Simple ideas are often the best solutions. Alto Pro’s Stealth Wireless eliminates the need for cable between any traditional sound source and powered speaker, opening an attractive array of placement options for gigging musicians, live venues, houses-of-worship, etc.
I first saw Stealth Wireless this past June at InfoComm 2013, at the Alto Professional booth. Billed as a simple way to bypass cables between a mixer and loudspeakers, at least a dozen specific applications came to mind as I held the pre-production model in my hand. Since then, Alto Professional has ramped up production on Stealth Wireless and it is shipping now, at $399 street.
The Stealth Wireless package consists of one Transmitter and two Receivers with three power adapters (12V DC, 300 mA) for each, plus mounting accessories: two M10 screws (for mounting Receivers to fly points on powered speakers) or “hook and loop” Velcro-style strips (for mounting Receivers on virtually any surface).
The Transmitter is switchable between Mono and Stereo, sending one or two channels of audio to every Receiver in range (reportedly up to 200 feet away) and on the same channel (one of 16 UHF channels). Transmitter features include two balanced/unbalanced XLR/quarter-inch TRS inputs, dual antennas, a red LED signal clip indicator (flickers at -4dB before and glows solid at clip), press/hold-style Channel Select button and LED display, and two rotary input trim knobs. Frequency response is a sufficient 50 Hz – 17 kHz, +/- 3 dB. Unit dimensions are 6.3 x 5 x 4 inches.
Each Receiver—a small 4.6 x 2.8 x 1.3 inches—includes an antenna, Power button, XLR output, AF Indicator LED (glows when signal is recognized), RF Indicator LED (glows when signal is received), Power Indicator LED and a press/hold-style Channel Select button. On the Receiver’s side, a Left/Right Selector and Squelch (for setting a noise limit) are available.
Out of the box, I recognized that Stealth Wireless couldn’t be much easier to use. For that reason, I first employed it per request from a local church needing to simply provide stereo audio from the pulpit to a sunday school building next door, the location of the nursery and children’s church services. The pastor couldn’t have been more relieved when I told him I had a possible inexpensive solution that wouldn’t require them to run any more cable, as the church’s classrooms and needs frequently change.
Admittedly, I was a bit worried about the distance and barriers between where the Transmitter and Receivers would reside—the Transmitter within a room in a rock-and-mortar church, which would need to reach Receivers slightly more than 100 feet away and through the other building’s cinderblock and brick exterior to two separate rooms and powered speakers. Long story short, it worked: over a span of three weeks and in a variety of speaker placement locations within the separate building, no notable interference was heard, and, from my own observations, both loudspeakers sounded much as if they were receiving cable-delivered balanced XLR inputs—other than a slightly higher noise floor that wasn’t overly distracting or offensive.
Next, I employed Stealth Wireless at a club gig with a four-piece cover band, smack dab in the middle of a downtown/metro setting on a Friday night, thus ripe for potential wireless interference. Using two main powered loudspeakers in the setup, I placed one monitor as a main room loudspeaker, then another at the back of the club, in an additional bar area at a lower volume. Here, the Mono option on the Transmitter’s front panel was extremely useful, as we were working with only one main loudspeaker per area, though the musicians were monitoring in stereo. I easily found an interference-free channel, which worked ideally for the band during a three-hour/three-set show.
Alto’s Stealth Wireless may not win an award for our industry’s most sexy new product, but I found it can often answer the question, “How could I more easily distribute this audio?” While not a permanent solution, Stealth Wireless is an ‘easy to use’ one, potentially bridging many gaps in a variety of live sound settings.
Price: $399 street
Contact: Alto Professional | http://www.altoproaudio.com/products/stealth-wireless