Wireless stereo audio distribution, coming to a cinema near you

  • Date 2 Sep 2011

Cambridge Consultants, a leading technology design and development firm, today announced that Doremi Cinema LLC, leading provider of cinema servers and mastering stations, is the first licensee for Salix™, its wireless audio distribution system. Doremi Cinema will manufacture the system for the provision of hearing assistance and simultaneous translation, under the brand name Fidelio™, and deliver two stereo or four mono channels per cinema auditorium, typically assigning a channel for hearing impaired and another for visually impaired users. The configuration of auditorium and channel is done in a small docking stand by the attendant issuing the receiver to the customer.

Doremi becomes the first leading manufacturer to offer the innovative service to cinemas and auditoria worldwide. Based on a Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) platform, the Salix system delivers high quality stereo audio while eliminating the high installation or retro-fit costs of many current systems. Most audio distribution systems in use today are based on infra-red technology which requires a clear line of sight between the transmitter and receiver. This means installing multiple transmitters in a venue, generally on the ceiling. This can be expensive, not only because of the need for multiple transmitters, but also because of the expense of installation at great heights. Salix overcomes these problems by utilising DECT wireless technology that delivers an effective operating range of 100m, does not require line of sight and is self-configuring to ensure interference-free broadcast. The result is high-quality, zero-dropout audio distribution from a single transmitter installed anywhere – significantly reducing hardware and installation costs. Importantly, multiple Salix transmitters can co-exist in an auditorium, conference centre or school – this is due to a robust spectrum etiquette scheme, which is shared by all equipment using the DECT bands.

Michael Archer, Vice President of Sales at Doremi Cinema, commented: “We listened to theatre operators concerns about the high cost and installation difficulties associated with offering their hearing and visually impaired patrons a high quality theatre experience. We partnered with Cambridge Consultants to develop a Salix based system that provides superior audio quality, is easy to install, substantially more affordable than previous technologies and complements our industry leading digital cinema product line, keeping our customers at the forefront of today’s high-quality cinema experience.”

Tim Whittaker, System Architect in Cambridge Consultants’ Wireless Division, adds: “DECT is a rock solid radio technology which is why we consider it ideal for audio distribution where quality and stability are the key criteria. The fact that it is a well-established technology also means that DECT chips are widely available at a very low unit cost, which enables the development of extremely low cost receivers for auditoria. In addition, the low-cost of installation means that some venues could reduce installation costs to a tenth of comparable infra-red based systems.”

The Salix reference design, which has been tested and proven, is available as a hardware documentation package including photoplot and assembly information, with executable software for both transmitter and receiver ends. Alternatively, source code licensing is available for custom design.

The Salix system comprises a transmitter board that can be populated for one or two stereo channels, and a receiver board with selector buttons for volume, power and programme selection, audio output socket and a built-in lithium polymer battery. A modern high quality, low latency music codec delivers stereo audio with a 15kHz bandwidth.

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Ben Smith                                                                            


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Travis Small

Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications

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