Audio Technica: Adventures on the RF Spectrum Frontier

We started seeing the Spectrapulse wireless conference system from Audio-Technica about four years ago. It was in some ways a radical way of thinking about the crowding in the wireless spectrum: let’s get out of the turbulence by climbing to altitude–metaphorically. Specifically to 6.35 gigahurtz which is where Spectrapulse centers up in its 6.1-6.6 range. Others tried to preserve a sense of normalcy by moving around onto less crowded spectrums, sharing with computers and phones; AT salesman Mark Donovan says those lifeboats are filling up (good turn of phrase there). img_0210.JPG

Meanwhile, AT quietly found customers for Spectrapulse, especially among people who wanted clarity and security and could live with a 75 foot range (expandable up to 300 with 4 transmitters). For some applications that’s not even a tradeoff: boardroom, courtroom, etc. The 128-bit AES encryption was good enough for the US Marshall’s training office in Arlington, VA and the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago–two Spectrapulse customers, Donovan says.

Here at Infocomm #IC915 you’ll see some nice refinements to the product line. The beefy, tabletop 101 transmitter now has a gooseneck compatible sibling (201) and a beltpack (301) that will take any lavalier or headset mic. img_0211.JPGI like the way they have heft and presence–as Donovan points out they work in boardrooms where the table itself cost six figures (and you’re not going to be drilling into it).

That’s not to say Spectrapulse is stratospherically expensive. Well it is if you want one channel. But AT claims that when you hit 5 channels the per channel cost is on a parity with the AT’s own 4000 and 5000 series, and average for a high end system.

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The editors of Sound & Video Contractor post live from InfoComm as the news happens. Check back several times a day for the latest industry news, reports from press conferences, and product introductions.

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