Radial Engineering's mPress, a new press audio distribution system, offers expansion without signal degradation or noise, according to the company.
- "In the past, transformers performed the task of splitting the signal and providing isolation against hum and buzz caused by ground loops," said Dan Fraser, senior engineer at Radial. "In recent years, the use of active signal buffers has replaced the transformer as a means to cut manufacturing costs. Unfortunately, this has resulted in noise creeping back into the audio system, deteriorating the audio quality.
"The mPress solves the problem by combining a high octane active drive circuit with a host of transformer-isolated floor boxes called Exo-Pods. This modular approach allows the system technician to distribute Exo-Pods throughout the press gallery while assuring each member of the press receives a clean, hum-free signal. To ensure no digital trickery is at hand, the mPress is 100 percent analog."
The mPress is configured in two parts with a master host and a series of external slaves called Exo-Pods. The mPress is housed in a standard 1RU 19-inch rack enclosure and begins with two mic inputs, both of which are equipped with a variable level control high-pass filter to eliminate excessive resonance and tame the proximity effect.
For podium mics, 48-volt phantom power is available and activated using a recessed front panel switch. Selecting between the mic channels is done using front panel switches. In order to control ballistics from overly excited orators, the mPress has been outfitted with a single-knob limiter.
To accommodate 'walk-in' music, the mPress is equipped with 1/4-inch, RCA and 3.5 mm stereo inputs, along with a separate level control. This enables the mPress to be connected to a pair of powered speakers via the main stereo XLR outputs to provide background entertainment while the gallery waits for the main act. A headphone output on the front panel is available for local monitoring and trouble shooting.
There are eight specially designed, balanced outputs — two on the front panel and six on the rear — which can be configured using a recessed switch for mic level or high output drive to feed an Exo-Pod. This allows the mPress to be used as a 2x8 distro for smaller events or expanded by adding Exo-Pods on the outputs.
The Exo-Pod is a passive floor box that features an XLR input, a throughput for expansion, a local level control, plus ten XLR mic outputs and four 3.5 mm mini TRS outs. With the use of eight Exo-Pods, a user can distribute the signal to as many as 112 users. This can be further expanded using the throughputs by adding more Exo-Pods.