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Consortium creates Bluetooth Low Energy wireless microphone

Audio Codecs Ltd, developers of the Skylark digital audio data compression algorithm designed for low latency (under 2 ms) and high quality (24 Bit, 48 kHz), have joined forces with New Zealand-based RF consultancy Virscient and British antenna producer Antennaware to launch a Bluetooth Low Energy digital wireless microphone. 

According to the organization, the module can be used in three ways:

  • By a microphone manufacturer to fit into an enclosure/body of the device. This would be a new design where the manufacturer only needs to worry about the front end i.e. conversion of a sound wave into a digital signal. This digital signal can then be fed to the module via I2S and that’s where the compression, RF radio and antenna will take over.
  • As a stand-alone accessory, which can plug into an existing microphone via an XLR (or other type) of connector.
  • The above on both options but the technology is licensable where the Gerbers, Schematics, Firmware and IP are all made available to microphone manufacturer to design their own product. 

The module is based on the Nordic nRF53 platform. Virscient has added its proprietary RF middleware, which, combined with Skylark’s compression algorithm and the additional 20dB of gain from Antennaware’s Bodywave RF antenna, ensures a more solid Bluetooth RF link. According to the consortium, this platform, antenna and codec solution offers performance figures previously considered almost impossible due to the vagaries of Bluetooth operating in the cluttered 2.4GHz spectrum.

The consortium says that because the module boasts audio in/audio out latencies of less than 10 ms and has the additional RF gains, it will be perfect for the emerging vlogger market and a suitable candidate for gaming and karaoke applications. 

Spokesman for the consortium, Jonny McClintock, says, “We are planning to reduce the latency further and will also be supporting alternative RF frequencies such as UWB. This combines beautifully to address the rapidly emerging Headphone 3.0 market.”

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