Peer review - Revoluto

Revoluto is beyerdynamic’s innovative new microphone array solution for voice conferences and congress systems. Dave Thomson from Avolution put it through his paces.

I may be wrong but I think it must be many decades since the last major breakthrough in microphone technology was developed. There have been huge refinements to these different microphone technologies over the last 40 years, but not in the bringing forward of new ways to “collect sound”.

Make no mistake fellow AV’ers this is a major step forward in providing a microphone ideally suited to many of our requirements.

In use

I have tested the MPR110 which is a stand alone microphone, no switches or lights, it simply plugs into a mixer (or better still a codec) and it works!! Physically it measures about 300mm across, 90mm front to back and only 80mm high and is constructed in metal with the Nextel finish the company uses on its conferencing products.

Use this stand-alone microphone on a video or tele conference, it’s excellent. Because of its pick up pattern, the talker can be seated, or standing leaning against the table or even standing or leaning behind his/her seat. Unlike using say a gooseneck mic, the speaker can look left or right, continue to talk and not lose level. This microphone, like a boundary microphone, does not exhibit much in the way of proximity effect, however it is a directional mic! Audio quality is excellent.

Beyerdynamic calls the pick up pattern a “corridor”. Basically that means the microphone picks up equally over a wider area than a conventional mic and vertically about 50 degrees up from the microphone. However outside the optimum pick up area, the off axis loss of signal is more like a hypercardioid microphone.

Another major use for this technology is in congress systems and Beyerdynamic has not been slow in introducing numerous wired versions. We haven’t the space to cover all the options, however suffice to know that there are three variants, from a basic (as beyerdynamic call it) “Basis” System, next up to the “Standard” system which introduces five voting buttons and potential for use in Translation systems. The top “Graphical” system has in addition to the Standards features, ten multifunction keys (which can even allow peer to peer private discussions) plus voting. All have headphone outputs, for recording or hard of hearing devices.

The units have stylish LEDS indicating a particular station is in use and also if the speaker is out of range! There are of course versions with and without built-in speakers. There is software available too for Stenographers and for remote control.

More to come

An interesting variation comes from German specialist furniture maker, Rosenthal who worked with Beyerdynamic to develop a “pop up” “in table” version with inputs and outputs required for say, a meeting room table – including AC, VGA, and LAN. As yet these particular units do not have speakers built in

In early 2009 we can expect a wireless conference version. I have been privy to getting sight of this version and its very similar sized to the MPR110 that I have been testing, except of course it is the Revoluto version of the MCWD50 station. Despite being six months away from release, one Local Authority I work with has already placed its order. Need I say more!

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