In the event industry, the quality of the sound is crucial. Whether it’s concerts, conferences, theatre performances or sporting events, clear and powerful sound is crucial to the overall experience of the participants. In this context, wireless microphone systems play a central role. Sennheiser, as one of the manufacturers of audio technology, has taken wireless audio to the next level with its “Wireless Multi-Channel Audio Systems” (WMAS).
Sennheiser’s Wireless Multi-Channel Audio Systems” (WMAS)
The “Wireless Multi-Channel Audio Systems” (WMAS) is an innovative technology that promises to permanently change the way large events handle audio. Sennheiser is convinced that WMAS will define the future of wireless audio technology.
Applications of WMAS technology
The new technology is expected to improve wireless audio transmission, especially in multi-channel scenarios. This could be particularly useful for large events, theatres and broadcast studios where many audio channels are used. WMAS, a bi-directional wireless broadband technology, connects microphones, in-ear devices and remote controls in a single high-frequency broadband channel.
Differences from conventional wireless microphone systems
The difference between WMAS and currently used wireless microphone systems lies in their architecture. Compared to conventional systems based on narrowband solutions where a transmitter sends signals to a receiver, WMAS follows a cooperative approach. Many mobile devices can be connected to a central rack unit via radio.
Advantages of WMAS
WMAS brings a number of advantages. Firstly, it optimises the use of frequency resources, which is particularly relevant at a time when frequencies are becoming increasingly scarce for audio engineers. Secondly, WMAS simplifies installation for users, as conventional narrowband systems often require a complex technical setup in multi-channel scenarios.
Better control and resource management
In addition, WMAS enables better remote control of all equipment and more efficient allocation of the required resources to each unit. This allows sound engineers to better plan resources and use the frequency spectrum more efficiently.
Solving the problem of HF fading
Another big plus of WMAS is its ability to combat the problem of HF fading, which is the natural loss of signal on stages. HF fading can lead to signal losses, so-called dropouts, which make the work of sound engineers much more difficult. WMAS plans to solve this problem by making the most of the diversity of a wideband channel.
Integrating devices and improving audio quality
WMAS also makes it possible to combine microphone transmitters and low-latency digital in-ear monitoring into a single device. Sound engineers can also individually adjust and optimise audio quality, latency, range and resource allocation for each audio transmission.
Why wireless microphones are indispensible
In the event industry, wireless microphone systems have established themselves as indispensable tools. Their advantages are obvious: they offer freedom of movement, flexibility and a smooth flow of events of all kinds. From conferences and lectures to theatre performances and concerts to sporting events and television shows – they are used wherever good intelligibility and clear sound are required.
Wireless microphones allow speakers or performers to move freely on stage without being restricted by cables. This not only increases comfort for the users, but also offers creative possibilities. For example, dynamic choreographies or interactions with the audience can be performed without the risk of tripping over cables.
Wireless microphone systems: technology and application
When choosing the right wireless microphone system, several aspects should be considered. The range, the sound quality, the robustness of the system as well as the type and duration of the planned use play a decisive role. There are various systems that differ in their mode of operation and their areas of application.
Simple systems often work with VHF (Very High Frequency) or UHF (Ultra High Frequency) bands. They are relatively inexpensive and suitable for smaller events or rooms. However, they have a limited range and may interfere with strong other radio sources.
Higher-quality systems, on the other hand, often rely on digital transmission. These microphones operate in different frequency bands, which allows greater flexibility in the choice of transmission frequency and better immunity to interference. They also often offer higher sound quality and are more suitable for larger events or professional applications.
There are also systems specifically designed for use in certain situations, such as lavalier microphones for lectures, headset microphones for theatre performances or handheld microphones for concerts.
Good planning and knowledge of the various microphone systems are therefore essential to ensure the best possible sound quality and smooth running of any event.
Choosing the right wireless microphone systems
The choice of the right microphone system depends largely on the area of application. For events in smaller rooms or in a private setting, simple systems are often sufficient. For larger events or professional applications, however, high-quality and appropriately powerful systems should be used.
In addition to technical aspects such as frequency bandwidth, sound quality and range, practical aspects also play an important role in the selection process. Battery life, robustness of the device and wearing comfort are factors that are often underestimated but can have a significant impact on the user experience and thus on the overall quality of the event.
What are challenges of wireless microphone systems?
Wireless microphone systems have many advantages, including flexibility, freedom of movement and the ability to avoid cable clutter. However, they also present some challenges, including:
- Frequency interference and coordination: Wireless microphones use radio frequencies to transmit signals. These frequencies can be crowded and there may be interference with other equipment operating on the same or adjacent frequencies. Proper selection and coordination of frequencies is critical to avoid interference and ensure clear signal transmission.
- Limited battery life: Wireless microphones are usually powered by batteries or rechargeable batteries. These can be exhausted during a performance or presentation, causing unwanted interruptions.
- Range limitations: The range of wireless microphone systems can be limited by several factors, including the power of the transmitter, the sensitivity of the receiver, and the presence of obstacles or interference.
- Signal loss and RF fading: RF fading refers to the change in amplitude of a received radio signal over time due to reflections, refraction or absorption by buildings, people and other objects. This can lead to an unreliable signal or even signal loss.
- Complexity of setup and management: Especially in multi-channel scenarios, the setup and management of wireless microphone systems can be complex and requires expertise and experience.
- Complexity of set-up and management: Especially in multi-channel scenarios, the set-up and management of wireless microphone systems can be complex and requires expertise and experience.
- Regulatory and licensing issues: The use of radio frequencies is subject to strict regulations in many countries and may require compliance with certain standards and the acquisition of licences.
These challenges can be mitigated or overcome through advanced technologies, better planning and preparation, and experience and expertise. For example, digital wireless microphone systems can reduce many of the problems associated with interference and signal quality. Advances in battery technology can also improve battery life, and detailed frequency planning can help avoid interference and licensing issues.
What are dual-channel wireless microphone systems?
Dual-channel wireless microphone systems, often referred to as dual-channel microphone systems, are systems that allow two separate microphones to be connected to a single receiver.
Such a system typically consists of two transmitters (the microphones) and a receiver. Each transmitter is set to its own channel and the receiver is capable of receiving both channels simultaneously. The signals from the two channels are then processed separately so that they can be individually controlled and mixed.
Dual-channel wireless microphone systems are particularly useful in situations where multiple speakers or performers are performing simultaneously and independent control over each microphone’s audio signal is required. Examples include live concerts, theatre performances, lectures or discussions with multiple speakers.
It is important to note that although the receiver can receive both microphones simultaneously, the quality and reliability of the signal transmission depends on many factors, including the quality of the microphones and receiver, the distance between the microphones and the receiver, and the presence of obstacles or interference in the environment.
Wireless microphone systems: Your future in the event industry
Developments in wireless audio technology are advancing rapidly. New technologies such as digital signal processing, adaptive frequency hopping systems and improved battery technologies promise even better sound quality, greater reliability and longer operating times.
In addition, more and more smart functions are being integrated, such as automatic frequency selection and tuning, real-time sound optimisation and remote control options. This makes the operation of the systems increasingly simple and flexible, which will further facilitate the planning and execution of events.
Integration with other technologies, such as wireless monitoring systems or digital mixing consoles, is also becoming more seamless, opening up new possibilities for event design.