EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
www.inavateonthenet.net
Jan/Feb 2015
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TECHNOLOGY
| Conferencing peripherals (audio)
Videoconferencing is available to companies more easily and cheaply than ever before.
Nial Anderson examines the rise of peripherals that ensure audio quality is up to scratch.
Sound networking
T
he widespread deployment of integrated
cameras in desktop PCs and mobile
devices, along with the emergence of
software like Microsoft Lync and Skype,
has succeeded in bringing video-
conferencing to the masses.
Microsoft Lync has been driving
this move away from the fully integrated
videoconferencing systems with higher ASP.
- Tim Root, Revolabs
Companies no longer need to invest in one expensive,
integrated conferencing room for their offices and can
make more areas available for videoconferencing at a
and issues like echo cancellation. This situation has
more affordable cost.
opened up a niche market for conferencing peripherals
But quantity of course doesn’t equal quality and
when important business deals are being discussed, the
that interface with existing conferencing systems to
deliver first-rate audio.
“People working from home is also a big driver,”
Root continued.
“We were speaking with a company a few weeks
ago and I was shocked - 30% of all the inter-company
rudimentary microphones and speakers in computers
“Microsoft Lync has been driving this move away
and speakerphones can’t deliver the professional
from the fully integrated videoconferencing systems
Justin O’Connor, Biamp’s product manager for
performance expected in such situations. It is generally
with higher ASP,” explained Tim Root, CTO and
audio systems, added: “Traditional videoconferencing
accepted that between video and audio, audio is the
executive VP of business development at Revolabs.
systems are continuing to play a smaller role in AV
most important element to get right – especially in the
case of communication in a conferencing scenario.
While visual communication can aid meetings, having
communication now is done using video.”
“Companies have been deciding that they don’t need
installation. Hard codecs for videoconferencing are not
to spend all that money for these complicated rooms,
the way of the future and this is freeing up the rest
they’re just using a PC and couple of peripherals.
of the AV system to be designed for other efficiencies
a situation where speech is degraded or delayed wastes
“There’s a lot more video-enabled, UC-based spaces
and benefits.”
everyone’s time. In the professional environment where
being created but they’re doing it at a much lower cost
So how did peripherals evolve to meet the challenges
the integrator will be installing or supplying equipment
point. Instead of one specialised room, they will now
that have emerged in this shift toward using desktop
a minimum level of quality will be expected. Software
have several.”
computers and devices? In the case of Revolabs,
and the simple onboard mics and speakers within
As well as lower cost, technology in mobile devices
the solution was to create a new generation of
PCs and laptops cannot usually adjust for things like
has now reached a point where individuals can join in
speakerphones with more power, a simple plug-and-
different room sizes that may not have good acoustics
on videoconferencing sessions while on the move.
play approach and more recently, consolidating UC
26 | Jan/Feb 2015
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>
TECHNOLOGY
| Conferencing peripherals (audio)
tools and telephones in one unit.
“What we recognised when we looked at the audio
peripherals for USB speaker phones, is that they were
all targeted at travelling sales reps and were fairly small
and all USB-powered,” Root explained.
“With USB power you get something like five volts
Many multipoint conferencing
technologies will resort to the lowest common
denominator for bandwidth.
- Justin O’Connor, Biamp
at 500 mA which isn’t a lot of juice. You’d take two
of those four watts and apply it to your processing so
there’s nothing there to drive the speakers. We did the
the conference rooms where they also have a phone
analysis on how much energy was coming out of those
next to them,” he said.
those from Crestron.
Companies that already have AV systems installed
little speakers and they tended to be 70db SPL range.
“They are now realising they can pull these two
can take advantage of digital signal processing, if
That would be the typical speech level from a person
devices out and replace it with a FLX UC 1000, plug the
installed, to act as a backbone that can handle the
USB into their UC desktop client and then plug their
challenges presented by videoconferencing with
“Our perspective was that you’d often have someone
network interface in for standard phone calls which
desktop UC clients. Biamp’s Tesira system is an example
on a cell phone who is remotely calling in and is hard
leaves only one device. They can also bridge the calls;
of this.
to hear to begin with and you wouldn’t have any juice
they can make a phone call and they can be on a UC
to put any gain on that sound.
call at the same time and the audio will mix.”
fairly close to their mouth.
“Automixers,
automatic
gain
compensation,
dynamic and adaptive filtering, and our SpeechSense
Revolabs has developed its FLX UC 500 and 1000
Last year Sennheiser launched its TeamConnect
speakerphones with this in mind. The latest model,
audio conferencing product with an emphasis on
the FLX UC 1500, has just been released. How
boosting audio in meetings. The offering consists
“It is our full set of tools, combined with the access
did the company develop it to meet the needs of
of a central unit with audio DSP, an interface where
we give system designers for deploying these tools,
videoconferencing?
participants can connect their devices, the company’s
that enhances the videoconferencing experience for
participants.”
technology add to our products being best-in-class for
audio processing,” O’Connor explained.
“The first step was to design a real speaker for the
SpeechLine microphones and active loudspeakers. The
speakerphone with a tweeter and a three-inch mid
system bridges multiple communication types such as
Meeting participants dialing in from remote locations
sub,” Root explained.
mobile phone, landline andUSB for instant connection
without professional grade devices, or with insufficient
to soft clients used for video conferencing.
bandwidth, can present a further issue when it comes
“The tweeter makes the high frequency ‘s’ noises
jump out at you right away because you have the right
“It is a full end-to-end product,” said Nick
part to accentuate that part of the frequency spectrum.
Pemberton,
market
development
The mid-sub drives the lower frequencies and fills the
Sennheiser UK’s professional systems division.
manager
for
to audio quality in videoconferencing.
“Many
multipoint
conferencing
technologies
will resort to the lowest common denominator for
room. When you drive so much sound coming out of
“That includes a mic hub, SL mic cable which works
the speaker the echo canceller has to work a lot harder.”
with all smart phones and devices, IOS dialing and
“Mobile technology, even if it is not on the move,
Root explained that combining UC systems with the
no driver upload or admin requirements for instant
can limit the fidelity for the entire conference. Keeping
integration to the soft client.”
this in mind and watching how this trend is evolving
traditional desktop phone made sense for Revolabs’
bandwidth,” O’Connor explained.
It can integrate Sennheiser radio mics, ADN-W
is key for our industry. Audio electronics cannot make
“A lot of our early customers that are Fortune
discussion systems as well as be controlled via IOS
up for losses in bandwidth but Tesira can help ensure
100-sized players companies that have adopted UC in
devices and large-scale media control systems such as
that the system reproducing any audio coming into or
customers.
>
>
TECHNOLOGY
| Conferencing peripherals (audio)
[L-R] Revolabs FLX UC 1500,
Sennheiserr TeamConnect,
Biampp’s Tesira family
going out of the room in which it is installed is at its
microphones, you can now cover a 20x34 sized
best from an audio fidelity standpoint.”
room. The AEC has the ability to detect the size of the
“There are limits to what can be made up for
room or stated another way the reverb of the space.
with the electronics. That being said, Tesira does
>
Pemberton outlined TeamConnect’s abilities in this
situation.
paints,” he said.
The algorithm dynamically adjusts for the room size
provide
“The TeamConnect SL mic cable allows mobile-to-
so you will never have echo issues. Other products
high
mobile communication and makes use of the AEC,” he
that do not do this exhibit a sound after the remote
speech detection and various other innovations
said.
person speaks, it has been described as a “barking dog”
that can combat a number of acoustic challenges
sound.”
and problems.”
“In addition, we can apply separate processing
to deal with EQ and dynamic differences, and by
integrating mobile device connection it provides
redundancy when all else fails.”
Now that videoconferencing has moved beyond
Pemberton said that TeamConnect uses a variable
‘noise reduction’ algorithm to assist in this situation.
enhancement
pass
filtering,
for
noise
automixing,
reduction,
equalisation,
“Our Tesira platform is highly scalable up to sizes that
are likely far beyond typical for videoconferencing.”
“It also uses advanced gating, EQ, level and
Desktop-based UC is here to stay. Going into the
AEC methods, to help deal with these issues. Most
future, Root predicts the market for peripherals
dedicated UC systems bought and installed in a
importantly,
targeting audio quality will continue to evolve and
small number of purpose built areas, less thought
microphones have been optimised for in and on table
is sometimes given to the acoustics of areas where
meeting room applications and therefore are focused
videoconferencing goes on. Any audio peripheral or
on speech intelligibility.”
the
Sennheiser
SpeechLine
series
thrive.
“We will continue to see more and more devices that
are targeting the PC-based architectures,” he said.
supporting system must also be able to cater for the
TeamConnect can handle eight microphones with
“We will see more BlueTooth in these systems too so
flexible nature of UC systems that can be deployed
AEC for up to 16 people. If ADN-W is integrated this
you don’t have to use wires to connect up and cameras
easily, including different sizes of rooms and varying
can be upped to hundreds of mics.
with USB interfaces on them.
numbers of participants.
“The UC 500 and UC 1000 have four microphones
for a 20ft of pickup,” Root explained.
“The UC1500 adds two additional extension
Biamp’s O’Conner explained that ideally acoustic
problems should be solved acoustically.
“Some of the new Wi-Fi standards are coming out
with super-high frequency 60GH – that will enable
“Asking the audio system to solve bad acoustics is a
bit like asking an artist to paint with poorly pigmented
connectivity within the room of all the peripherals
using those frequencies.”
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GLOBAL SOLUTIONS
| AV solutions from around the world
This month global solutions kicks off with a look at an audio and lighting installation
at Europe’s biggest theme park before continuing an AV installation world trip.
MOIPARK Istanbul - Europe’s biggest theme park
Turkey – Europe’s largest indoor
to be mobile using Wi-Fi, with
theme park MOIPARK has opened
changes in real time.
at the Mall of Istanbul.
The QSC Q-SYS system was
Integrator Asimetrik designed
used for this task. The venue was
and installed the whole 12,000
split into two different system
m2 indoor area’s general sound
rooms and racks, and each two
system.
loudspeakers
rooms had a dedicated I/O frame
QSC
were chosen for the task and
for sound management. Alcorn
245 were installed in artificial
McBride V 16 Pro Show Controller
‘Rockwork’ rocks.
equipment was used for sound and
The client required dedicated
light synchronisation. At each ride,
zone controls at each ride, and
when the sequence is initiated,
synchronisation of sound and light
synchronised pre-recorded sound
array speakers and subwoofers are
numerous music and lighting
without any interruption around
systems when they are triggered.
and lighting shows begin.
placed on and around the stage to
scenarios in the huge indoor
the clock.
distribute sound powerfully and
area that are synchronous, with
the park can be monitored and
Visitors can dance on the
The client wanted to control each
zone’s
volume,
equally.
All the systems in
mute/unmute
interactive dance floor – the first
equal SPL, with high intelligibility
managed from one point easily
and additional features from one
of its type in Turkey - with random
In total Asimetrik created 22
all around park. With a backup
with a graphical user interface
interface, and that interface had
lighting tricks. QSC active line
different zones for 22 rides with
system the QSC System can run
created by Asimetrik.
Audio overhaul at Shakespeare Street
L-Acoustics powers up
Eindhoven music venue
UK
–
has
worked
Integrator
PolarAudio
Roche
with
AV
distributor
to
install
a
system
conferencing
A wireless beyerdynamic Quinta
system,
comprising
a
Quinta
CU Central Control Unit and 19
–
Frits
The
Philips
which were configured cardioid,
to
avoid
slap-back
conferencing,
controlled
by
Audia
Audio
FLEX digital audio platform, were
C12
PNC
Subwoofer
AudioSonic kits out Cinema 8
echoes
speakers,
installed Fohhn speaker systems
AT-50
exterior redesign.
The system is driven via LA8
in four Dolby Atmos cinema
Fohhn D-4.1200 power
amplifiers, while a Dolby Lake
halls at Cinema 8 in Schöftland,
amps, six Fohhn PS-9
LM44 processor was chosen for
Switzerland.
subwoofers, more than
system. The 22-box, two-way,
control.
L/R KARA system was installed,
The
The
centre
complemented by eight two-
philharmonic
way
often
orchestras
hosts
and
loudspeakers.
soloists as well as contemporary
Low end reinforcement came
artists and welcomes more than
courtesy of SB18 subwoofers,
160,000 guests each year.
XT
coaxial
72 | Jan/Feb 2015
Biamp’s
installed.
Switzerland – AudioSonic has
KARA
210
installed alongside a Cornered
from the sub-low frequencies
L-Acoustics’
MPR
units,
from the rear side of the stage.
on
ten
Microphone
Eindhoven upgraded its audio
based
boardroom,
Revoluto
system after a full interior and
Sales All designed a system
smaller
IC-8 line array loudspeakers were
powered by MC2 T-500 amplifier.
Netherlands
a
designed for video and tele-
Two Renkus Heinz ICONYX
Muziekgebouw
conferencing requirements.
In
at
Nottingham Trent University.
The
Quinta MU31 microphone units,
was chosen for the Courtroom’s
includes
complex
restaurants,
bars,
a
hotel,
a
40
30
Fohhn
speakers,
Fohhn
20
D-4.750
power amps, 12 Fohhn
bowling alley, an open air cinema
AS-40 subwoofers, 24 Fohhn AT-
GmbH
and four movie theatres.
35 speakers and 44 Fohhn CS-10
the room acoustics as well as
ceiling speakers.
the
AudioSonic
installed
130
Fohhn Linea LX-100 line source
Hanno Ziesche of AudioSonic
was
responsible
conceptualisation
of
for
the
loudspeaker system.
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