Interview: Troy Jensen Talks About the MXN5-C Networked Loudspeaker
The Shure Ecosystem for Conferencing covers the complete audio signal chain from microphone to DSP to loudspeaker, providing networked audio solutions for environments of all types, from small meeting rooms to large conference spaces. I was able to chat with Troy Jensen, Lead Market Development Specialist, about the Microflex™ MXN5W-C Networked Ceiling Loudspeaker.
Chris Lyons: We're talking with Troy Jensen about something that even long-time Shure fans probably didn't expect to see from Shure, and that’s a loudspeaker. Tell us about the MXN5-C.
Troy Jensen: The MXN5-C is a networked ceiling loudspeaker that provides high-quality speech reproduction for AV conferencing applications. It's the ideal loudspeaker to use with Microflex Advance array microphones and IntelliMix® DSP in meeting rooms.
Chris: Now, first off, why would I want to use a networked loudspeaker instead of a standard ceiling speaker and amplifier?
Troy: The amplifier is the first thing that I would consider -- because you don't need one. The amplification is built into the speaker. The amplifier goes away, so we don't have to worry about where we’re going to mount the amplifier. We don't have to worry about the heat that the amplifier might create. So all we're looking for is either PoE or PoE+ power. That’s important because it determines the sound level -- PoE is going to give you about 92 dB SPL at 1 meter, and PoE+ is going to give you about 98 dB SPL at 1 meter. It connects with category cable so it makes for very simple installation.
Chris: OK, well, let's get into the details of this thing because I'm sure people are curious. What's the size? What are my inputs and power ratings and so forth? Give us the details.
Troy: The MXN5-C requires about a 10.5 inch hole cut either into the acoustical tile or drywall. The outer dimensions of the grille itself is about 12 inches in diameter. It's a shallow can, so it's only 4 inches deep. We know people are competing for space above the ceiling with HVAC ductwork and conduit and sprinklers and whatever else is up there, so we stayed with a 4 inch deep can to make it the least intrusive as possible. There is a category network jack on the back which has a cover which you can bring hard conduit to, and again, either PoE or PoE+ power.
Chris: And then what about the driver size? What size speaker is in here?
Troy: We have a 5.25 inch coaxial driver that is designed specifically for speech reproduction. We looked at various driver sizes and determined based on the volume of the enclosure that we have that 5.25 inch performed better than any other driver size as we were testing.
Chris: Now what about routing the signal to it, and how do I get this configured to work with the rest of the components, like my microphones and processors?
Troy: Well, it's a Dante enabled device, so you can certainly use Dante Controller to do your routing. But if you wanted to get into the particulars not only of the speaker but of the Shure ecosystem, we'd like you to use Shure Designer software. Shure Designer is going to give you the ability to look at your inventory in the space and drag over a microphone, a processor and the loudspeaker, and to give you some ability to optimize that system quickly with just one button click. Designer will also allow you to look into the loudspeaker itself. In the loudspeaker, you'll see that there are two Dante inputs. There's also a Dante output. And some people may ask, "why do we have a Dante output?" Well, 98-99% of the time, what you want for your AEC reference is the output of the loudspeaker in the room that you're working on. So we provided a very easy point for people to grab that Dante transmit channel and route it to their AEC reference, whether that’s on the P300 audio conferencing processor, IntelliMix Room software, or an MXA910 ceiling array microphone.
Chris: What other kinds of features and processing tools have I got built into the speaker?
Troy: You actually have four sets of dynamics processing on there. We have a delay setting from 0-1000 milliseconds. There is a signal generator that lets you select four different noise sources: you can select Pink Noise, White Noise, a Sinewave, and a Sweep. The Sweep could be particularly useful if you're hunting for rattles or buzzes within a t-bar ceiling insulation, for example. The other processing that's in there is a parametric EQ. That's a four-band parametric EQ, where you can select Low Cut, Low Shelf, and Parametric. And last but not least, there’s a Limiter that can be selected either to protect the device, or to establish and not to exceed an SPL level in the room that you're working in.
Chris: That's great. Now, because this speaker is part of the Shure ecosystem, as you mentioned, does that give me any advantages as far as keeping the signal secure throughout the whole audio chain?
Troy: It does. We can now offer AES-256 encryption from the microphone to the DSP to the loudspeaker. So for those clients who are looking for maximum security, we can offer AES-256 encryption throughout the audio signal chain within the room.
Chris: Well, that's great. Well, Troy, thanks for talking to us today about the MXN5-C Networked Loudspeaker.
Find out more about how the MXN5-C networked loudspeaker integrates seamlessly with Shure’s ecosystem of networked hardware and software to provide high-quality speech reproduction for AV conferencing applications.