The History of Audio-Technica’s Installed Sound Microphones

Audio-Technica entered the microphone industry in 1978 with the 800 Series, a line of vocal mics for musicians that grew to be quite successful. But in the quickly evolving, competitive audio world, it was only a matter of time before we expanded our reach into the arena of Installed Sound as well.

audio-technica at859In 1984, A-T made history with the introduction of the revolutionary UniPoint line: AT837, AT853, AT855, AT857QM, and AT859, with the AT857AM being added in 1985. Our team knew that existing products provided questionable sound quality in places like churches, boardrooms, and other public venues. There were specific functions required of an Installed Sound microphone and we wanted to make sure the UniPoint featured them all.

UniPoint was the industry’s first miniature fixed-charge condenser mic line, and the introduction of these mics, with their slim, sleek design and outstanding performance, was a significant moment for Audio-Technica USA. Indeed, the UniPoint line enjoyed considerable success, paving the way for an expansion to boundary mics in 1986 and long goosenecks in 1987. All of these products were known for their fresh sound integrity, high performance, and elegant design features. Today it’s common to find UniPoint mics – and mics from subsequent lines – on podiums, and in boardrooms, churches, theaters, and government chambers.

“The UniPoint brand became the Kleenex® of the installed sound environment, it was so popular.” – Ken Reichel, former AT-US Chief Operating Officer

The UniPoint line played a significant role in the development of Audio-Technica condenser microphones. Installed Sound technology standards continued to change, and Audio-Technica led the way. In 1988 we introduced the TriPoint microphone, an innovative product that packaged three independent UniPoint elements in one microphone, providing redundancy and reliability. The TriPoint was an important benchmark in our work with Installed Sound as it became the first of our mics chosen for use in the U.S. presidential debates – another proud and defining moment for Audio-Technica.

Interference Prevention and the Birth of UniGuard

Throughout the ‘90s and into the new century, technology was quickly advancing and the wireless revolution took hold (we debuted our ATW-1237 handheld condenser wireless system – an industry pacesetter – in 1996). But with the rapid expansion of cell phone use, a new challenge emerged for everyone in the industry: the radio frequencies emitted by these handheld devices were introducing unwanted, audible signals into sound systems. This was no simple problem to fix, but our engineering team was determined to come up with a solution. And, sure enough, after countless tests and many, many hours of research, we created the RF shielding technology we dubbed UniGuard®. RF shielding soon became an industry standard, and in 2005 A-T officially relaunched the UniPoint line with UniGuard, bringing new life to the Installed Sound market.

Over the years, A-T’s Installed Sound products have evolved to meet the needs of the most demanding environments. We have developed and introduced unique technology to meet the challenges of an ever-changing landscape. And it all began with UniPoint, the line that helped position us as an industry leader in the competitive field of Installed Sound applications.

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