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Audio roundup: Wireless without interference

A wireless microphone system that promises interference-free signals must be a Shure thing; Røde’s DSLR-friendly VideoMic goes Pro; and Rycote launches lightweight boom poles.

Axient automated wireless microphone system

Shure’s upcoming Axient Wireless microphone system is claimed to be the first wireless system to both detect interference and automatically change frequencies to avoid interference.

“Uncertainty and volatility in the RF spectrum are the new reality for professional wireless users,” explained Sandy LaMantia, Shure’s President and CEO. “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 analogue and digital sources that exist today and may exist in the future.”

The Axient system employs several innovative technologies that work together to deliver interference-free audio at critical events, such as live broadcasts.

“Axient defines a new standard for control and confidence in applications with zero tolerance for failure,” added Erik Vaveris, Category Director for Wireless Products at Shure. “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. Axient makes that a thing of the past.”

Features include: Frequency Diversity, which transmits full-bandwidth audio on two separate frequencies to ensure seamless, uninterrupted audio for mission-critical channels, even in the face of direct RF interference; ShowLink remote control, which enables the user to make real-time remote adjustments from the receiver or a laptop, of transmitter settings like audio gain while the microphone is live; Axient Spectrum Manager, which constantly scans the RF environment, performs frequency compatibility calculations to assign clear frequencies to each wireless transmitter, and deploys backup frequencies automatically; Smart lithium-ion rechargeable battery packs; and Wireless Workbench 6, a new software interface that enables users to monitor and control the entire system.

“The Spectrum Manager functions as an air traffic controller for the system,” said Vaveris. “When the receiver’s Interference Detection & 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.”

The Axient Wireless microphone system will be available in mid-2011.

Røde’s VideoMic goes Pro

The original Røde VideoMic is widely used for video production, and is a particular favourite for use with HD DSLRs. Now there is a VideoMic Pro offering new features specific to professional video.

Noise transference has been significantly reduced using both a revised, more elegant shock mounting system and a lightweight premium cable.

The VMP is smaller (15cm long), weighs 85g, and is also centrally balanced, making it more suitable for use in conjunction with low-cost camera stabilisation systems.

It has a super-cardioid condenser microphone, integrated foam windshield, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack output (dual mono), two step High Pass Filter (flat, 80Hz), three-position level control (-10dB, 0, +20dB), uses a 9v battery offering up to 70 hours battery life (alkaline). It has a camera shoe mount with 3/8-inch thread for boompole mounting, and comes with a DeadCat VMP furry windshield. – BVE Stand C-44

Rycote poles go graphite

Rycote has introduced three new telescopic carbon-fibre boom poles. The 1.63-metre-long G3, with three sections, and the 2.49-metre-long G5, with five sections. The G5 is itself available in two versions, a standard version and one with an internal coiled cable and built-in Neutrik XLR connector in the hilt (pictured).

For several years, following its takeover of US boom pole manufacturer Lightwave Audio, Rycote has been selling telescopic boom poles under the Lightwave name. However, with the launch of the Rycote-branded G-series carbon-fibre poles, the entire range, including the A3 and A5 aluminium poles, will now be rebranded as Rycote products.

Featuring the same lightweight patented triple-cam grip and twist locking system as the A3 and A5 poles, and with no metal parts to add to their weight, the new G3 and G5 combine lightweight construction with great tensile strength. As on the A3 and A5, the locking mechanism is designed to be resistant to jamming when the pole is dirty; however, if necessary, the locking collars can be completely stripped down for cleaning in the field if required. The G3 weighs just 360g, the standard G5 is 580g, while the G5 with internal cable weighs 720g.

List prices are G3: £150; G5 Standard: £204; and G5 with internal cable: £288, including VAT.