Audio-Technica Launches UWB-Based Mic System

Audio-Technica recently introduced its SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband Microphone system, representing the first commercial sound implementation of Ultra Wideband technology.

The result of a nearly five-year R&D project, Audio-Technica partnered with MultiSpectral Solutions Inc., a Germantown, Md.-based developer of UWB technology, to develop SpectraPulse, which the company says avoids problems raised by the so-called “white spaces” issue. Advocates that support the use of unlicensed devices in the unused portions of broadcasters’ spectrum want the federal government to free up these white spaces, which will become available after the February 2009 analog shutoff. Opponents, including broadcasters, the professional sports industry and manufacturers of professional wireless microphone systems, warn that opening up this spectrum for such devices will interfere with broadcast signals and RF devices using the spectrum.

SpectraPulse bypasses RF by using UWB technology, which was recently licensed for commercial use by the FCC. UWB allows for the wireless transmission of data in extremely short-duration pulses over a wide spectrum of frequencies. Instead of using conventional channels and carrier frequencies, UWB technology uses a series of short nanosecond pulses, which occupy an instantaneous bandwidth of 500 MHz within the 6 GHz frequency spectrum. The signals, in precisely timed sequences, result in the reliable transmission of information near noise-floor levels. The SpectraPulse system “decodes” these pulses, ensuring secure transmission and preventing signal interception by other wireless systems.

The system targets wireless mic systems designed for conference or boardrooms, corporate events and meetings, courtrooms and other contractor/system integrator applications in the business, government and commercial markets.

System components include:

  • The mtu101 microphone transmitter unit, which features a programmable touch-sensitive switch (that can be programmed for push-to-talk, push-to-mute or toggle operation) and nine-hour rechargeable battery life.
  • The drm141 digital receiver module, which includes a completely integrated UWB antenna and 14 channels of digital wireless transceiving (that mounts on a 3-gang electrical box) with power and data carried over a Cat-5 connection.
  • The 1 RU aci707 audio control interface, which allows the demultiplexing and audio output of up to seven channels, which are selected on the mtu101 microphone transmitter unit.
  • A separate cei007 charger encryption interface, which charges up to seven mtu101s and allows for encrypting the mtu101 units using optional encryption software.

A white paper giving more details on the technology is available at

SpectraPulse will begin shipping in October.