Interview with Michael Altemark, Portfolio Manager at Sennheiser Business Communication
Perfect IT integration: The Multi-Channel Receiver
How and when did the idea of developing a product solution like the Multi-Channel Receiver come up?
The idea for a Multi-Channel Receiver already existed when the SpeechLine Digital Wireless series was introduced. We asked ourselves what such a receiver would have to look like to make the daily work of the responsible staff on a campus easier. One thing turned out quickly: In many cases, this support is handled by the IT departments. Obviously, a network specialist is not necessarily also an expert in wireless microphones and audio transmission. Therefore, with the SpeechLine Multi-Channel Receiver, we have developed an audio product that can be easily integrated into the IT world and is well understood.
How does the Multi-Channel Receiver make the life of IT managers easier?
The Multi-Channel Receiver is basically the hardware that needs to be integrated into the network. There is no need to create space in any rack, the receiver is simply mounted on the wall – just like a router. A single network cable is enough to use the full range of functions. Power is supplied via Power over Ethernet (PoE). The audio signal can be picked up easily via Dante. We also offer a solution in terms of security, supporting the IEEE802.1x standard on the network side and AES 256 encryption between transmitter and receiver. As soon as the Multi-Channel Receiver is connected, everything else can be conveniently set and monitored using the Sennheiser Control Cockpit on a notebook or tablet, even centralized if desired. No audio or RF expert is required to use SpeechLine Digital Wireless securely. Automatic frequency and interference management means that no one has to deal with frequencies anymore. The audio signal is also adapted to the respective speaker with the help of automatic Audio Level Management. This ensures that every word reaches the listener. The Multi-Channel Receiver also offers the option of automatically mixing all audio channels together to a single audio output. This sum signal is available digitally via Dante, but also in analogue form. This further simplifies integration into an existing infrastructure.
What is a typical application where the Multi-Channel Receiver is used by the customer?
A good example is the classic lecture hall scenario. Different people give presentations all day long in the same lecture hall. While one person likes to talk with a hand microphone, another person prefers to use a headset. A SL MCR 2 DW, the 2-channel version of the SpeechLine Multi-Channel Receiver, is mounted on the wall. The hand microphone is connected to the first channel and the bodypack transmitter for the headset is connected to the second. The Multi-Channel Receiver is connected to the loudspeaker system of the lecture hall via Dante. Thanks to the combination of the equalizer integrated per channel in the Multi-Channel Receiver with the automatic Audio Level Management and the Automixer integrated in the Multi-Channel Receiver, no additional DSP or mixer is needed.
The Multi-Channel Receiver is part of the SpeechLine Digital Wireless microphone system. What role does the product play in the context of this product family?
The introduction of the Multi-Channel Receiver completes the product family and we can offer the right solution for almost any application. In fixed installations, up to four channels can be integrated very easily with just one device. At the same time, a mobile rack can be set up with the SL Rack Receiver to temporarily cover an additional demand for microphones in a room. For me, the Multi-Channel Receiver is the icing on the cake, making the already very successful SpeechLine Digital Wireless family even better.
The Sennheiser Control Cockpit is the heart of the SpeechLine Digital Wireless microphone system. What exactly is the software’s function – also in relation to the Multi-Channel Receiver?
The Sennheiser Control Cockpit is the control center of SpeechLine Digital Wireless and especially of the Multi-Channel Receiver. We have deliberately omitted control elements on the receiver to prevent unwanted changes to the settings in the rooms. Everything can be set and, above all, monitored very conveniently from the office via the Sennheiser Control Cockpit. The best example is the daily check of the batteries in the microphones. Instead of going from room to room and checking the batteries and replacing them if necessary, a glance into the Sennheiser Control Cockpit is enough to get an overview. Should it then be necessary to change a battery, this task can be easily delegated to a colleague who is nearby anyway. This gives you more time to do the important things, such as having yourself a good cup of coffee! 😉 The Sennheiser Control Cockpit also offers the option of sending alerts to staff via e-mail, for example if a transmitter is removed from the room because the professor forgot to return it.
The Multi-Channel Receiver was recently presented to the public for the first time at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) in Amsterdam. What was it about the product that impressed and delighted visitors to the Sennheiser stand most?
No doubt: the simplicity with which the Multi-Channel Receiver solves everyday problems! One visitor who has been using SpeechLine Digital Wireless for some time was particularly enthusiastic. He said that the Multi-Channel Receiver is exactly the product he was waiting for. He can now equip a room where there is no space for a rack and no more cables can be run, so he had no possibility to use an SL Rack Receiver so far. However, network sockets are sufficiently available. Four SpeechLine Digital Wireless microphones are now combined with the Multi-Channel Receiver in this room. At the same time, he can integrate them into his existing infrastructure around the Sennheiser Control Cockpit.
Sennheiser’s slogan at ISE was “campus-wide audio for the university and corporate campus”. What exactly can customers imagine?
With SpeechLine Digital Wireless, TeamConnect Ceiling 2 and MobileConnect, Sennheiser can cover all applications required on a campus, from spoken word to assistive listening. The products form a complete system in which all microphones can be centrally adjusted and monitored via the free Sennheiser Control Cockpit. Such a range of functions from a single source is unique and offers our customers a high degree of reliability and flexibility.
Can you give us an outlook on what customers can expect from Sennheiser in terms of optimizing IT workflows in the coming years?
We will continue to optimize our solutions so that they make digital workflows ever easier. Of course, we can only achieve this in close cooperation with our customers. That‘s why we welcome any kind of remarks!
Thank you very much for the interesting insights, Michael!
More about the Multi-Channel Receiver: www.sennheiser.com/sl-mcr-dw