Sony has announced the launch of a new beamforming microphone, MAS-A100, an audio solution designed to enable flexible and creative ‘hands-free’ lectures and presentations.

Designed for, but not limited to, a range of meeting, lecture and presentation environments, the ceiling-mount microphone offers advanced clear audio quality features for both speech reinforcement and recording with a combination of beamforming technology and Intelligent Feedback Reducer function. 

The microphone has a dual channel output for simultaneous recording for a wide area to capture both the speaker and students/participants voices. Together with the support for Dante and PoE to enable easy installation, the MAS-A100 is designed to significantly improve the audio experience in education and corporate organisations.

MAS-A100 achieves hands-free speech reinforcement without requiring hand-held or body-worn microphones and subsequent batteries or device management. This is enabled by a unique combination of beamforming technology and an original feature called ‘Intelligent Feedback Reducer’ which can extract speech sound while suppressing unwanted feedback with Sony high-performance digital signal processing and unique algorithms. After capturing voice, the microphone’s Automatic Gain Control function automatically adjusts the output volume to be consistent regardless of the presenter’s location and makes lectures and presentations easier to listen to.

The beamforming microphone has dual channel output thus achieves speech reinforcement and recording simultaneously by using the dedicated output channels. It covers a wide range and records not only the speaker’s voice, but also the students and participants. The microphone also has auto-noise reduction capabilities to minimise background sound from air conditioners and projectors, etc.

The microphone can be easily integrated into existing AV setups and used with a wide range of products thanks to the support of Dante, the digital audio-over-IP networking standard. The model also supports PoE (Power over Ethernet) thus simple installation and power management by single network cable is possible. MAS-A100’s Automatic Calibration function automatically optimises the parameters of the audio processing for speech reinforcement by generating and capturing the test signal during the installation process. 

Sony free-of-charge ‘Microphone Array System Manager’ software (MASM-1) can help centralise setting and management of multiple microphones in various rooms connected via IP.

“Lectures, speeches, and corporate meetings can often contain priceless wisdom. Yet, recording them has too often been mired by unintuitive, ineffective recording technology,” explains Damien Weissenburger, at Sony Professional Solutions Europe. “At Sony, we work in close cooperation with our customers and partners to address the real-life challenges they face every day. With the MAS-A100, we are offering our customers a powerful yet cost-effective solution that completely transforms the style of lecture and presentation. With its advanced speech reinforcement and clear audio recording features, we are setting a new benchmark of what organisations can expect from microphones.”

“High costs, poor audio quality or complicated installation processes are just some of the challenges we’ve faced when installing professional microphones in our classrooms or auditoriums in the past. With the new beamforming microphone from Sony we don’t have to worry about any of this anymore. We are now able to capture crystal clear audio, allowing our lecturers to build strong engagement with their students – whether they are physically present or studying remotely – and create the active learning environment of the future,” comments Lyndon Shirley, executive head of technology-enhanced learning at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

The beamforming microphone is expected to be available in spring, 2020.

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