Shure is addressing the needs of the corporate AV Market and conferencing solutions with an impressive range of new products introduced at ISE 2016. The microphone manufacturer returned to Amsterdam’s RAI with several new products dedicated to the systems integration market and the unveiling of a completely new range of networkable conferencing microphones based on Dante technology.
The impressive Shure booth at ISE 2016 was purposed-designed to accommodate the company’s technology showcases and product launches. The main product news is the debut of a new networkable conferencing audio solution, Microflex Advance, designed to dramatically improve the audio quality for modern conferencing applications where pristine speech intelligibility is of utmost importance. The Dante-enabled solution perfectly fits with any room aesthetics, provides seamless integration and ease of use and flexibly adapts to any room configuration.
In addition, line extensions to a number of Shure systems are being shown for the first time at ISE and include two-channel versions of the Microflex Wireless System consisting of a new networked charging station and wireless access point transceiver for lower channel count applications; the new central control unit Shure DIS-CCU for both the Shure DIS discussion and the conference system, plus the introduction of a new feature license model, which simplifies the existing 17 feature licenses down to five; and a new bodypack-version for ULX-D Digital Wireless Systems featuring a LEMO3 connector.
ISE 2016 marked the world debut of a new networkable conferencing audio solution from Shure, designed to dramatically improve the audio quality for modern conferencing applications. Comprising high-quality networked ceiling and table array microphones, audio interfaces, intelligent mixing DSP and intuitive, browser-based control software, Microflex Advance draws on Shure’s extensive experience in microphone, audio networking and automatic mixing technology, and packages it in a discreet, architecturally unobtrusive design.
It is increasingly accepted that noisy workplaces are detrimental to conversation and concentration. When communication is taking place via microphones and loudspeakers, the words spoken are much more susceptible to misunderstanding if the environment at either end is noisy. As refined as modern microphone technology has become, it is essentially passive, cannot distinguish between wanted audio (a person speaking) and unwanted noise (fans, air conditioning, printers, etc.) and will reproduce everything indiscriminately, to the detriment of intelligibility.
Microflex Advance tackles these issues with innovative new technology, including software control of the array microphones’ pickup patterns to optimize audio capture from speakers and presenters. Using Shure’s proprietary Steerable Coverage technology, the Microflex Advance ceiling array offers an adjustable pickup pattern with eight lobes that can be defined in three dimensions, and can be flush-mounted with ceiling tiles or suspended to avoid fans or ceiling-mount projectors.
The Microflex Advance table array microphones capture up to four channels of audio from around a desk or conference table and offers an innovative, wholly new 'toroid' (ring-shaped) pickup pattern to reject unwanted sound from overhead, such as ceiling fan or air conditioning noise. Signals from the array microphones are auto-mixed by the built-in Shure proprietary IntelliMix DSP providing seamless activation of the best microphone while attenuating microphones that are not being addressed.
Furthermore all Microflex Advance audio signals can be interfaced with a Dante audio network via single standard Ethernet cable connection and using simple-to-use, browser-based software controls connectivity and monitoring. Preset configurations are included for typical operations, and the system is designed to integrate with third-party audio control systems, such as those from Crestron, AMX or QSC.
“Microflex Advance is unique because it combines the deep roots of expertise Shure has demonstrated in both the acoustic and digital signal processing domains,” says Rob Klegon, Associate Manager, Global Product Management at Shure. “However, in building this system we knew we had to go beyond pure technical innovation to meet the needs of today’s corporate environments. As a result, each feature of Microflex Advance is engineered to provide best-in-class performance, from the acoustics and digital signal processing, to the usability and aesthetic design.”
New solutions at ISE 2016
At ISE 2016, Shure introduced two-channel, physically compact versions of the charging and routing hardware in the Microflex Wireless range. Launched in 2013, the versatile and scalable MXW Systems range of wireless microphones and supporting hardware now expands with the MXWAPT2 — a two-channel version of the Access Point Transceiver, or wireless mic routing hardware — and the MXWNCS2, a two-channel version of the existing four- and eight-channel networked charging stations.
The compact dimensions of both units extend the use of Microflex Wireless to even smaller-scale installations than before, for example in compact strategy planning and ‘huddle’ rooms. The more compact hardware is also suitable for environments where only a few microphones are required, such as university lecture halls and corporate training facilities. The Dante-enabled units are still networkable, and meet the demand for large-scale central monitoring and control, as on networked campuses or as a part of global corporate networks.
The APT2 is a lightweight, discreet design with a paintable cover. Compatible with MXW1, MXW2 and MXW6 wireless transmitters, the NCS2 features two charging docks which can easily be installed on a wall or podium using the included mount bracket. Networked connectivity allows remote battery status monitoring and one-touch transmitter linking to the MXWAPT2 Access Point Transceiver.
ISE 2016 also sees the introduction of version 4 firmware for Microflex Wireless. As well as making existing Microflex Wireless systems compatible with the new two-channel MXWAPT2 and MXWNCS2, the v4 update allows users to define a backup microphone operating on the same audio channel as a main microphone.
Shure also announced that it has joined the Cisco Solution Partner Program as a Solution Partner, allowing to quickly create and deploy solutions to enhance the capabilities, performance, and management of the network to capture value in the IoE.
The Cisco Solution Partner Program, unites Cisco with third-party independent hardware and software vendors to deliver integrated solutions to joint customers. As a Solution Partner, Shure offers a complementary product offering and has started to collaborate with Cisco to meet the needs of joint customers.