Steve Harvey /
10.11.2013 11:00 AM
AES to Focus on Audio in a Multi-Device World
Event will cover audio for 4KTV and session on Superstorm Sandy response
NEW YORK—The Audio Engineering Society will bring its “big tent” approach to all things sound-related when the annual U.S. convention rolls into the Javits Center in New York City, Oct. 17–20. Judging by the recent audio product launches at last month’s IBC Show, there will be plenty for broadcasters to look at in New York.

NEW PRODUCTS
New mixing console developments will be at the forefront. Calrec will debut its Callisto Bluefin2-based live broadcast console, a simplified version of its larger desks. Callisto is available in fixed 32- or 44-fader versions, and channel strips feature only the essential mechanical controls.

Solid State Logic will show off new software for its C100 HDS and C10 HD consoles, adding significant workflow efficiencies to both desks. Either system may also be configured with a new multichannel loudness metering system, LMS-16, developed with Nugen Audio. SSL’s new MADIDante Bridge is reportedly the world’s first broadcast specification bridge between the multichannel transport standard and Audinate’s IP audio network.

Studer has added Lexicon effects to the Vista 1 console via an integrated VistaFX engine that adds eight processors. A collaboration with Riedel brings a 10,000 x 10,000- plus routing system to Studer desks via a new proprietary A-Link digital interface.

A must-see will be Avid’s S6 console, which offers a customizable hardware layout and can operate up to eight Eucon-enabled DAWs simultaneously.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

David Bialik chairs this year’s Broadcast and Streaming sessions program at AES.
Meanwhile, away from the exhibit floor, this year’s four-day schedule of themed sessions and other programming will offer plenty of interest to broadcasters.

The Broadcast and Streaming sessions program, chaired for the 27th year by David Bialik, will once again assemble a panel of experts to discuss the global state of TV loudness. Chaired by Fred Willard, chief engineer at Univision Communications in Washington, D.C., the panel will include representatives from ORF-Austrian TV and Fraunhofer as well as product manufacturers DTS, Linear Acoustic, Orban, RTW and TC Electronic.

With all eyes seemingly focused on 4K, touted as the “next big thing” for television, Bialik, who is also project manager for streaming operations at CBS Radio in New York, has put together a panel that will contemplate how audio might enhance the Ultra HD experience. Jonathan Abrams of Nutmeg Post in New York will chair the session, “Audio for 4K TV.” Both the loudness and 4K audio events will take place Thursday, Oct. 17, starting at 9 a.m.

In addition to any potential improvements in the resolution and quality of the audio that might accompany a higher-resolution picture, some have also advocated for various so-called “3D audio” schemes— multichannel surround sound with a height component. Japan’s NHK has experimented with a 22.2-channel format for years, but cinema audio formats might also present a way forward. Brian McCarty, who is liaising with SMPTE to spearhead an AES initiative to update the cinema audio standard, will chair a session entitled “Creative Dimension of Immersive Sound - Sound in 3D,” that will discuss the strengths, limitations and future potential of both object-based and channel-based methods. McCarty is the managing director of Australian-based Coral Sea Studios.

Avid’s S6 console offers a customizable hardware layout and can operate up to eight Eucon-enabled DAWs simultaneously.
With companies such as DTS now offering personal “3D audio” playback via its Headphone:X product, multichannel surround film formats could potentially port over to mobile platforms.

“Mobile is where it’s at,” said Bialik, who has organized two panels, “Content Delivery and the Mobile Initiative” and “Audio for Mobile TV,” that will discuss the topic. “These should be great panels.”

DIVERGING PATHS
Some of those involved in those panels, including Linear Acoustic President Tim Carroll and Jim Starzynski, director and principle audio engineer for NBCUniversal, are also scheduled to participate in a four-hour AES special event produced by the DTV Audio Group, “Audio Production and Distribution in an Evolving Program Delivery Landscape.” The forum, open to all AES attendees, will debate the impact on television audio of object-oriented, mobile and OTT streaming formats, and the long-term implications of the grab by telecommunications companies for more wireless bandwidth.

According to Roger Charlesworth, executive director of the DTV Audio Group, the path to audio delivery on mobile platforms is diverging. On one hand, it could offer high-quality, multichannel sound based on cinema formats. On the other, the requirement to deliver to mobile platforms could easily drive down audio quality.

“The demand for more sophisticated interactive and object-oriented services on next-generation streaming appliances, and the transition to streaming of highly sophisticated cinema formats at the very high end, are directly at odds with the common perception that television audio now needs to be dumbed down for mobile and desktop streaming,” he said.

The panel “TVBDs, Geo-Location Databases, and Upcoming Spectrum Auctions,” will feature a panel of experts from the FCC, location database Spectrum Bridge, wireless audio equipment manufacturers and consultants, and will address the assault on the frequency spectrum. Having lost access to the 700 MHz band, and with the 600 MHz spectrum now likely to be auctioned off, wireless audio equipment is being squeezed into less and less bandwidth (See “Wireless Mic Users Unite,” Sept. 4). This panel will offer tips and techniques for anyone operating RF audio gear professionally to survive the shrinking spectrum.

An interesting case study, “Broadcasting During a Disaster,” will look at how broadcasters managed to stay on-air when Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast last year. Panelists from CBS, ABC/ Disney and WADO/Univision will relate how they weathered the storm and fulfilled their roles as “first informers.”

Acoustic treatment can be a last-minute thought in broadcast facility design and construction. John Storyk, Walters-Storyk Design Group, and Jim Servies, ESPN, along with moderator Sergio Molho, WSDG, will offer two case studies. ESPN’s new Bridgeport, Conn. production complex represents the ideal, where acousticians were engaged at the earliest possible opportunity. At the opposite end of the scale, QTV in Doha, Qatar had to take corrective measures after building a new broadcast production complex that was found to have excessive reverberation and other acoustic problems.

Finally, a guilty pleasure: “Sound for Reality Television - Reality is Hard Work” will investigate the challenges of capturing, post-producing and mixing audio in a genre that everybody claims they don’t watch but obviously do, if the viewing figures are to be believed.

To register for AES, visit www.aes.org.



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