At NAB, Microphones Equal Many Choices

On the second day at the conference in Las Vegas, a number of new products were highlighted by mic manufacturers, along with LED walls, audio consoles and lighting systems.

LAS VEGAS Whether it was audio consoles, video switchers, microphones, moving lights, there were an array of companies to visit during the second day of NAB at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday.

Among the 11 companies, much time was spent discussing newest releases of products on the NAB showroom floor. By far the greatest number specialized in microphones. Whether it was DPA, Sennheiser, Shure, Audio-Technica, and Countryman, each company had a story to tell about their latest products.

Numerous microphones to choose from

Most notable was the Sennheiser AMBEO VR microphone, capable of producing high quality VR audio to be paired with virtual reality video, with a 3D, 360-degree feel. To Jeff Touzeau of Hummingbird Media, he envisioned that a large church that regularly offers streaming of their services, could position it directly in the middle of their congregation. By doing so, it would provide additional ambient sound to those viewers streaming, to where "static services would change."

Sennheiser was not alone with new offerings, as DPA rolled out the d:vice. At just 2.2-inches, the product was developed over the last year. With a single cord, it can connect directly to an iPhone. With two other cords, it can easily link to a non-XLR DPA microphone. For all the advancements made recently with iPhones in recording video, their audio capabilities have largely been left behind. With the d:vice, it allows for user to create production-quality video and audio, simply with their iPhone, the d:vice, and a DPA microphone.

In addition, for Shure, they introduced two new series of microphones. Each intended to deal with the impending "spectral crunch," seen as an approaching strain on the airwaves. The AD and ADX series have digital wireless receivers (the AD4D and AD4Q) that run on the Axient Digital platform. They can then be paired with a micro-bodypack that is completely scalable. To ensure that the new wireless system would be best suited for churches, product manager Michael Johns talked of extensive beta testing of a the new system by many of the country's largest worship facilities. The new line, with its excellent digital modulation and a wide tuning range, underwent a three-year development stage. For Shure systems that were previously analog wireless, running off UHF-R, the new Axient Digital is the new step up.

Panels to consoles also stand out on NAB floor

Aside from microphones, a number of other standout products were on display at the convention center Tuesday. That included an impressive duo of LED wall displays by both CreateLED and Christie Digital. Both companies offered 1.2mm and 1.9mm pixel pitch models on the floor. The Christie models were both Velvet Merit LED panels, while CreateLED's tightest pixel pitch is the AirTV. For the Christie panels, marketing manager Virginia Dwyer said their panels are back and front serviceable. In addition, when purchasing panels for a wall, the company ensures that the panels each come from the same batch to avoid any problems with slightly mismatched panels in a large LED wall display.

Other notable new products included a notable one by Solid State Logic, the L200. With a total of 144 paths, or to 96 channels, SSL Content Creator Paul MacDonald noted the focus of the product was "driven by cost. People who often cannot afford one, but now they can." Even if the L200, with its 36 faders in a row, might offer fewer paths than their larger cousins, MacDonald emphasized that the new model runs off the same user interface, and also runs at 96k. Nonetheless, that makes it easy to transition from one model to the next. It also allows one to easily move show files from one model up to another or vice versa. For those who want to expand on 96 channels, Dante Blacklight Bridge is an excellent tool that can bring it up to 256 channels.

Lastly, with ChamSys being acquired by Chauvet Professional, the company showcased in their booth a lighting system that is anticipated to be available in the next two to three months. The lighting software is currently available, and is free, with product manager Michael Graham noting a desire for users to get used to the new, powerful tool, which has a built in visualizer, allowing you to see how individual looks, particularly the beam angle, light movement and particular effects. One can go so far as to spend time creating basic looks from home, reducing the time spent in practice building such looks from scratch.


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