Audio-Over-IP Takes Over for CALM

Focusrite RedNet D64R

With CALM Act compliance and loudness management — an overriding focus of the last several NAB Shows — now largely settled and receding in the rearview mirror, it seems that all eyes are turning to Audio-over-IP this year.

With an expanding selection of products compliant with the AES67 interoperability standard becoming available, 2015 could well be the tipping point for a more wholesale adoption of audio networking throughout the broadcast workflow.

At this year’s NAB Show, it’s difficult to find a product that doesn’t support, individually or in some combination, the AES67 or AVB (Audio Video Bridging) open standards, proprietary but widely licensed and adopted protocols such as Dante, Livewire or Ravenna, or brand-specific schemes such as WheatNet-IP.

Products that enable bridging between the newer AoIP protocols and more traditional transports, such as MADI, are also starting to proliferate. Focusrite and Yamaha, for example, are both introducing Dante-to-MADI bridges, while Digigram is launching a Ravenna/MADI- bridging PCIe sound card.

Calrec Audio is introducing a new single-slot MADI card that fits into the 3RU modular Hydra2 box, introducing 64 bidirectional channels into its audio network. Part of the Ravenna community, Calrec supports Dante and has a stated commitment to the development of an AVB interface.

Lawo is presenting its solutions, including the newly expanded MADI-to-Ravenna/AES67 capabilities of its consoles and routers, as an easy way to transition from the baseband world. New hybrid extension and interface cards enable Lawo users to connect via MADI then migrate to Ravenna/AES67 at their own pace.

Riedel Communications is showing Tango TNG-200, its first network-based platform to support both the Ravenna/AES67 and AVB standards.

Riedel Tango TNG-200

Riedel Tango TNG-200

For its part, Wheatstone, which has embraced AES67 for its interconnectivity to peripheral equipment, is showing new Wheat- Net-IP network features and new ways of doing live television production using IP audio control. The company is demonstrating how to switch mic feeds, IFB feeds and different intercom setups within seconds, and how to instantly turn a mic into an intercom using IP audio control.

Away from the show floor, Broadcast Engineering Conference presentations will also focus on AoIP. Today’s sessions features a presentation by GatesAir, “The Role of Network Packet Loss Modeling in Reliable Transport of Broadcast Audio,” which delves into the use of wide area IP networks. GatesAir, a Ravenna partner since mid-2014, is making its first foray into network interoperability at the NAB Show with the debut of VMXpress IP, a new Ravenna device that interfaces the company’s VistaMax products with other AES67-compliant audio and data equipment within a facility.

GatesAir VMXpress-IP

GatesAir VMXpress-IP

The session “SCAsat Audio Distribution: Best of Satellite, Best of WAN” offers the case study of a two-year project to re-engineer a continent-wide audio distribution and contribution network incorporating Telos Alliance equipment for an Australian radio broadcast corporation.

Later in the afternoon, Linear Acoustics will investigate how traditional functions associated with SDI and AES transports can be abstracted using techniques such as virtualization and software-defined networking in the transition to AoIP with the session “Moving Audio Processing from Boxes to the Cloud: AES67 & Audio-over-IP Applications.” That will be followed by “The Audio Cloud: Decreasing Cost and Improving Reliability of Audio Links for Broadcast,” presented by APT, which will lay out four techniques to add greater redundancy, and thus improved reliability, to AoIP applications.

With the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) having announced that it has begun a technical review of three immersive audio delivery proposals — from Dolby Laboratories, DTS and an alliance of Fraunhofer, Qualcomm and Technicolor — for ATSC 3.0, the next-generation U.S. television broadcast standard, NAB Show provides an opportunity to check out some of the contenders and the available immersive audio production tools.

Fairlight’s 3D Audio Workspace (3DAW), for example, enables delivery of immersive sound in formats such as Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos and DTS MDA without the need to replace existing 2D tools and workflows.

Anecdotally, it appears that camera operators are increasingly being tasked with audio recording, especially in reality television, where budgets don’t necessarily always stretch to include a dedicated sound mixer. Happily for DPs and cinematographers, Post|Production World is presenting a day-long workshop, “Audio for Camera Operators.”

Today’s multi-session training program promises to cover all aspects of field audio capture for documentaries, including choosing and prepping a location, and on-camera and lavalier microphone techniques.

On the subject of field acquisition, Lectrosonics, whose wireless solutions are used in such applications, is introducing the SSM (Super Slight Micro). The SSM offers a 75 MHz — three Lectrosonics blocks — tuning range. Presets enable optimum performance from commonly used microphone brands and models.

Lectrosonics SSM Transmitter

Lectrosonics SSM Transmitter

For audio post-production professionals, “Sounds That Sell: From ‘Call of Duty’ to ‘Gone Girl,’ How to Reach Your Audience with Music and SFX” (10:30 am, S220), promises inspiring tips and techniques to stay ahead of the competition. Part of today’s Creative Master Series and sponsored by the Production Music Association, the panel presentation will feature composers, producers, engineers and sound designers.