State of the Art Technology
We were the first company in the UK to place an order for the new Neutrik Xirium four channel digital wireless link between the audio console and the sound reinforcement system.
Until now it has really only been possible to link the mixer to the PA by cabling or a wireless mic system that will accept a line level input. Cabling is fine until you can't easily access certain areas or you have to get across water or setup time is limited etc. The wireless option for many has been to use a wireless mic system in the form of a belt pack or plug on transmitter that can accept a line level signal.
Why do I need a Neutrik Xirium?
The problem until now has been that Analogue wireless mic systems mostly use a compander circuit that compresses then expands the audio signal, a little like the old cassette player/recorders using noise reduction did in the past. Digital wireless mic systems don't use a compander, however they often treat the audio signal a little like an MP3 format, so both Analogue and Digital wireless mic systems are good for one signal at a time but not a complete mix coming from an audio console. Using any wireless mic system in this way also uses up valuable frequencies you might need for extra instruments/microphones?
What is it and what can it do?
Enter the Neutrik Xirium, a brand new product they call the 'wireless connection' that will not take up any of the Wireless Mic or IEM frequencies in normal use, as it uses the license free 5GHz frequency band. It also offers true 'studio quality' uncompressed full frequency audio from a four channel base station, which then controls any combination of up to four remote transmitter or receiver packs. Thats much better audio quality than just about any wireless mic system on the market.
You can't overload it with too much RF level as a lot of folks do with wireless mics (this can cause signal drop outs in the same way a very weak signal does). This is prevented because the Neutrik Xirium base station takes care of too much RF level automatically (simple and clever - take note wireless mic system manufacturers).
At this time you can run up to two base stations offering a maximum of eight independent audio channels (you must have at least one base station - the remote transmitter/receiver packs won't communicate with each other without one). You can have one remote transmitter pack per audio channel or one remote receiver pack per audio channel (you can run up to three remote receivers per channel if you set this feature via a laptop - just one remote transmitter per channel for obvious reasons). The remote transmitter packs have both Jack and XLRf inputs for line or mic level signals and also offer switchable +48v for condenser microphones. The remote receiver packs have a single XLRm line level output.
There are options for remote antenna to increase the usable range for the base station and touring versions of the remote packs. The standard battery/mains remote packs have built in antenna and have the option of a 'mic stand' or 'speaker stand' adaptor which also helps protect these particular packs from bumps and scratches etc.
Ease of use?
You simply power up the base station, and once it selects a clear channel to use it keeps a constant data stream, preventing 'channel hopping' devices and other devices from using that part of the frequency band, as they will see it's already occupied. Next you simply link either a transmitter or receiver to any of the base stations four channels, connect the signal cables to/from your audio console and away you go. The gain is controlled from the base station for the remote transmitter packs. The remote receiver packs do not require gain adjustment. Neither remote transmitter or receiver packs require a mains power supply in their standard form (the touring versions do) as they can be powered by four high quality AA batteries (alkaline or better as they do eat batteries).
Does it work?
We've already tested these systems and have been so pleased with the results we've invested in the product... Just be aware at these frequencies 'line of sight' is almost a must. Brick/Stone Walls and even People (we are made up of a lot of RF soaking water) between the base station and remote packs will affect the overall system performance. As with ALL wireless mic systems, you will get the best performance with direct line of sight, with the antenna placed if possible above the heads of your audience. Do this and you shouldn't be dissapointed :-)