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Audio-Technica Debuts New IR Conferencing

Audio-Technica showed off the latest in its Engineered Sound range of meeting/conference room offerings with the ATCS-60 IR (infrared) Conference System.

Audio-Technica this week showed off the latest in its Engineered Sound range of meeting/conference room offerings with the ATCS-60 IR (infrared) Conference System.

The ATCS-60 is a fully self-contained wireless distributed audio system using infrared communications technology, designed for corporate, government and educational applications, according to the company.

The ATCS-60's infrared technology offers secure communication. Because the infrared signal stays within the room, a meeting cannot be picked up or intercepted elsewhere, which can often be an issue with conventional RF systems. The system also features sophisticated functions such as simultaneous interpretation for one native language and up to three foreign languages; automatic camera tracking to follow the switching of microphones; optional minutes recording; along with other features that help improve conference efficiency. The ATCS-60 system can also be fully portable.

The ATCS-60 system consists of: the ATCS-M60 Microphone Unit (base unit), ATCS-60MIC Dedicated standard-length Gooseneck Microphone, ATCS-A60 IR Transmitter/Receiver Unit, ATCS-C60 Master Control Unit, ATCS-D60 Distributor (splitter), ATCS-B60 Battery charger, ATCS-C60MAG Software.

Each ATCS-M60 Microphone Unit features a built-in dedicated loudspeaker, which will return the entire system's audio, minus that conference member, thereby preventing feedback and echo, according to Audio-Technica.

The system operates in two modes, manual and automatic. In manual mode, which works like a discussion system" (commonly used with a more formal approach to corporate meetings), each meeting member pushes a button to request to speak. In manual mode, the system's ATCS-C60 Master Control Unit controls whether requests to speak are accepted in first-in-first-out or last-in-first-out order. This mode accepts up to 150 microphone units. In automatic mode, which accepts up to 50 microphone units, all channels run through a smart mixer, which turns each microphone on and off depending on whether or not that meeting member is speaking. The mixer can be set so that from one to five people can talk simultaneously.

The ATCS-A60 IR Transmitter/Receiver Unit has an oblong 120-degree coverage pattern. The ATCS-D60 Distributor acts as a splitter, expanding the Master Control Unit's four IR Transmitter/Receiver Unit connections so that up to 16 ATCS-A60 units can be placed on a room's ceiling space, depending on room size and shape.

The system's included ATCS-C60MAG software allows users to monitor and control the system using a computer screen with a graphical interface patterned after the room layout. An advanced version of the software can record meetings for electronic minute-taking. The ATCS-M60 Microphone Units can run on Lithium ion battery power or via AC power with a standard adapter.

Finally, the Master Control Unit features an RS-232C connecting port, for control via third-party units by AMX, Crestron and others.

The ATCS-60 system will be available in Fall 2009.

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