Cambridge Consultants has launched a reference design for low cost, high performance radio microphones using the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) platform.
According to the technology design and development firm, by taking advantage of DECT, its new design delivers higher audio quality with no interference and quadruples the range of existing radio mic technology. The firm adds that it also lowers BOM costs to less than $12 for each microphone. The new microphone design deploys Cambridge Consultants' DECT based Salix audio distribution platform, pictured, delivering high quality 15kHz audio bandwidth with automated set up and frequency management. DECT has a dedicated license exempt band in most countries and is designed to ensure the new microphone platform has high spectral density, allowing up to 40 mics in a single space without mutual interference or spurious effects. It also extends the range of radio mics up to 100m without requiring line of sight to the transmitter, as opposed to existing technologies that typically allow a range of 25m. According to Cambridge Consultants, DECT's automatic frequency band allocation ensures that the new microphones can be paired with the receiver(s) with the press of a button. Tim Whittaker, system architect in Cambridge Consultants' Wireless Division, said: "Many users of radio microphones are faced with significant frequency management issues that are difficult to solve with limited budgets or inhouse expertise. Consequently, we have designed out new platform specifically to enable 'fit and forget' deployment – saving set up time and cost, whilst at the same time delivering significantly improved audio performance and range. "DECT is a rock solid radio technology which is why we consider it ideal for installed audio, where quality and stability are the key criteria. The fact that DECT is a well established technology also means that chips are made in huge volumes and are widely available, which enables the development of extremely low cost transmitters and receivers." The microphone system reference design is available as a hardware documentation package including photoplot and assembly information, with executable software for both transmitter and receiver ends. Alternatively, source code licensing is available for custom design. It comprises a transmitter board of suitable size to fit within a handheld microphone or belt pack transmitter and a receiver board with diversity antennas. Pairing a microphone to a receiver is by a one-step user process. A modern high quality, low latency music codec delivers audio with a 15kHz bandwidth.