Anna Rossinelli with the new Digital 6000 handheld microphone.
Digital 6000, the latest member of Sennheiser’s professional wireless microphone range, is shipping now. Building on features of the Digital 9000 series, Digital 6000 delivers impeccable RF wireless and audio performance. The system fulfils the business need for a flexible two-channel wireless solution that allows the use of existing accessories and infrastructures. Designed for demanding live productions, Digital 6000 also addresses the challenges of the shrinking UHF spectrum: Sennheiser’s engineer have eliminated intermodulation, with its restrictions on channel allocations, which will allow more mics to operate in less spectrum space.
In can be overlooked how demanding the design of a reliable wireless microphone system can be. The system forms the vital link between the on-air talent and the viewer. The talent's voice must be delivered without dropouts or distortion, and any problems could be met with tantrums.
For the RF engineer, the task of design is challenging. The transmitter, handheld or beltpack, has to perform in less than ideal conditions. A simple antenna, shielded by flesh and bone, moves with the artist in a hostile environment with interference from lighting rigs. The receiver has to detect a signals of widely varying strength in a soup of other transmissions — tens of other wireless microphones, wireless intercoms, IFB, maybe wireless cameras. Add to that, mobile operators are cannibalising the spectrum once available for mics for the demands of cellular phones. How to meet the director's demands for more wireless mics, yet fit to a contracting and often congested spectrum slot, is the reality microphone designers have to face.
Sennheiser's Digital 6000 series is the culmination of two year's devlopment, and the result is a system that overcomes the bane of sound engineer's, intermodulation.
Any non-linearity in a mic receiver, leads to the generation of sum and difference frequencies of the fundamental and harmonics of the transmitted signal. Avoiding these intermodulation products requires channel allocation software that can avoid clashes with the spurious frequencies generated by intermoduation.
Careful RF design in the Digital 6000 has reduced intermodulation to such a low level that it no longer presents a problem. Microphones can be operated in a simple equi-distant grid with a minimum channel spacing of 600kHz.
The Digital 6000 series comprises a two-channel receiver that is available in two different versions, a bodypack and a handheld transmitter, and a rack-mount 19” charging unit. The receiver’s switching bandwidth of 244 MHz (470 to 714 MHz) is covered by three transmitter versions (470 – 558 MHz, 550 – 638 MHz, and 630 – 718 MHz). Up to eight receiver units can be daisy-chained without the need for an additional antenna splitter; the multi-channel system will work with a single pair of antennas. System latency is 3 milliseconds.
Digital 6000 is compatible with Digital 9000 in long-range mode and with the EK 6042 digital/analogue camera receiver.
Final asembly of the SKM-6000 handheld microphone.
To cope with demanding environments, the Digital 6000 has true bit diversity, transmission error correction and additional intelligent error concealment.
True bit diversity is a diversity technique that ensures a far better reception quality than other diversity techniques, for example switching diversity or true diversity. While the latter either use the RF signal of a single antenna or the audio signal of a single reception path, true bit diversity combines the information content of both reception paths for an optimum signal. A Link Quality Indicator on the receiver informs the sound engineer of any issues.
If, as in difficult RF environments, the signal should get temporarily corrupted to such an extent that the transmission error correction can no longer repair it, the intelligent error concealment sets in. It employs intelligent learning algorithms to replace the corrupted part, enabling Digital 6000 to still transmit flawlessly where other digital systems fail.
For data security, a feature that is particularly important for conference and corporate use, Digital 6000 has switchable AES 256 encryption, with the transmitters also supporting the proprietary encryption of the Digital 9000 system.
Uses existing infrastructures and accessories
Digital 6000 has been designed to keep additional investments as low as possible: Existing antenna infrastructures can continue to be used as the system works with standard active and passive wideband UHF antennas, with the highly frequency-selective input filters being contained in the EM 6000 receiver.
The Digital 6000 transmitters use the same high-performance rechargeable accupacks as their Digital 9000 counterparts. The SKM 6000 handheld transmitter features Sennheiser’s standard capsule interface – it can therefore be used with any microphone head from the evolution wireless Series, the 2000 Series, and also with the special 9000 Series heads. That is a choice of seventeen capsules including two from Neumann.
The SK 6000 bodypack excels as a high-end solution for wireless instruments such as guitar and bass – or is ready to use with a variety of Sennheiser clip-on microphones and headmics. These include the MKE 1 and the digital-transmission versions of the MKE 2 and MKE 40 clip-on microphones, plus the SL Headmic 1 and the HSP 4 headmic as well as the upcoming digital-transmission version of the HSP 2.
The dual channel receiver with battery charger unit.
Digital 6000 integrates seamlessly into digital or analogue system infrastructures. The EM 6000 receiver is fitted with a digital AES-3 output with wordclock in/out, high-quality transformer-balanced analogue XLR-3 and ¼ in jack outputs. Its Dante counterpart, the EM 6000 Dante offers an additional Amphenol RJ-45 connector for integration into a Dante network.
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