LAS VEGAS – After a rather heavy day of discovering some of the more intriguing video-related products on the first day of the exhibit floor being open at NAB, the following day on Tuesday resulted in much more of an audio focus.
Following visits to 18 exhibitors in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, among the more notable microphones looked at were a series from Sennheiser, each of them wireless, with each avoiding a run-in up against the 600 MHz band spectrum that has since been auctioned off.
For churches interested in getting an entry-level Sennheiser microphone paired with it being wireless, the XS Wireless Digital Series is an excellent place to start, with it recently released in January. For a mic that begins at $299.95 among 10 various options, including the XSW-D Vocal Set, at $349.95, it could reasonably allow a church to begin with a single system for the pastor, or add on additional mics for additional speakers, or the worship band.
From that “good” option, to a “better” option, Sennheiser offers the evolution wireless G4 system – launched last year - in more than two dozen configurations, including the versatile EW 100 G4-ME3, a strong choice when needing a mic to perform well when handling speaking, singing, or for instruments. Investing in a single system, comprised of a SK 100 G4 wireless bodypack, ME 3-II Head Mic, EM 100 G4 rackmount receiver, GA3 rack kit and RJ10 linking cable, features a base price of $649.
Lastly, for churches, who are looking for Sennheiser’s best wireless option, is the flagship Digital 6000 series, initially released in 2017.
From those varied microphone options, the most impressive headworn microphone on the floor, from my view at NAB, was the 6066 Subminiature Headset, by DPA Microphones. For pastors who might be hesitant to transition to a headworn mic, based on what has previously been in the market, the 6066, with an incredibly lightweight design - at 0.4 oz - makes that move much easier. The mic, which has been years in development, comes with an omnidirectional polar pattern, and stands out with a 102dB dynamic range and maximum SPL of 144dB. Between how notably light the 6066 was, along with how well the frame, ear grips and boom naturally conformed to the face (with no bending necessary), the 6066 -among the newer items of NAB - impressed the most.
For the most pleasantly surprising development on the floor at NAB was Audinate’s Dante-AV. While still in development stage, with the plan to the product fully ready following InfoComm in June, Dante AV aims to take what they have achieved by creating the networking standard for audio gear, and apply it to video equipment as well. In much the same way, using Dante Controller, video devices (such as projectors, televisions, encoder boxes) can be added to the network through plug-and-play, as Dante currently does for audio gear.
Another relatively new product shown for the first time at NAB was the Countryman H7, which was unveiled back in January, and is currently shipping. A successor to the H6, which has been on the market for about five years, the H7 was created with the goal of offering a directional version of the H6, along with a few other improvements. Some of those tweaks include a wider dynamic range, but with it being directional, setups of the H7 would be ideal when a drummer is part of a worship band, and a major goal is to isolate the drummer from the rest of the band.
For video products seen on the exhibit floor on Tuesday, one of the more useful tools seen was one of the smaller ones, from Samson Technologies and learned about Go Mic Mobile. With Samson already well known for their reasonably priced headworn mics and lavaliers, Go Mic Mobile stood out in providing a tool to the videographer for a church, when asked to film a testimonial with little notice, for example, that having this tool and an iPhone can get the job done.
As described by Shawn Meagher, director of marketing, Go Mic Mobile clips to a cellphone and offers two-channel audio, making it ideal for small livestreaming applications. “It’s for the churches that are not investing in the large production. You don’t need to be a technology expert to get it going,” he said. “It’s really a gamechanger, as people are looking for a wireless solution, one that frees you from a microphone right next to your smartphone. With it, you can do livestreaming, and the latency is low enough, that you don’t have sync issues.”
In terms of lighting products highlighted at the show, the ETC booth had a number of fixtures worthy of note, including the ColorSource Pearl, rolled out about a year ago. Ideal for houses of worship, the fixture – in white only applications – uses a cool white and warm white emitter. “If you are a church that is looking for a bright white, and are looking for that variability,” such a fixture would be a good fit, explained David Hilton, product marketing manager.
Lastly, while churches might look solely to manned video cameras and PTZ cameras as part of limited options on how to record different angles and perspectives within a worship space, whether it be of a pastor or worship band: Add fixed cameras to that list. Upon seeing two of Marshall’s True 4K camera models, the CV380-CS and CV420-CS, both cameras showed valuable purpose for a church. The cameras, first introduced at the 2018 NAB, with shipping having started in September, can be placed on the stage at a certain angle. From there, the individual running the switcher, can run the shot of the drummer from that different angle for 10 seconds, for example, offering a varied perspective, while adding to the production value. With the flexibility that the camera offers, in being able to control white balance, gamma and saturation levels, for example, the overall image can be matched well with professional cameras, to where there isn’t a stark difference between it and the footage being captured by the other cameras in the space.