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Show preview: NAB 2016

Virtual reality, drones...and plenty of audio!

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center the 16-21 of April for its annual showcase of the latest media technologies, which this year includes virtual reality, cloud media and drones.

That alone should be enough to tempt you to make the trip (other than the fact that it’s Vegas. You know you love it. We all secretly do.). Here’s some of what’s happening on the audio side of the show…

The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) will make its industry debut in Vegas. The trade alliance is preparing a full schedule of events throughout the show as it looks to promote open standards and interoperability-based transition to media production over IP.

Interoperability demonstrations will feature on a variety of members’ booths, which now spans 22 manufacturers, consultants, service providers, media content producers and distributors.

It will kick off proceedings with a 9am press conference on 18 April, showcasing the AIMS roadmap for the adoption and standardisation of open protocols in the transition to a fully IP based workflow, as well as the alliance’s alignment with the multiple associations and standards bodies, whose work and proposals the AIMS Roadmap endorses.

Calrec Audio is set to unveil a number of networking interfaces, including a 1U Ravenna/AES67 interface (pictured) that can transport 256 channels of audio on a single connection. 

Designed to interface with Calrec’s Hydra2 audio core, which serves Calrec’s Apollo, Artemis and Summa consoles, the 1U box can accept a second expansion card, which increases capacity to up to 512 channels of audio.

Dave Letson, vice president of sales at Calrec, explains: “It is imperative that Calrec supports Ravenna and AES67 as they are popular options for broadcasters seeking an AoIP solution.

“We want to support our customers’ working methods, so we have developed this solution to provide another option that can be chosen with confidence to be fully integrated with Calrec’s consoles.”
Also showcasing Ravenna and AES67 standards will be Digigram, which will present its IP codecs, primarily highlighting the IQOYA call remote-broadcasting AoIP.

It will provide a live demonstration of audio networking interoperability that features 27 networked-audio products employing audio networking technologies such as Dante, Livewire, and Ravenna audio-over-IP protocols.

Digigram will also present its LX-IP PCIe sound card, which, according to the company, facilitates a smooth migration to IP while ensuring secure content delivery with the same latency as digital audio, as well as interoperability with other audio protocols.

ENCO will be demonstrating its visual radio solution for broadcasters. The platform uses ENCO’s DAD radio automation and presenter management interface to deliver a ‘complete multimedia experience’ to web and mobile audiences.

Visual Radio gives is designed to give broadcasters a comprehensive content acquisition and production system for the scheduling and delivery of synchronised video and audio, and also possesses targeted advertising support.

A Visual Radio exhibit at the ENCO booth will demonstrate how operators can create a manual or automated workflow to deliver professional video feeds. The demonstration will also aim to emphasise the speed of the learning curve for live camera switching, and the display of graphical elements including lower-thirds, network bugs, social media feeds and breaking news crawls.

Aaton Digital is set to present its CantarX3 digital sound recorder package, including the new Cantarem2 and recorder accessories.

According to Aaton, the CantarX3 recorder has already made a ‘huge impact’ on the sound recording sector for cinematography, broadcast, drama, and orchestral work.

Complimenting this will be the launch of the new Cantaress advanced mixing surface,

The new Cantaress is the latest contribution of Aaton-Digital to the sound industry, which the company claims presents an ‘extraordinary feel’ even when using gloves, and offers high durability for the intensive user.

Jünger Audio will focus attention on Smart Audio – a new concept aimed at helping broadcasters embrace automated audio production, particularly in live environments.

Jünger’s D*AP range is designed to deliver a Smart Audio experience, and has been equipped with the industry standard Ember+ remote protocol, allowing integration of audio processing equipment with both playout automation systems and logging and monitoring processes.

The range includes natural sounding products for loudness control, audio monitoring, metadata management and Dolby decoding, encoding and transcoding.

Showcased will be the D*AP8 MAP Edition surround monitoring audio processor; the D*AP8 Codec Edition processor that provides a replacement for any discontinued legacy Dolby hardware processor; the D*AP4 VAP Edition two-channel voice audio processor, and the flagship D*AP8 TAP edition television audio processor, which is designed to ensure consistency of loudness and sonic ‘character’ across multiple programme sources. 

Nugen Audio will demonstrate the latest updates to its family of post production and broadcast audio tools, include significant changes to the company’s upmixing, batch processing and offline loudness tools.

It will unveil an all-new option for Halo Upmix (pictured), the company’s solution for upmixing stereo audio to surround. The 9.1 option allows the introduction of vertical positioning into the upmix, generating a 7.1.2 bed track-compatible upmix.

Several updates are immediately available for the Loudness Management Batch (LMB) Processor’s extensions, designed to help clients stay ahead of industry requirements for automated loudness analysis and correction. These updates include improved LRA correction speed for the DynApt extension and wider file format support for the ProRes extension, which now supports .MOV files using version 2 descriptors and those with the LPCM format flag.

Sound Devices will release its firmware version 3.00 update for its 688 mixer/recorder in Vegas, which will include Dan Dugan Sound Design automatic mic mixing.

The addition of the Dugan Speech System is in keeping with Sound Devices’ ongoing commitment to providing sound mixers with the tools they need to mix in an increasingly complex production environment. According to Sound Devices, the addition makes the 688 the ‘go-to’ automixing tool for field production applications.

Jon Tatooles, chief business development officer at Sound Devices, says, “We’re proud to be the first and only field production mixer that offers Dugan automixing. Adding automixing from an industry powerhouse like Dan Dugan Sound Design enhances an already great product.”