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Sennheiser’s guidePORT Technology Takes Musical Instrument Museum’s Visitor Experience to Next Level, while Delivering Pristine Audio Quality

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OLD LYME, Conn. – August 31, 2010 – The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), which opened to the public in Phoenix, AZ last April, is an astonishingly rich cultural experience that features over 75,000 square feet of exhibit space and over 10,000 instruments from around the world. When the project began over three years ago, establishing an integrated, multi-sensory learning experience for visitors was among the museum’s most important and challenging goals. MIM chose Sennheiser’s guidePORT system to help make its diverse and exotic instrument exhibits come to life.

MIM is divided into ten sections, including five “Geographical Galleries”: Africa and Middle East, Asia and Oceana, Europe, Latin America and United States/Canada. Audio is sent over 300 wireless transmitter ‘zones,’ from strategically placed bases throughout the museum. Each zone functions essentially as its own radio broadcast, sending audio to accompany live exhibits and an array of multi-media–such as a video loop demonstrating how an instrument is created or played.

MIM’s guidePORT infrastructure is able to accommodate 1,800 simultaneous visitors, each with his or her own receiver. As visitors enter the MIM, they are provided with a guidePORT wireless receiver and the rest is automatic; there are no buttons to push or other actions required. As visitors move throughout the museum, guidePORT detects their position and introduces the appropriate ‘soundtrack’ to accompany whichever ex-hibit they are viewing. Audio seamlessly fades in and out according to their location within the facility.

This advanced functionality is made possible by an identifier that is built into each receiver, enabling it to ascertain the physical location of the user. Using a combination of RFID and magnetic field-based technology, the receiver tracks changes in location and automatically switches radio frequencies depending on which channel is being transmitted in the immediate vicinity. guidePORT receivers have a range of action between approximately five and ten feet, and the fade in/fade out capability is an automatic feature built into the system.

Robert Genereux, guidePORT business director of Sennheiser, commented: “MIM chose Sennheiser because of the tremendous success we have had in many other museum installations around the world. While this was a project of unprecedented scale, our guidePORT technology is proven and reliable, and most importantly, is able to deliver a superior sound experience.”

Bob Ulrich, MIM founder and board chairman, added: “Sennheiser’s guidePORT system plays an integral role in our ability to deliver a seamless learning experience to visitors. Not only is the system extremely user friendly and technically impressive, it is also by far the best sounding solution we were able to audition. guidePORT plays a very tangible role in making the visitor experience more valuable and memorable. ”

Sennheiser’s guidePORT system ensures that pristine, 16-bit audio is delivered continuously, without dropouts or interference. Additionally, audio is delivered concurrently for each visitor no matter what frequency they are on, so museum attendees are able to experience the emotional nuances of the music at the same time. If there is an unexpected power outage, the system automatically continues from the same location once power is restored. For more information on guidePORT, please visit http://www.guideport.com.

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