Phoenix Audio Beams Up A New SIP Conference Phone

Phoenix Audio at InfoComm2015InfoComm 2015 is next week, which has swayed the nature of press releases filling my in-box. While most are less than interesting, there was one from Phoenix Audio Technologies that piqued my interest. They have introduced an intriguing new device they call the Condor. Condor is not a typical SIP end-point.

Condor is an audio pickup appliance, essentially a microphone array with some sophisticated on-board DSP capability. With an on-board SIP client it’s one component of a huddle room conferencing solution. Add a large HDTV with built-in speakers and you have a complete solution for audio conferencing. You’re also well on your way to video conferencing.

Condor is an alternative to the traditional conference phone in the center of the table.

Phoenix Audio Condor 1 Front

According to the manufacturer:

Condor is an all-in-one audio system that is positioned on top or next to your conferencing monitor and addresses all your audio pickup needs. The Condor utilizes a multi-microphone array to create audio beams that zoom in and pick up any voice from distances of up to thirty feet. It is equipped with analog, USB, and optical interfaces, so that it can easily connect to any video conferencing system, and use any type of loudspeakers, including external sound bars or your monitor’s internal speakers.

This seems like a grown-up version of the sort of audio pickup that has been incorporated into such devices as Biscotti, TelyHD and the webcam modules that may accessorize some smart TVs. Phoenix Audio Technologies has a long history in audio and DSP technologies. Clearly they’re playing to their strengths rather than offering an all-in-one VC end-point, like the HuddleStation from Vaddio. Thus there’s the potential to assemble a better system by assembling best-of-breed components. The trade-off being a multi-vendor solution. I’d expect a little more effort to get the installation up and running.

I’m very curious about the absolute performance of the device. Can it really perform as well as a centrally located microphone array that’s typically closer to the conference participants? Does being at the perimeter of the the room help it to suppress reverberation? Does it leverage the same kind of silicon that that we find in lesser devices? Or is the magic a proprietary implementation of the companies own IP?

Yes, it would be interesting to compare Condor to a Polycom SoundStation IP 7000.