News Production & Post

HD comes to Voice connections

28 June 2011

Glensound is to introduce a new, higher-quality wireless voice communication unit useful for talkback or pitch-side interviews. It uses a new mobile phone standard, called HD Voice, that noticeably improves speech quality, writes David Fox.

"Because HD Voice is very, very good, they could be used by pitch-side reporters to interview players as they come off the pitch," explained Marc Wilson, Glensound’s Sales & Marketing Manager.

From the user’s perspective, "it’s the same as making a mobile phone call," as it is essentially a mobile phone with XLR inputs – "It’s a digital hybrid for a GSM network."

The Adaptive Multi Rate Wideband technology used for HD Voice is an international standard for 3G mobile networks and effectively squeezes more voice information into the same bandwidth. "It is the next big thing happening to mobile phones," and is becoming available on the latest consumer handsets. Click here to hear an audio sample so you can hear the difference it can make.

Wilson sees it as an alternative to IP-based mobile units. "The main disadvantage with IP is you are never guaranteed bandwidth, but with HD Voice, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it." It is, of course, possible to get up to 15kHz bandwidth on an IP unit, compared to 7kHz with HD Voice, but he believes this is perfect for voice applications.

Glensound’s non-HD version is used a lot as an easy-access talkback channel. "It’s our biggest selling product," with about 500 sold.

The GS-MPI004 HD Portable Broadcasters’ Mobile Phone will be £995, while the GS-MPI005 HD Rackmount version, which has serial control and integrates with newsroom automation systems, will cost £1,295 (as you need both to function, they are being sold as a pair for £1,995). They will be available in August.

In the UK, HD Voice is currently available on the Orange and Three networks. France Telecom (which owns Orange) was the first provider to launch the service (SFR also offers it in France), and it is now becoming widely available across Europe (with some 20 networks offering it in 18 countries worldwide, including India, Hong Kong and Egypt). It should roll out to many more countries this year, including the USA.

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