seven additional AM2 automixers, and/or use the RAD port to transport the mic mix via a Rane Mongoose to a CobraNet network. Each of the eight XLR mic inputs offers front-panel input level controls feeding a gain-sharing automatic mixer. Rear-panel, three-position selectors support dynamic mics (no phantom power), condenser mics (48V), or line input optimized for wireless receiver outputs (+10dBu max). All level controls come with front-panel signal and overload indicators. The AM2 is optimized for automixing speech. The mic inputs have a fixed 100Hz to 7kHz bandpass filter to provide the best voice-only automatic mixing using the gain-sharing algorithm.
Revolabs’ Executive Elite 4- and 8-channel wireless microphone systems are designed for boardroom and conference room audio solutions. Using a distributed architecture that separates audio equipment from radio equipment, Executive Elite remote antenna receivers and base DSP units are connected via Cat-6 cable supporting Power over Ethernet (PoE), enabling distributed or in-room installations. Featuring cloud-based management and future proofing thanks to DECT protocol that protects against frequency changes, the Elite systems also use AES 256 encryption with automatic key updates every 60 seconds for secure operation. The Executive Elite receiver pairs with the entire suite of microphones and adapters, including omni-directional, directional, gooseneck (6in. and 12in. variations), and wearable microphones, as well as XLR and TA4 (mini XLR) adapters.
The CM11B by Samson is a low-profile, surface-mount boundary microphone good for flat surfaces, such as conference room tables, altars, or hanging on walls. It features a permanently charged condenser element with an omnidirectional pickup pattern, which provides linear pick-up in a 360-degree pattern. Although the CM11B is small in size, all of the electronics are contained within the body, eliminating the need for any external electronics pack. It is fitted with a standard 3-pin miniature male XLR connector, includes a 30ft. mini XLR to standard XLR cable, and operates on standard 9V to 52V phantom power. The CM11B is built using heavy-duty, die-cast construction with reinforced steel grille screen, and a heavy neoprene rubber pad is added to the bottom of the unit to decouple the microphone from the surface, helping to reduce unwanted pick-up noise.
Sennheiser’s e 912 is a pre-polarized condenser boundary microphone with half-cardioid pick-up pattern. Its acoustic properties have been optimized for instruments, vocals, and speech. The e 912 is good for pianos, theater, opera productions, conference applications, altars, and lecterns. To optimally match the installation environment, the e 912 is available in black or crème white.
Ideal for conference room installations, Shure’s Microflex Multi-Element boundary microphone comes in two- or three-element configurations: The MX396 dual-element is a 0-180-degree mic and the MX396/TRI is a dual-element, 90-0-90 mic, adjustable to 120-120-120 degrees. This solution combines the coverage of multiple microphones into a small, compact package. Each unit features individual audio output for each element, a bi-color status indicator, programmable mute switch, logic input/output for remote LED and mute control, and Shure’s proprietary CommShield technology to ensure resistance to intense nearby radio signals.
The D-901 from TOA features a modular design that supports up to 12 mic/line inputs and eight line outputs with flexible RS-232 or contact-closure remote control. Audio processing tools include automixing, feedback suppression, multi-band parametric filters, compressors, limiters, noise gates, crossovers, and delays. Full input-to-output matrixing allows users to store and recall any input-to-output combination for multi-zone or room-combining applications. The unit can be programmed via the front-panel display or with configured off-site with PC control software for later uploading.
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