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AoIP among hot topics discussed at BVE 2018

Broadcast Video Expo (BVE) returned to its now established home at the Excel exhibition centre in London’s Docklands at the end of February. This point in the calendar has not been much of a problem before at this venue, but this year, visitors, exhibitors and press had to brave cold and snowy conditions in a bid to see and discuss the latest TV, audio and radio technology.

Those who did make it through would have noticed that challenging the visual preoccupations with ultra high definition and higher dynamic range (HDR) were the current hot sound topics of audio over IP (AoIP) and frequency spectrum for wireless microphones. AoIP intercom was a noticeable trend, particularly for smaller scale installations. The Big Three comms companies – Clear-Com, Riedel Communications and RTS – have established technologies in this field but it was manufacturers less well known for intercoms that attracted much of the attention.

The Telos Alliance launched Infinity at IBC 2017 and was due to start delivering to its first customers for the new intercom during March. Martin Dyster, vice president of business development with the Alliance’s TV Solutions Group, could not give names but said they were “a mixture of European and US clients”.

Infinity is based on the Telos Livewire+ AoIP protocol with AES67 compliance to work with other formats in a larger network. It is a plug-and-play device and, unlike larger intercom systems, does not feature a matrix. Dyster confirmed that Infinity, the first in a new range of AoIP products, is being aimed at television as well as radio broadcast.

Sonifex expanded its AoIP intercom range with the AVN-TB6AR and AVN-TB20AR, which are six button and 20 button units respectively. The company also had a prototype pattress box mounting for the desktop versions, which managing director Marcus Brooke said was aimed more at the installation market. Sonifex is now working on Dante versions of its AoIP products after signing up as a licensee of the protocol earlier in the year. Brooke commented that new Dante-equipped products would be due early next year.

Glensound’s Beatrice intercom is designed to work on Dante networks and is also compatible with AES67. The range, now in full production, includes an eight-channel rack mount (R8), four-channel belt pack (B4) and four-channel desktop (D4) versions. Since IBC Glensound released the Paradiso Lite, a lower cost version of the Paradiso Dante/AES67 commentary box, which was on display alongside the Beatrices.

Beyond intercom, IP is well established for interfacing and is increasing its hold in the consoles sector. Distributor Aspen Media covered both of these, showing the full range of products by interface specialist DirectOut and the latest mixing desk from Stage Tec. DirectOut recently signed up to Dante and now offers EXBOX.MD, a bi-directional Dante to MADI box. Another connectivity option comes in the form of the SoundGrid from Waves equipped EXBOX.MD. Stage Tec’s Avatus is a modular “distributed remote console”, that can be configured from 12 up to 96 channels with compatibility to AES67, RAVENNA and Dante.

Swiss console manufacturer Mandozzi demonstrated the Bea3X multi-purpose digital I/O and DSP expander, which also features routing capability. It enables a mixer to be built up from four faders and can handle inputs and outputs in both MADI and AoIP (Dante/AES67).

Digital recorder developer JoeCo has been working with Dante for approximately seven years on its multi-track machines but at BVE was focusing more on what managing director Joe Bull described as a “new adventure for us”. The Cello desktop interface features Adaptive Conversion technology, 22 inputs and four outputs with an USB 2.0 connection to both Mac and PC.

In wireless audio, all manufacturers are investigating how to provide as much capacity as possible with fewer frequencies. Wisycom, distributed in the UK by Raycom, has produced new firmware for its MTP40 wideband body pack transmitter – and other products – which enables two transmitters to be positioned closer together in the spectrum without causing inter-modulation problems. By putting one radio mic amplifier 90-degrees out of phase to the next, Wisycom/Raycom says it is possible to accommodate 40 radio mics in a single TV channel at the cost of “a little bit of battery life”.

On the new product front, HHB gave the RødeLink Performer kit its UK debut. This includes the TX-M2 condenser handheld mic and RX-DESK receiver, which operate in the licence free 2.4GHz band with a range of up to 100 metres. New wired mics continue to appear: Polar Audio showed beyerdynamics’ first USB model, the Fox. This opens new markets for the manufacturer – including internet radio and home production – and will retail for around £159.

BVE 2018 was certainly hit by the bad weather. Many potential visitors either couldn’t make it to Excel or were put off trying. But it still appeared busy, with a lot on display and to discuss. Let’s just hope the so-called Beast from the East doesn’t put in another appearance next year.

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