A Chat with Graham Tull, CTO and Co-Founder of PEEX

We have a chat with the Co-Founder of PEEX, a revolutionary new setup for enjoying Live music. A wearable device, called the rX, connected to a set of headphones, that receive crystal clear sound straight from the front of house. Just put the headphones in and experience the best sound in the venue.

You connect your phone to the rX via an app, which lets you play around with the sound via a 5 channel interactive mixing desk and lets you shape your sound as you listen.

What made you conceive a concept like this?

The idea was conceived through my own experience and desire for more control and clarity at live concerts.  I have always loved seeing artists play live but often the sound quality is compromised by the many disruptive and destructive influences on the sound before it reaches the ears. I wanted to be able to make easy adjustments to my own sound experience so that I could compensate for what was lost by the room and focus on the finer details, all without losing the energy or excitement of being at the show.

Can you explain exactly how PEEX works?

The PEEX system mixes the audio from the various musicians on stage to 5 individual channels, which are then transmitted to the audience using the proprietary PEEX radio solution. Using a PEEX rX receiver and the companion PEEX App, audience members can then receive the transmission and adjust the 5 channels to create their own mix.  It makes it very easy to achieve the perfect personal sound experience, but it’s also great fun if you want to boost a blistering guitar solo or focus on the vocals.

How long did it take you to develop such a unique piece of technology?

We have been working on PEEX for nearly four years now, with the critical focus on research and development of the underlying technology.  This led to the establishment of mass manufacturing capabilities in readiness for the commercial phase. Each phase has been carefully managed to maintain and improve on our original objectives and to ensure that there are no compromises with respect to quality.

Will fans using the tech be intruded by the loud concert noise in the background?

The PEEX system is designed to augment the natural concert sound rather than replace it. The PEEX rX powers our specially designed ambient earphones, which allow the ‘analogue’ audio from the PA to be perfectly blended with the PEEX ‘digital’ audio. With this blending, there should be no perceptible difference to the user between the sound from the PA and the sound from the PEEX rX.

How real-time is the sound and can you explain the technology behind this that helps you achieve this?

We spent a lot of effort making sure that the PEEX system provides perfect real-time synchronisation between the two audio sources presented to the user.  The PA system can obviously only deliver its audio at the speed of sound, whereas the PEEX system transmits digital audio at the speed of light.  So, for every meter travelled by a sound wave the PEEX signal could have travelled nearly 900 kilometres! Without the PEEX synchronisation technology it would be a chaotic sound experience, with the same part of the music being heard twice but at different times by the user. 

To overcome this fundamental problem, we developed a two-part process where the analogue audio signal is analysed as it leaves the stage and again in the receiver worn by the user.  Add a little processing magic and this allows the proprietary and patented PEEX technology to bring the two sources into perfect alignment, wherever the user is located in the venue.  It is so accurate that the user can freely walk around the venue with the sound synchronisation accurate to within 1.5m of their current position.

Why did you choose to work with Elton John to launch this technology?

Elton is one of the most highly respect musicians in the world, with an incredible 50-year career spent between the studio and the road. He is fanatical about delivering the best possible concert experience to his fans and saw an obvious fit with PEEX.

From the very beginning we had hoped that it would be possible to convince Elton on the merits of the PEEX system. One of my co-founders and lifelong friends has worked on-the-road for Elton for nearly 30 years, so the introduction came through the live music production side of his organisation.  When Elton heard about the system he was immediately supportive, and he and the wider Rocket team have made it possible to work out the many technical details during testing at any number of live shows. 

Do you see this type of personalised technology the future of live music experiences?

I am sure personalisation technology has a part to play in the future of live music, but it must ultimately enhance and support the vital human connections between the band on stage and the audience rather than be a distraction.

The PEEX system can certainly add to the fan experience and can provide new ways for artists to enhance their live shows, without losing any of the live connection and excitement of being there. 

What’s next for PEEX? Are there are any plans yet for developments and updates to the product in the future?

The next major plan is the progressive roll-out of the PEEX technology with more artists and venues, with our focus on ensuring that it’s as easily accessible to as many live music fans as possible.

We will of course maintain a strong technology focus to ensure that PEEX remains a world class product and delivers the promise of a perfect live music experience to our customers.  There are always new features under review as we look to continuously improve and update our products, with outdoor shows and festivals slated as one of our next big developments. 

For more information, check out the Peex website here.

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