February 18

iWA: Instant Wireless Audio by CME

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wireless audio by CME

Low latency wireless audio for today's music makers.

Following the successful launch of WIDI Wireless MIDI, CME introduces the next step in ultra-low latency wireless audio without compromising sound quality and playability.

CME iWA

CME iWA wireless audio technology latency comparison with audio over Bluetooth 

Crowd Creation: Become part of the process

You're invited to join the wireless audio revolution. The first goal is to activate at least 1,000 people.

Currently, this technology is in the conceptual stage. After the first milestone has been reached, an early prototype of a portable near-field loudspeaker for mobile music making will be presented.

Of course, other products that fit within the concept of CME's ultra-low latency wireless audio technology will be pitched along the way.

Following your wishes, feedback and input, this prototype will be made ready for production. At the same time, you will be invited to place your pre-order. As an early adopter you will receive an exclusive 50% discount.

Feel welcome to register right now and read the entire story of instant wireless audio below. 

Goal 1 reached on 4th of July 2022
Goal 2 reached on 25th of December 2022
Goal 3 reached on 1st of May 2023
Phase 4 announced on 1st of May 2023

Goal 1 reached on 4th of July 2022
Goal 2 reached on 25th of December2022
Goal 3 reached on 1st of May 2023
Phase 4 announced on 1st of May 2023

CME iWA - Instant Wireless Audio 

  • ultra low < 3ms latency
  • up to lossless 24-bit/48kHz stereo
  • minimal interference
  • accessible pricing
  • made for prosumers & creators

Is wireless ultra-low latency lossless audio really that complex?

As wireless audio technology moved from analog to digital, a recurring challenge arose between latency and high sound quality. For some time now, only a limited number of solutions have been available for digital wireless transmission of uncompressed stereo audio.

The big problem is the extremely high costs for those solutions.

Why not use Bluetooth technology to make it accessible?

CME has been working on wireless technology for over 15 years. Currently, the WIDI range is taking the world by storm with the most advanced Bluetooth MIDI technology available.

Bluetooth 5 is perfectly capable of handling the MIDI protocol. Latency can be reduced to 3 ms between 2 WIDI devices. That said, when you talk about Bluetooth audio, you're entering a completely different arena.

Latency is created by two major factors in wireless audio transmission, namely: data rate and interference. To wirelessly play CD-quality stereo music, you must be able to transmit 1.411Mbps (1,411kbps) per second. And 24bit/48KHz even needs 2.3Mbps

The Bluetooth standard delivers only 1Mbps (1,000 kbps) by default. And that's not enough. In addition, these specifications only describe the transmission speed in perfect condition. In practical applications you will probably only achieve 50% of this.

Obviously, the stable low-latency data rate of Bluetooth cannot guarantee the lossless transmission of 1.4Mbps CD stereo music.

Therefore, several compression algorithms have been implemented in the technical specifications of Bluetooth headsets and speakers. For example, the maximum data rate of AAC as used by Apple is 320kbps.

As a result, the process of compression and decompression on top of the wireless transmission can lead to a latency of 100ms and easily more…

Test results iWA prototype A + B, May 2022

Bluetooth is not the only technology. What about 2.4 GHz?

Another widely used technology for wireless audio transmission is the 2.4GHz non-standard proprietary protocol, such as Boss' WAZA wireless headphones and many other wireless guitar audio transmitters.

CME has already released the WIDI-X8 wireless MIDI interface based on the proprietary 2.4GHz protocol in 2005. Since the data rate of MIDI is only 31.25 kbps, 2.4GHz (as well as Bluetooth) provides sufficient speed for timely and accurate transmission.

To this day, CME remains the leader in wireless MIDI. With decades of experience in both Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz, our engineers know what wireless technology can do. And certainly what the limitations are. And those limitations come with lossless audio.

Fortunately, that is about to change.

What is the difference between iWA and 2.4GHz solutions available?

The 2.4GHz frequency works in the same bandwidth as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Therefore, this protocol is sensitive for interference. When interference occurs, most 2.4GHz devices do not have the capability to perform rapid frequency hopping as Bluetooth (and WIDI) can.

As with Wi-Fi, the solution implemented to reduce interference for 2.4GHz is to drastically reduce the data rate (often below 1Mbps) and repeat the transfer of the same data to make sure nothing is lost. This is not a problem for file transfers, but not suitable for real-time audio.

Again, with lossless audio in stereo, the data to be transmitted is relatively large. Therefore, many 2.4GHz solutions are mono designs for microphones and guitar signals. Even with a high resolution of 24-bit/48KHz, the data rate of mono audio is only 1,152 kbps.

As you can see, 2.4GHz can provide a solution for mono sound, but not for lossless stereo.

And unfortunately, another problem arises...

Power consumption

While the 2.4 GHz proprietary protocol can achieve relatively high data rates, it consumes much more power than Bluetooth. Usually the 2.4GHz solution consumes 10 times more power compared to Bluetooth.

That's why the JBL Bluetooth headset has a battery life of 50 hours, while the Boss's WAZA only lasts 5 hours. When the battery is low, the data rate and transmission stability of 2.4 GHz is significantly reduced.

And that is another serious challenge for professional musicians....

What about 5GHz?

There are also a few wireless mono audio transmitters that operate in the 5GHz range. Technically, 5GHz can deliver a better data rate by implementing a Wi-Fi protocol.

However, as already explained, Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) has its limitations when it comes to real-time audio and power consumption.

5GHz will only work better when using a proprietary protocol that is fully focused on real-time lossless audio transmission. 

But even then, the solution will again become very expensive and still be vulnerable for interference.

What is iWA by CME?

iWA is the ultra-low latency wireless audio system evaluated by CME. Based on the above, our clever engineers are constantly striving for the best balance between performance and cost in this future system.

For example, during our evaluation we had to let go of several technical solutions with "very good" technical indicators, but with "very expensive" components.

From that point of view, the current concept yields the following: 

  • Enough data rate redundancy to meet the stable transmission of high-quality uncompressed stereo audio
  • No interference from crowded and noisy 2.4GHz frequency band
  • Latency performance meets the demands of modern music makers 
  • Data transfer stability can still be guaranteed in very low voltage condition
  • The cost should be acceptable to most music users

Feel welcome to sign up today and be a part of the process. You are invited to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns in the comment section below.

And last but not least, watch this video to see where we stand today.


Tags

crowd creation, iWA, wireless audio


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  1. Hi , I'm a professional live sound engineer, i'm very interested in what you are doing , i have an i dear and question about using this technology.Can someone give me a call when time permits.

    thanks TW

    CELL : 678-481-3309

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