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Shure Previews Wireless Mic System for the TV Spectrum

At last week's 2011 NAMM Show, Shure previewed its new Axient wireless microphone system, a direct response to the coming of white spaces devices to the TV spectrum and the possible interference issues their arrival might cause pro AV applications.

Shure Axient

Shure Axient

At last week's 2011 NAMM Show, Shure previewed its new Axient wireless microphone system, a direct response to the coming of white spaces devices to the TV spectrum and the possible interference issues their arrival might cause pro AV applications. The Axient system can automatically change frequencies to avoid interference without the user noticing.

"Uncertainty and volatility in the RF spectrum are the new reality for professional wireless users," said Sandy LaMantia, president and CEO of Shure, in a statement. "They face increasing pressure to deliver interference-free performance even though conditions are more unpredictable than ever before. The Axient wireless system was designed from the outset to withstand interference from the analog and digital sources that exist today and may exist in the future."

Shure officials said that despite the advent of white spaces devices, which include wireless handhelds and other gadgets from companies like Google, Dell, and others, the TV spectrum is still the best for large-scale AV applications that rely on wireless microphones, such as live broadcast, theater, music, and corporate events.

"Axient defines a new standard for control and confidence in applications with zero tolerance for failure," said Erik Vaveris, category director for wireless products at Shure, in a statement. "This is the first wireless microphone system that can detect interference and avoid it automatically. Today, when unexpected RF interference arises, an engineer is either stuck with dropouts or they can run a backup mic out to the performer."

Shure officials said Axient's interference detection and avoidance technology enables the system to move to a clear and compatible frequency within milliseconds. Axient Spectrum Manager constantly scans the RF environment and performs frequency compatibility calculations to assign clear frequencies to the wireless transmitters. It continuously monitors, ranks, and deploys backup frequencies.

To further increase reliability, Axient systems come with frequency diversity, which transmits full-bandwidth audio on two separate frequencies to ensure uninterrupted audio for critical channels, even in the face of RF interference.

"The Spectrum Manager functions as an air traffic controller for the system," said Vaveris. "When the receiver's interference detection and avoidance feature senses interference, the Spectrum Manager assigns a new frequency that it knows is clean. The frequency is deployed to the transmitter by the ShowLink wireless access point, and the transmitter and receiver execute a synchronized frequency change in a matter of milliseconds, making it virtually undetectable. And with Frequency Diversity enabled, there is no audible trace whatsoever."

ShowLink also acts as a remote control system, enabling the user to make real-time adjustments of transmitter settings like audio gain from the receiver or a laptop while the microphone is live.

Shure said Axient will come with Wireless Workbench 6, a new software interface that lets the Axient user monitor and control the entire system. The Axient Wireless microphone system will be available in mid-2011, according to Shure.

 


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