NAMM 2019: Sennheiser proves PRO with audio innovations

New products include the IE 400 PRO and IE 500 PRO in-ear monitors, the SK 6212 mini-bodypack transmitter and the XS Wireless digital. Sennheiser's booth will also be starring a variety of musicians, demoing the latest Sennheiser microphones
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IE 400 PRO in-ear monitors

IE 400 PRO in-ear monitors

The pro audio year has kicked off with some exciting product launches at NAMM 2019 for Sennheiser, presenting at the Anaheim Convention Center North, Level 1, booth 14108.

As of NAMM, Sennheiser is showcasing entry-level wireless systems for both musicians and videographers, along with two new in-ears in its IE range, and the SK 6212 mini-bodypack transmitter for live audio and broadcasting applications. 

IE 400 PRO and IE 500 PRO in-ear monitors:

Sennheiser has unveiled the latest members of its family of professional in-ear monitors, the IE 400 PRO, and IE 500 PRO. They offer natural, high-resolution sound, a fit that comes close to custom-molded in-ears and a break-proof, patent-pending cable connection. The PROs will be available from March 2019. 

“When a show or gig is underway, monitoring is crucial,” said Jannik Schentek, product manager, Sennheiser. “Beyond connecting you with other musicians, in-ears connect you to yourself, allowing you to improve the way you perform. The IE series were designed with this goal in mind, and the new models offer several stunning features that let users excel in their art.

“For the IE 400 PRO and IE 500 PRO, we have reinvented the single dynamic driver principle. Other in-ears in the same price range work on the balanced armature principle, which we find to be inferior to a wideband dynamic driver,” explained Schentek. “Balanced armature earphones – a technology borrowed from hearing aids where small packages are crucial – require multiple drivers to reproduce the frequency range, and this may lead to cross-over effects and phase differences between the individual drivers. The IE series, on the other hand, use a single high-performance dynamic driver that covers the entire frequency range with ease, resulting in a distortion-free, detailed and accurate sound reproduction.”

This single-driver technology, termed TrueResponse, ensures a natural and clear sound stage with a total harmonic distortion (THD) as low as under 0.08% at 1 kHz and 94 dB. This enables musicians to critically monitor their sound and to fully concentrate on their performance.

Singer/songwriter Fin Greenall tried out the IE 5000 PRO for size: “It felt like I wasn’t wearing them, to be honest. The more I played, the more I felt how nice they really are. Low mids, really clean, the super subs are really sweet, the high-end isn't too scratchy, nice response. It is balanced, has chunky vibes. That's what you need.”

Asked about the difference in sound between the two models, Schentek elaborated: “The biggest difference is in the mids, really. Between 1 and 2.5 kHz, the IE 500 PRO has more presence and sounds much more direct, thus opening up a very wide and deep sound stage that allows artists to more easily localise themselves in the mix. Furthermore, it has a wider frequency response and a few extra dBs of sound pressure level – which can be crucial on loud stages.”

SK 6212 mini-bodypack:

Sennheiser has announced that its new SK 6212 mini-bodypack transmitter, part of the award-winning Digital 6000 wireless microphone series, will also be shipping from March. Designed for multi-channel audio applications in the fields of broadcasting, (musical) theatre and live audio, the mini-transmitter is lightweight, spectrum-efficient and digitally transmits with high-quality audio.

“A decade ago, Sennheiser’s SK 5212 set a standard on stages globally, being the smallest professional UHF microphone transmitter available at the time,” recalls Tom Vollmers, senior product manager, pro audio. “With the digital SK 6212, we are opening a new chapter. We have developed this mini-transmitter hand in glove with our pro audio key customers, and the result is a new standard for stages: compact, spectrum-efficient, and a long battery life.”

The mini bodypack is about 63 x 47 x 20 millimeters in size and weighs approx. 112g, including the battery, making it easy to hide from view in costumes or wigs. Added to this are comfortably rounded corners and edges, plus a flexible, replaceable antenna, meaning it’s easy on delicate costumes and comfortable when worn directly on the body. An additional inner sealing in the transmitter ensures a good level of moisture resistance. In addition, the SK 6212’s rechargeable lithium-polymer battery has an optimum operating time of 12 hours. The battery can be removed and recharged in the Digital 6000 rack-mount charger via the dedicated LM 6062 charging module.

Like the other transmitters in the Digital 6000 series, it transmits free from intermodulation, which means that the sound engineer or RF manager can simply place the transmission frequencies in a spectrum-efficient, equidistant grid – no calculation needed, just scanning for free spectrum and no blocking of the scarce spectrum by intermods. Despite its miniature size, the transmitter offers a fully-fledged user interface with an OLED display and function buttons.

On the audio side of things, the miniature bodypack uses the purpose-designed SeDAC audio codec – the same DAC as used in the high-end Digital 9000 wireless system. As part of the Digital 6000 family, the SK 6212 is compatible with 6000 series receivers – including the analogue/digital EK 6042 camera receiver – and the receiver of the Digital 9000 series.

Vollmers added: “The SK 6212 will allow artists to fully concentrate on their performance because it can barely be felt when worn, and gives the engineer peace of mind, thanks to its reliable transmission, great audio and long operating time.”

XS Wireless Digital:

Sennheiser’s new XS Wireless Digital series will provide musicians and videographers with an easy entry into wireless audio, working for almost every configuration and application. XSW-D replaces the cable with compact transmitters and receivers that work on 2.4 GHz for worldwide, license-free operation. 

“With XS Wireless Digital we are adding exciting entry-level digital wireless microphones to our portfolio,” said Tobias von Allwörden, senior product manager, Sennheiser. “The series is ideal for first-time wireless users – be it a guitarist who wants to move on stage freely, or a content creator who wants to take his or her video projects to the next level with wireless audio.”

XSW-D employs digital transmission in the 2.4 GHz range and uses the acclaimed aptX Live codec. The receivers have antenna diversity; the transmitters work redundantly, transmitting all data packages twice to ensure reliable transmission. In case of interference, the transmitter and receiver will seamlessly hop to a free frequency. The audio latency remains below 4 m and up to five systems can be used simultaneously and they have a range of up to 75 m.

Moreover, operation has been made as easy as possible via a single button. The transmitter is connected to a handheld mic, a lavalier mic or an instrument, while the receiver can be directly connected to a mixing desk, a guitar or bass amp or the mic input of a video camera respectively.

There will also be live music at the booth’s stage, where an array of artists will be demoing Sennheiser’s microphones for the audience to experience:
11:30 a.m. Ronee Martin and Friends (R&B)
12:30 p.m. Ari and the Alibis (Blues Jazz Fusion)
1:30 p.m. Deadwood Jones (Folk)
2:30 p.m. Dilana (Rock)
3:30 p.m. Nina Storey (Pop/Rock)
4:30 p.m. Kevin Campbell (Pop/Rock)
5:00 p.m. Ill-esha (Electronic/DJ)

11:00 a.m. Freedy Johnston
12:00 noon Victor Wooten book signing
12:30 p.m. Ari and the Alibis (Blues Jazz Fusion)
1:30 p.m. Louisiana Love Act (Rock)
2:30 p.m. Victor Wooten (Jazz)
3:30 p.m. Debby Holiday (Rock)
4:30 p.m. Luci (Acoustic Pop)
5:00 p.m. Jaz Vallis (Pop)

11:30 a.m. Andy and Renee (Pop Rock)
12:30 p.m. Ari and the Alibis (Blues Jazz Fusion)
1:30 p.m. Jacqueline Mackenzie (Pop/Rock)
2:30 p.m. Carlos Calvo (Acoustic Folk)
3:30 p.m. Brenda Carsey (Pop/Soul)

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Among the biggest news of NAMM 2019 is Harman's mega audio developments, showcasing new products from JBL, AKG and Soundcraft, and Sennheiser's launch of its IE 400 PRO and IE 500 PRO in-ear monitors, the SK 6212 mini-bodypack transmitter and the XS Wireless digital