By Julius Grafton
Xirium Pro is a Neutrik system for transmitting studio quality audio without cables. It is entirely designed for live events where you need delay towers and remote audio at full bandwidth, high quality and with virtually no latency.
Until now you could attempt this on a 2.4GB or UHF wireless system, but you’d really notice the quality due to companding (compressing then expanding) and you’d sweat on the frequency remaining stable.
Neutrik have gone where many fear to tread, the 5Ghz spectrum, heartland of the Industrial, Scientific and Medical users, otherwise known as the ISM band. They say they’ve achieved the objective: to make Xirium stable. They developed a proprietary protocol, that is tolerant of lost data packages and it can reconstruct some lost signal.
Importantly the units also have a 2.4Ghz channel wholly for control, so if you did lose the audio channel you can quickly switch frequency or go from stereo to XROC mode – which stands for “Extreme Ruggedized One Channel“. In XROC mode, only one audio signal is available for each RF channel.
Neutrik say: “The connection between the devices is much more stable in XROC mode, because external influences do not interfere with the RF signal between the XIRIUM PRO devices as much. External influences include strong reflections of the RF signal in a room or from buildings, or external signals.”
It is a wholly modular system, comprising a stereo transmitter, a receiver, and a host of components such as antennas, mountings, and input modules. It will accept analogue balanced audio or AES or a stereo feed from Dante. Note stereo only, not a full Dante stream!
At the very least you need one stereo transmitter at your mix position, a receiver over at your speaker system, with each of these installed with an input or output card.
You can then position them up to 1.2km apart, so long as you have line of sight. If you have to go around an obstruction, you need a repeater that sits between the two points.
Note that using a repeater with the transmitter and receiver in line of sight gives redundancy.
Everything is battery powered with 8 – 10 hours life at full charge. They can all be recharged as you go, so if you have mains you would have them connected.
Each unit is IP 54 rated, which when used in an upright position (with the connectors at the bottom) should happily survive your average downpour.
You monitor the performance on an iPad APP with a screen showing overall system status. Continual monitoring is a good idea as there is currently no email or sms alert function if things go south.
People I trust report the audio performance is as good as via wire, having had repeated A/B blind tests.
This is the kind of tool that every audio firm needs to have a bunch of, for those days when running a wire is either difficult or impossible. And those days are many!
Model: Xirium Pro
Price: About $7,000 inc gst for a transmitter, receiver, analog input/output modules & antennas.
Product Info: www.neutrik.com
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