Wavetool puts radio techs at the heart of the action
Wavetool is the latest audio product to be launched by Wavemark Ltd and is born out of an unusual technological synergy. Its audio roots began at the Finnish National Opera House during a production of The Phantom of the Opera, where engineers and radio techs needed a way to manage mics and IEMs in complex entertainment products.
According to the manufacturer, the Phantom production presented a number of familiar problems, such as a large orchestra in the pit and lots of radio mics on stage that resulted in a large number of input sources spread over a wide area. ‘There is always money in the budget for a large front of house console on these productions,’ explains Tim Liski from the Wavetool development team. ‘But for monitoring at the stage-end such a high specification is not needed.
The aim of Wavetool is essentially to put techs right in the middle of the monitoring conversation. ‘You still need the proprietary radio mic product, says Mr Liski, ‘but normally these are static monitoring tools – something like Shure Wireless Workbench only looks at momentary status.’
In contrast, Wavetool has been designed to cover a 10s history as well as streaming audio to iOS devices for live monitoring. Users can, for example, ‘do a thorough pre-production check on a lead vocalist, take their mic on stage with an iPad and walk around to see what is happening to the RF level, battery status, antenna in use and check visual alerts for low signal or battery,’ promises the developer.
The solution goes beyond simple monitoring, however. Wavetool has developed an algorithm named Snap Crackle Pop (SPC) that seeks to locate broken mics and cables by identifying unwanted noise sources. ‘You can equally use it as a test tool for your whole data stream, for example with DiGiCo; simply take a Madi feed off the SD rack and use SCP for any transient noise.’
Working in tandem with a manufacturer’s tools, the application includes support for existing wireless systems such as Shure’s Axient, UHF-R, ULX-D and QLX-D systems, Sennheiser’s 3732-2 and G3/2000 series, Wisycom’s 950/960, and Sony’s DWR. The current channel limit is 64 (or 48/96Hz) for a single system, but multiple systems can be run concurrently, one for orchestra, one for the cast, for example. On a Mac, users are also able to aggregate devices regardless of audio source – Dante, Madi or AVB.