Roland’s Professional A/V division recently introduced a new digital audio mixing platform called O.H.R.C.A. to address the growing wish lists of audio professionals who were requesting high-quality sound, flexible architecture and an open audio network that integrates with most audio-over-Ethernet protocols. O.H.R.C.A. stands for “Open, High-Resolution, Configurable Architecture.” The Roland M-5000 Live Mixing Console is our first audio product that employs this new technology, with future products in the works. The M-5000 serves users’ needs in a variety of applications by delivering freely definable audio paths, a flexible user interface and workflows, expandable future-proof protocols, and multiformat I/O choices, all delivered at 96 kHz sound quality.
Sound engineers are purists, wanting to maintain an original and clean sound. Some sound engineers have said that digital consoles and digital processing take away from the warmth of the original sound. The digital circuitry of O.H.R.C.A. was designed with sound quality in mind and a meticulous attention to processing quality while maintaining smooth fidelity with the warmth of the original sound.. The effects section also adopts our own innovative 32-bit floating-point processing optimized for computational accuracy, enhancing both dynamic range and precision while the summing circuit is 72-bit. The EQs use state-variable filters that have a proven track record in analog circuitry as well as high-precision computing power that generates zero noise, even when parameters are changed. The dynamics section uses a high-precision exponential circuit to accomplish sophisticated level control. We believe all of this investment in engineering will satisfy even the purists!
One of the engineering goals of the O.H.R.C.A. platform was to provide users with the ability to create a console architecture that suits their mixing needs. To achieve this, a newly designed audio processor was designed and is optimized by using field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) that make high-speed computation for the mixing section possible. The 128 I/Os can be assigned for extra auxes for monitoring, or for 5.1 and mix-minus for broadcast. Additional applications include FOH and theater.
Today’s world of live audio transport over Ethernet employs many distinct protocols. In 2005, we introduced a protocol called REAC (Roland Ethernet Audio Communication), a point-to-point, two-way, very-low-latency, high-quality digital audio transport for live-sound use and commercial applications. We saw a need to bridge the REAC protocol with other transport protocols so we developed an expansion card system that allows it to work with other popular audio transport protocols.
The Roland M-5000 offers two REAC ports and one split port built-in, plus two expansion card slots to support a range of protocols such as Dante, MADI, SDI and Waves SoundGrid, as well as additional REAC ports. The XI-Expansion Interface Cards also support SDI, DVI and SFP digital audio and video transport protocols. Roland is one of the first companies to support digital audio-over-video transport protocols to de-embed audio coming from SDI or DVI. When used with the M-5000 console, the XI-SDI, XI-DVI and XISFP expansion interface cards add direct audio I/O capabilities for video workflows.
In developing the O.H.R.C.A. platform and the M-5000, Roland’s R&D department spoke with numerous live sound engineers and found that the number-one request was a fast workflow. O.H.R.C.A.’s 12-inch color touch screen, 28 channel faders in four groups, multifunction knobs and buttons, “touch and turn” functions, and user-assignable section make mixing fast and accurate. The channel and user-assignment displays utilize bright, full-color organic technology for high visibility in any lighting situation. A user-assignable section consisting of four encoders and eight buttons in three banks provides quick access to key functions.
The O.H.R.C.A. platform represents a foundation for users and Roland to build on in the future.
Doug Schouten is a pro audio sales engineer at Roland.
Roland Professional A/V