This month saw Sennheiser make its play for the mid-tier digital wireless market with the launch of Evolution Wireless Digital, a brand new product designed for use by those in need of high-end wireless audio performance, but who may not be expert in the field of RF and UHF technology.
Featuring an easy-to-use app-based workflow, Evolution Wireless Digital can be used in all manner of settings, ranging from small venues and theaters to schools and corporate events.
The central idea behind the product is simplicity, with the accompanying app enabling anyone to set up the wireless element of whatever event or application they are running. As Benny Franke, the man responsible for the software, says, “you don’t have to be the mechanic to drive the car”.
As part of the research process behind Evolution Wireless Digital, the company visited a number of people spanning a variety of disciplines to find out precisely what they would require from such a product.
“We saw theaters, schools, bands playing in small rooms, and all of these people shared the same thing – they were not interested in wireless setups,” Franke continues. “They didn’t know anything about it and they didn’t want to learn. The common response was that they just wanted something they had to switch on and that’s it. With the app we fulfil maybe 80-90% of the requirements for an entry-level user. We told the app developers what it needed to do, and they made it possible. We then let people try it and it became clear we were on the right track, and we never left the right track.”
So how does it work? The app is described by the firm as an engineer in your pocket, which guides the user through various set-ups. An intelligent set-up automatically creates strong wireless connections, with the user able to name the channels as they see fit. In addition, Bluetooth Low Energy allows for remote access to the system and makes syncing with the receiver very straightforward. The app also comes with tutorial videos presented by Franke.
Meanwhile, Evolution Wireless Digital transmitters have an input dynamic range of 134 dB - five times more than the usual 120 dB, meaning they can pick up everything from a ‘whisper to a jet engine’ at 50 yards’ distance, eliminating the need for a sensitivity setting on the transmitter.
The app also scans the environment for open frequencies. Featuring technology from Sennheiser’s high-end Digital 6000 and Digital 9000 series, the wireless microphone systems do not generate any significant intermodulation products, therefore providing more room in a given frequency window. Furthermore, it can simply set the wireless links at 600 kHz intervals without any frequency calculation so that it can fit in more frequencies than a standard mic system.
Though clearly targeted at the mid-tier of the market, Sennheiser’s product manager for Evolution Wireless Digital, Oliver Schmitz, tells Headliner that there is still plenty for seasoned professionals and users to get their teeth into.
“There are features that are beneficial for pro users, too,” he explains. “We gave it to pro users to see if the product was still cool for them, or if they thought it was a kids toy, but they were very much onboard. They liked it and some said the automation was awesome, and that they didn’t need manual setup anymore – if it does what I would have done manually anyway, and it does it every time and it works, then I’ll just stop doing it manually. It serves so many applications. We call it our audio Swiss army knife. It’s really diverse in covering the demands of users on all different levels.”
With a selection of handheld, instrument, lavalier, headmic, combo and base sets available, Sennheiser’s Evolution Wireless Digital is now shipping worldwide.