Hands On: Wideband Simphonix SI-400
Daniel Abrams, vice president for audiovisual systems at Southland Technology in San Diego gives his impressions of the Wideband Simphonix SI-400.
MY PICK: WideBand Solutions SimphoniX Si-400 and HSET-09 Isolation Transformer
LIST PRICE: $2,895 (Si-400); $230 (HSET-09)
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT: The Si-400 has become part of Southland's regular repertoire for audioconferencing systems in boardrooms, conference rooms, and meeting spaces--especially those with VoIP phone systems. When combined with the HSET transformer, the SimphoniX system integrates seamlessly with a customer's existing VoIP phone allowing them ease of dialing and the continued use of all of their VoIP phone features. The Si-400 is practically plug and play. It uses preset matrix configurations that handle all of the routing issues without the extended time of DSP configuration. The GUI interface is uncomplicated and easy to navigate, making the rest of the setup (basically just setting levels) quick and easy.
WHAT I WOULD CHANGE: The Si-400 supports RS-232 for third-party control, butthe DB-9 port is on the front of the unit, rather than the back. This makes a permanent connection of a serial cable tricky, especially in cases where there is a door on the equipment rack. To work around this, we use a rack panel with a 9-pin jack in the space above and connect a short 90 degree cable in between the two.
WHERE I USED IT: Liquid Health, Murrieta, Calif., for the company's conference room presentation and conferencing system.
MY RESULTS: Having completed a changeover from a digital phone system to VoIP, LiquidHealth was looking to integrate audioconferencing capabilities into its conference room without an analog phone line. The audio integration was straightforward, with two omni-directional, table-top boundary microphones and two ceiling-recessed speakers.
The microphones were connected directly to the inputs of the Si-400 and the speakers were powered by the system'son-board amplifier. The table-top Avaya VoIP phone was connected to the system through the HSET interface via the headset jack and worked the first time it was turned on. The room was built with an eye toward video conferencing capabilities and the Si-400, with it's dedicated codec I/O, can accommodate that.