Fresh from the recent acquisition of Cambridge Sound Management at the end of last year, the prolific American manufacturer of networked AV solutions, Biamp Systems, brought out a host of new technology at the show in Amsterdam.
Chris Fitzsimmons, Product Manager at Biamp Systems, gave us a panorama of the new products. “We’ve always been involved in conferencing and sound reinforcement,” Fitzsimmons tells us, “but the message from Biamp now is about offering a broad range of different solutions for different parts of the business. Stepping down in scale, we go into large presentation rooms or lecture theatres with the Tesira Server-IO, the big 4-DSP network server, and now we have some new amplifiers to accompany it. Plus, we are presenting an innovative technology that uses audience members’ smartphones to replace awkward, pass-around wireless microphones. Then, moving further down in scale to conferencing applications, we have a whole raft of new things. In particular, there are the new ceiling speakers especially for conferencing and new beam tracking microphones”.
Tesira 1200.1 and Tesira 1200.2
These are the newest members of the flagship Tesira platform. They are two AVB/TSN-enabled, digital networked, four-channel amplifiers. “The new amplifiers are very, very flexible,” explains Fitzsimmons. “We use what we call a 100% asymmetric configuration. This chassis includes a powerbank capable of delivering 1200 W, and that power can be distributed across the four channels in any combination: 100+100+100+900 W, or even 1+1+1+1197 W… there are no limitations. This is all configured through software”.
The network is also completely configurable: the user can use two redundant mixed networks, he can put media and control data traffic on separate networks, or he can even bring media and control traffic on one and daisy-chain down the rack to multiple amplifiers. “We only have two models of these amplifiers,” adds Fitzsimmons, “but between these two models we cover about eight different traditional amplifier models, thanks to the flexible output configurations of 1200 W or 2400 W over four channels each”.
“What often occurs in a panel discussion or a lecture,” continues Fitzsimmons, “is when a question is invited from the audience, someone puts his hand up and then some staff member has to locate a wireless mic and bring it to that audience member”. Instead, Biamp offers a free app which is paired with a moderator app, so that the members of the audience can simply push to request the floor for a question, each on his own phone and, when called upon, can use his mobile phone to speak through the PA system.
“There is a piece of hardware, a customised computer with a standard Phoenix audio output, which connects to the DSP. It also has a USB audio output for archive recording, plus an HDMI video output for monitoring. It is a much simpler way of engaging with an audience than having a roving wireless mic. Also, the audience members can send questions using text, for anonymous questions or comments from which the moderator can choose”, adds the manager.
desono ceiling speakers
“These are the first loudspeakers that Biamp has ever made,” says Fitzsimmons, “so it’s an exciting moment for us. It is not a big surprise that we have started making speakers, but we’ve tried to approach it with our usual philosophy, of making them a bit different and well thought out. They’re nice looking, I think, too!”
Biamp changed also the related amplifier: “Last year we presented a Power-over-Ethernet amplifier and now we have changed it so that it can screw directly onto the speaker. This way, the installer can outfit an entire conference room installation using Biamp products, and run only Cat5 cable everywhere, without additional cabling”, explains Fitzsimmons.
Parlé beam tracking microphones
The new Parlé models feature four 90-degree tracking zones delivering dynamic, 360° room coverage, and each microphone uses just one channel of acoustic echo cancelation (AEC) for a more efficient use of processing resources than conventional beam forming models. Installations requiring two microphones can add an additional satellite microphone to either the ceiling or tabletop model by connecting it to the primary microphone’s processing unit.
Said Fitzsimmons, “Our TCM-1 is already very successful, with its beam tracking technology which follows an orator around the room, but not everyone likes the aesthetics of having something suspended from the ceiling. So here at ISE we are showing the engineering prototypes of a new in-ceiling model, TCM-X, and table-top version, TTM-X. Again, these feature our simplified installation method of having only a Cat5 cable run. It is very small and discreet, fitting into the palm of your hand.”
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