60mW trancievers!! And why that is very exciting news
Its been a week of exciting news but there is one piece of news that has really gotten me worked up. 60mw xbee trancievers!!! I know!! it blows my mind too!
As you know, my controller is a 3 way wireless network comprised of 6 xbee radio trancievers. each hand unit and the mouth unit has one and each has another one that intercepts the data it sends. these three form a basestation that connects to 3 USB ports on my laptop. the xbee series 1 has 1mW(milliWatt) of broadcast power which,according to the literature,should give it a range of about 100m. with Pure data i take the signals from these three sources and reconstruct them into one cohesive system. lovely.
the system works so much better than i anticipated, with one small caveat; the advertised range is based on data transmision, NOT data speed! so basically, if you are 100m away, playing a self designed controller, your performance data will arrive...eventually. i discovered the hard way that i actually have a "playable" range of about 5-7m before the data packets start slowing to the point of unplayability. oh...AND, now that i have been playing the controller for a bit i have also discovered what happens first, when the batteries start to dwindle; the range reduces to about 12cm before complete shutdown. (battery meters are first on the agenda upon return to berlin)
so i asked my lab partner, Google search, about higher powered trancievers and google never fails me. i discovered the that the xbee series 1 has a "pro" version that tops out at 60mW!! for a rated range of 1km! so the next step, as it has been from day one,was to contact anton at www.tinkersoup.de and as usual, he had them in stock. they are slightly bigger than the previous ones but i uploaded the profile from the previous xbees onto the newer more powerful Pro's and installed them as my basestation. then replaced the ones in the controller, which have a chip based antenna, with the previously basestation xbees that have wire antennas, although they are still 1mW. so now my basestation is broadcasting at 60mW per tranciever to 1mW nodes with proper antennas. yaaaay!!!
so does it work? well, before this, when pracitcing at home, if i went two rooms over to the kitchen (german walls are made of stone, cast iron and diamonds or something because they are very thick and sound proof), i would hear intermitent notes drop and stuttery-ness. now? haha! i can stroll out the door and down the hall until i simply cant hear the sounds anymore, only being able to tell its still transmitting by looking at my iphone Heads up display.
it has to be "magic". pure, close up magic that people can see, not from a stage, but from 6 inches away. a new interaction. I felt it a couple of weeks ago at ARENA. my intention was to "perform" but the result was some "thing" else. i cant really describe it. you're not only creating a sonic universe, but you're swimming around in it as well. there was no sepration between partying and performing. it was a completely new and foriegn metaphor that i really want to investigate fully starting with my (gotta find a new name for this type of show) at Tresor. whereas simply having "some" wireless was "cool" before, now its crucial and needs to be be powerful and bullet proof,hence my excitement about the new trancievers.
This makes me feel much better about tommorrows show at TRESOR as i want to to feel free enough to go whereever the the music takes me, creatively and physically. i'm pretty sure that i will be able to play,accurately from any point in the +4bar, where I will be performing my first full club set with the new system. I'm scheduled to go on at 5am so the crowd will be pretty "in the zone" by the time i start;-). but the "wtf?!" looks will still be priceless. after my set me and TomTom will pump it up a bit more before i devolve into a stuppor/zone myself ( hey, i gotta party too ya know!).
ok, back to practicing. see you tommorrow night. l8r.