Sennheiser announced Esfera 5.1 sourround sound microphone system at IBC.
Esfera provides 5.1 surround sound from just two channels, which will come as a big help, as one will have two channels free in a four channel system. The system consists of a high-quality stereo microphone, designed with Sennheiser’s renowned RF condenser technology, and a 19“ rack-mount processing unit that converts the stereo signal into a complete 5.1 signal – anywhere in the production workflow, whether in real time or during post production. The compact size of the microphone unit and the versatile connectivity of the processing unit ensure that Esfera can easily be integrated into existing workflows. The system will be available from March 2014.
The SPM 8000 stereo microphone: With its two radio-frequency condenser microphones Esfera’s SPM 8000 stereo microphone offers all the advantages that Sennheiser RF condenser microphones are renowned for: natural, detailed sound, transparency, high resistance to adverse climatic conditions and ruggedness. The microphones feature an extremely low inherent self-noise, have very low distortion figures and are inherently fully floating and balanced.
The SBP 8000 processing unit: The Esfera processing unit uses a special algorithm to generate a full 5.1 surround signal with sampling rates of up to 96 kHz from the microphones‘ stereo signal. An integrated compressor ensures a broadcast-friendly signal. The processing unit has four directly selectable presets, which can be modified via an Ethernet interface. The processor software enables the user to adjust the gain of the individual channels, modify the front and surround focus, determine the surround delay, adjust several filters with their cut-off frequencies and set the compression, the limiter and the treble boost.
Connectivity of the processing unit: Inputs: two analogue XLR-3 sockets with P48 phantom powering and two digital inputs for an AES3 signal; outputs: six digital outputs (left, right, centre, LFE, surround left, surround right) for three AES3 signals.
This system is being targeted at broadcasters however there will be many uses in various other fields. The price is not announced yet.