February 09, 2011

Wireless audio without interference

Shure’s upcoming Axient Wireless microphone system is claimed to be the first wireless system to both detect interference and automatically change frequencies to avoid interference.

“Uncertainty and volatility in the RF spectrum are the new reality for professional wireless users,” explained Sandy LaMantia, Shure's President and CEO. "They face increasing pressure to deliver interference-free performance even though conditions are more unpredictable than ever before. The Axient wireless system was designed from the outset to withstand interference from the analogue and digital sources that exist today and may exist in the future.”

The Axient system employs several new innovative technologies that work together to deliver interference-free audio at critical events, such as live broadcasts.

“Axient defines a new standard for control and confidence in applications with zero tolerance for failure,” added Erik Vaveris, Category Director for Wireless Products at Shure. “This is the first wireless microphone system that can detect interference and avoid it automatically. Today, when unexpected RF interference arises, an engineer is either stuck with dropouts or they can run a backup mic out to the performer. Axient makes that a thing of the past.”

Features include: Frequency Diversity, which transmits full-bandwidth audio on two separate frequencies to ensure seamless, uninterrupted audio for mission-critical channels, even in the face of direct RF interference; ShowLink remote control, which enables the user to make real-time remote adjustments from the receiver or a laptop, of transmitter settings like audio gain while the microphone is live; Axient Spectrum Manager, which constantly scans the RF environment, performs frequency compatibility calculations to assign clear frequencies to each wireless transmitter, and deploys backup frequencies automatically; Smart lithium-ion rechargeable battery packs; and Wireless Workbench 6, a new software interface that enables users to monitor and control the entire system.

“The Spectrum Manager functions as an air traffic controller for the system,” said Vaveris. “When the receiver’s Interference Detection & Avoidance feature senses interference, the Spectrum Manager assigns a new frequency that it knows is clean. The frequency is deployed to the transmitter by the ShowLink wireless access point, and the transmitter and receiver execute a synchronized frequency change in a matter of milliseconds, making it virtually undetectable. And with Frequency Diversity enabled, there is no audible trace whatsoever.”

The Axient Wireless microphone system will be available in mid-2011.

By David Fox


  1. Looks good. Will it be portable though? The interference problem is becoming serious at most conferences I go to.

  2. It is intended for event use, either for the venue itself or a broadcaster - it isn't for on-camera use. For interference detection and avoidance it looks like you would need at least two rack units (a dual channel receiver and the spectrum manager). You can add rack units for other functions and/or use software on a laptop.