Audio Codecs, a new Belfast-based company and the developers of the Skylark digital audio data compression algorithm designed for low latency, joined forces with Virscient, a New Zealand based RF consultancy house, to launch a new wireless audio transmission module using Bluetooth Low Energy. The solution uses a Nordic Bluetooth LE SoC to transmit a 24-bit/48kHz high quality, low latency digital wireless microphone signal.
For now, the concept was basically a consortium demonstration to show the potential of a combination of key technologies from different companies, which have in common the same vision. The effort is lead by entrepreneur Jonny McClintock (former head of aptX licensing efforts at APT, CSR and Qualcomm, over a period of nearly three decades). That vision is to reevaluate the possibilities for high quality digital audio transmission for next-generation applications, from very simple, one-channel and low latency microphone signals over Bluetooth LE, all the way to Ultra WideBand (UWB) applications for high-resolution audio in Headphone 3.0 and hearable applications.
The first demonstration of the potential of Audio Codecs’ Skylark efficiency was prepared for the IBC 2022 show that recently reconvened in Amsterdam. And in that professional environment, Jonny McClintock knew that it would make sense to show the possibilities or a robust wireless microphone solution working in combination with Antennaware’s Bodywave RF antenna, created specifically to address the effects of “body blocking” which results in highly annoying audio drop outs, and to ensure a significantly more robust link.
Skylark is a low latency mono audio codec which can be multiplexed together for multichannel, bidirectional applications, supporting multiple cases when low latency is a key requirement, such as for gaming or professional audio applications. In many such environments, it makes sense to simply use a module that supports dual-channel (2.4GHz / 6.5Ghz) Bluetooth LE and UWB radios. Low latency is also a key requirement in 5.1 channels and voice applications with return channel, an area were Skylark enables reaching between 2ms, 5ms or 10ms transmission, depending on how critical are the synchronization and resilience requirements.
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