The Sennheiser XSW-D fitted to a DSLR in lavalier mic mode
Sennheiser made its first ever appearance at the BSC (British Society of Cinematographers) expo at the beginning of February to highlight products aimed at the single shooter and professional audio for video markets. These included the new XSWireless Digital series, the SK 6212 mini transmitter and the AMBEO 360-degrees virtual reality (VR) microphone.
The XSWireless Digital (XSW-D) range was among several new introductions made by Sennheiser at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show held in California during January. While the main focus there was on the XSW-D's potential in the MI (musical instrument) and live performance sectors, the system was also designed with videographers, journalists, and independent filmmakers in mind.
This aspect was brought to the fore at BSC expo, held at Battersea Evolution in London from 1 to 2 February. The show is primarily centred round cinematography equipment and technology, including cameras, lenses and grip hardware such as dollies and Steadicams. Until this year the only audio company to be represented was Aaton Digital, co-exhibiting with its owner, Transvideo.
Sennheiser's UK marketing manager, David Atkinson, said he and colleagues had walked the BSC show last year and were really positive about it. "Single shooters and professional customers all use mics so coming to this exhibition made sense," he explained. "Talking to the people working the cameras was the obvious thing to do." He added that Sennheiser would not be exhibiting at BVE (Broadcast Video Expo) later in the month.
The XSW-D series is sub-divided into four systems with specific applications and can be used with digital SLRs and dedicated video cameras. Each is based on a 2.4GHz wireless connection that can be used anywhere in the world and does not require a licence. The different options are: the XSW-D portable lavalier set, comprising a ME 2-II clip mic, transmitter, receiver, belt clip, cold shoe mount, connection cabling and USB-A to USB-C charging cable; the XSW-D portable interview set, including a transmitter for plugging into a dynamic handheld mic (not included) through a XLR-3F socket, plus a receiver, mounts and cables; the XSW-D portable ENG set, with ME 2-II mic, two transmitters (one for the clip mic, one for a handheld), cables and mounts; and the XSW-D portable base set, featuring a transmitter and receiver along with the mounts and cables.
There is also a mix-and-match option that allows users to assemble their own set-up from individual XSW-D devices and accessories.
For higher end broadcast and theatre applications there is the XK 60 mini transmitter, first seen at IBC 2018. This is a small-form body-worn unit that forms part of the 6000 digital wireless range. Atkinson said this was due to start shipping at the end of February or beginning of March.
Also on the stand was the AMBEO Ambisonic microphone. While this is intended for a variety of uses, including broadcast, filmmaking, VR video and music, Atkinson said that right now it was finding most success in the production of computer games. He added that AMBEO would be receiving even more attention this year, with workshops planned at the National Film and Television School (NFTS).
AMBEO's capabilities were extended at NAMM with the launch of new mixing software developed by Dear Reality. The dearVR SPATIAL CONNECT program enables immersive audio to be mixed for 360-degree video in the VR environment. Dear Reality also announced the forthcoming dearVR AMBI MICRO VST/AAX plug-in for digital audio workstations, which was developed in conjunction with AMBEO engineers.
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