2015 NAB Audio Review

As might be expected, this year’s NAB Show focused heavily on networking, as the transition to IP continues to accelerate—not just in audio, but video also. The ecosystem of interoperable products grew at the show and it also seemed as if there were more new audio products being introduced this year than in recent years, with many of them incorporating networking.


SSL’s Andrew Neumiller demos the company’s L300 Live Mixing Console to Broken Famous Productions’ Michael Mitchell.AVID introduced its Pro Tools|S6 Master Joystick Module that features dual nonmotorized, touch-sensitive joysticks for surround sound mixing, and includes a 3.2-inch TFT display for viewing current pan and joystick locations.

AZDEN debuted the FMX-42u mixer, which includes an onboard A-to-D converter and features four inputs, each with three input gain settings and selectable 48 V phantom power.

CALREC and DIGICO consoles can now interoperate via DiGiCo’s newly-launched Orange Box interface fitted with Calrec’s new Hydra2 interface card. An included MADI DMI card allows 112 channels of audio and data to pass from the Hydra2 network. Calrec also unveiled software/hardware enhancements for the Apollo and Artemis consoles, including an expanded user interface and on-screen operator feedback options.

HARMAN unveiled a Studer A-Link fiberbased interface that uses a 3 Gbps data rate to provide 1,536 audio channels per connection. Also new, a PCIe card for Vista X and Vista V consoles can connect up to 12 A-Link interfaces to support more than 10,000 bidirectional channels.

LAWO introduced its mc²56 HD, a newly designed high-density audio console that offers a dual-fader layout in combination with multi-row metering. The company also spotlighted support for RAP (Ross Audio Protocol) alongside Lawo’s standard RAVENNA/AES67 networking. Also on display was the mc²36, a RAVENNA-based all-in-one mixing desk that includes a DSP micro-core, internal 512x512 port audio matrix and integrated I/O. Also new was the mc² Compact I/O compact stage-box for the mc² console family that connects via CAT-5 or optional fiber and provides 32 mic/line inputs, 32 line outputs, plus AES3, GPIO, RAVENNA, and MADI connectivity. The company also showed its JADE software that enables integration via RAVENNA/AES67 of PC-and server-based playout systems, software codec servers, loggers and VoIP systems and other software-based audio products.

LOGITEK showed how its vMix+ works with JetStream AoIP audio networking for displaying key operational features on remote computer monitors. The company also offered a dense-node AoIP architecture that allows its JetStream Mini and JetStream Plus routers to offer user-configurable, high-density I/O, with the JetStream Mini 2RU router providing up to 128 digital or analog I/Os and the 4RU JetStream Plus accommodating up to 240 channels.

MXL MICROPHONES (a division of Marshall Electronics) announced its new MM-4000 Mini Mixer+ portable audio mixer that’s less than six inches long and feeds four electret mics to one output for recording into mobile phones, tablets, DSLRs, and computers.

ROLAND launched the XI-SDI, XI-DVI and XI-SFP XI-Expansion interface cards, offering audio embedding and dis-embedding directly from or to video signals for the company’s M-5000 console.

SOLID STATE LOGIC released v3 software that includes more than 40 new software and hardware features and updates for the SSL Live console range, including an increase in mix paths. Also shown were the new Duality delta and AWS delta consoles that introduce delta-Control (d-Ctrl), a new analog console automation platform for DAW-based workflows that operates as a native AAX/RTAS/AU/VST/VST3 plug-in. Also featured was the new LMC+ module that adds the classic SSL Listen Mic Compressor to the 500 Series format, and includes HP and LP filters, a filters-to-compressor-side-chain option, and a wet/dry blend control.

WHEATSTONE featured a new flagship IP-64 large-format digital mixing console designed with an easy-to-operate surface and supports HD/SDI, AES, MADI, AoIP (including AES67), analog or TDM connectivity. Also new was the 16-fader Series Two console that features a complete tally system, motorized faders, true surround with up/down-mixing between 5.1 and stereo, along with extensive bus and mix-minus capability. Also new was the Gibraltar IP Mix Engine that handles 1,024 channels of audio and is available for Wheatstone’s Dimension Three, Series Four, D8-EX, and the new Series Two and IP-64 digital mixing consoles. The company also showed a new touchscreen option for the IP-networked Dimension Three TV audio console that introduces familiar smartphone features to the console’s control functions.

ENCO introduced the HotShot2 audio playout and clip management package that provides instant access to local or networked audio via a searchable database, is triggered from 560 assigned audio buttons, and includes two TB of storage, GigE, RS-232 serial, keypad and more.

SOUND DEVICES showed its 688, a 12-in/8 out, 16-track portable mixer and 192 kHz recorder that incorporates MixAssist automatic mixing as well as PowerSafe and QuickBoot technologies. Also demo-ed was the new SL-6 SuperSlot accessory that enables three dual-channel slot-compatible wireless receivers from Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, Wisycom, and Audio Ltd. to be interconnected with and powered from the 688.

RENEGADE LABS launched the M3G SDI Multi-Channel Audio Monitoring System, which allows users to quickly monitor embedded audio from any ancillary audio group present in a SMPTE SD/HD/3G SDI video stream.

RTW displayed a new Mastering Tools plug-in for loudness, level, audio analysis and mono-to-7.1 measurement. It’s available as a standard-format plug-in for Windows and Mac OS and offers a wide range of PPM scales, displays and true PPM measurements.

TC ELECTRONIC debuted the Clarity X monitoring system, featuring a suite of metering tools along with a loudness-based stereo deviation meter, center ratio meter, the new LM8 loudness radar meter with 7.1 surround support, true-peak metering, SPL metering and more.

In the TELOS booth, LINEAR ACOUSTIC showed the MT2000 Portable Multichannel Bitstream Analyzer for generating and analyzing encoded audio: AES, TOSLINK optical and 3GHz SDI, DVB-ASI and MADI I/O and with HDCP HDMI input. The MT2000 can decode and output Dolby, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby E and PCM bitstreams.

TSL PRODUCTS showcased its PAM PiCo Touch Media portable monitoring unit with a customizable menu and up to 11 presets. The company also showed its IDS product range which brings together dynamic display functions and can integrate into existing or new control systems. Also featured was the new TallyMan TM1 MK2 model that combines monitoring and control capabilities with dual GigE connectivity, dual redundant power supplies, and isolated relay GPOs in 1RU.

WHEATSTONE and EVENTIDE announced a partnership to combine Eventide’s BD600W delay unit with WheatNet-IP networking built-in for seamless integration of profanity delay into the WheatNet-IP audio and control network.

GENELEC launched the 7040A, an ultra-compact subwoofer designed to complement the company’s 8010, 8020 and M030 active monitors. It features an enclosure design that allows it to achieve a high SPL and move high volumes of air without distortion. The company also featured a new generation of Smart Active Monitoring systems: the 8320 (4-inch woofer), 8330 (5-inch woofer), and complementary 7350 8-inch subwoofer.

SONIFEX unveiled the Redbox Acoustic Echo Canceller (RB-AEC), a unique product designed to eliminate voice echoes in a TV presenters’ earpiece. The DSP solution dynamically compensates for varying delay configurations and is designed to produce broadcast quality cancellation.


Victor Borachuck of JupiterReturn and Natalia Tanus of SP2Brazil learn the intricacies of DPA Microphone’s in-ear option from DPS’s Leonardo Romero.CALREC debuted Fieldbox, new Hydra2-networked 1RU half-rack units for broadcast environments where I/Os need to be spread over a large area. Also on display was the new H2Hub that provides a hub or switch point for a Hydra2 network, enabling a single connection from the router to be switched via the H2Hub to multiple I/O units, or to multiple H2Hubs.

GATESAIR introduced VMXpress IP, a networked audio and logic device that enables the introduction of AES67-compliant signals to its VistaMax console and audio distribution products.

LINEAR ACOUSTIC spotlighted the SDI xNode interface with dual HD/SDSDI inputs and outputs, and dual Ethernet interfaces. It allows multiple SDI or other xNodes to be connected to an Aero.soft server with an Axia xSwitch or via an existing Livewire network.

ORBAN debuted its Model 1600 OPTIMOD-PCN broadcast-quality audio processing software, available both as a software-only product for Orban-approved Windows 7 (and higher) computers and pre-installed on a host Windows computer. Orban also showcased its StreamS professional enterprise-class streaming audio encoder, with support for Apple HLS, and soon MPEG/DASH. It uses AAC-LC and AAC-HE from Fraunhofer to achieve high fidelity audio streaming that is licensed for commercial use.

SSL featured its Network I/O: MADI-Bridge, a MADI-to-Dante interface built for fully-redundant operation and sporting multiple sync options and GPIO tally data transfer capabilities. The company also announced new Stagebox models: Network I/O: SB 8.8 with eight mic/line inputs and eight line level outputs; and Network I/O: SB i16 with 16 mic/line inputs. Both feature redundant Dante network connections, a pair of network extension connections, GPIO connectivity and redundant PSUs.

STUDIO TECHNOLOGIES showed its model 5205 interface that sports two mic/line inputs with adjustable gain, 48 Volt phantom power, and level metering. Also displayed was the model 5330 that supports a wide range of applications, offers a combination of analog audio inputs, outputs and monitor features. They also featured the model 5414 that provides four mic/line inputs with adjustable gain, phantom power, high-pass filtering and level metering, along with four balanced line-level analog outputs and a flexible monitor section.

The TELOS ALLIANCE featured an improved Livewire AoIP protocol; Livewire+, offering full compliance with the AES67 interoperability standard.

YAMAHA launched its RSio64-D I/O audio interface, which provides up to 64 I/Os with Dante/Mini-YGDAI card conversion for broadcast, recording, live sound, and other professional audio applications.

AUDIO-TECHNICA debuted its BP40 large-diaphragm broadcast microphone, a hypercardioid dynamic vocal microphone with switchable 100 Hz high-pass filter. Also displayed was the System 10 camera-mount digital wireless system that operates in the 2.4 GHz range and is available in handheld, lavalier, and body-pack configurations.

AZDEN showed its new SGM-250 shotgun mic that houses a newly-engineered element with 20 Hz to 20 kHz response, operates on AA battery or phantom power, and includes a two-step low-cut filter and a gold-plated XLR connector.

DPA MICROPHONES debuted its d:facto interview mic, featuring an omnidirectional capsule and sensitivity that adjusts down 12 dB to accommodate typical interview mic and wireless handle sensitivities. Also featured was the d:fine in-ear broadcast headset mic that includes ear pads in two different sizes and a microphone capsule for either omnidirectional or directional pickup.

LECTROSONICS introduced its smallest full-featured UHF bodypack microphone transmitter, the SSM (Super Slight Micro). It features a wide tuning bandwidth with up to 3,072 frequency choices and RF power selectable for 25 or 50 mW.

SENNHEISER debuted its AVX wireless microphone systems for video cameras that operate in the 1.9 GHz range. The receiver plugs directly into the camera, automatically pairs with the microphone, and switches on with the camera. The company also showed the MKE 2 digital it developed in concert with Apogee, which combines Apogee’s pre-amp and 24-bit/96 kHz A/D conversion with Sennheiser’s pro lavalier mic for recording on iOS devices.

SHURE unveiled its BRH50M dual-sided broadcast headset that features a dynamic mic on a boom which pivots 270 degrees for left-or right-side wear and has a closed-back supra-aural headphone design. Also shown was the MOTIV MVL omnidirectional condenser lavalier microphone that connects directly to any iOS or Android device. They also announced the pending release of Wireless Workbench 6.11, with new features to improve workflow efficiency and network management of wireless system performance.

AEQ showed its CrossNET digital intercom matrix that accommodates up to 168x168 ports, 128 of them via Dante, and also offers 12 analog ports, eight digital ports, and 20 AoIP ports with connection to Kroma series equipment.

CLEAR-COM unveiled Agent-IC, a mobile app that provides Eclipse-HX Matrix intercom system users with remote access from an iPhone or iPad over 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi/IP networks. Also featured was a newly-designed set of IFB assignment and management capabilities within EHX configuration software and the integrated Production Maestro Pro assignment facility. They also demoed FreeSpeak II, which operates in multiple license-free DECT bands from 1.897 to1.933 GHz and includes a new five-channel digital beltpack design. Also displayed were the LQ series of IP interface devices.

RIEDEL launched its RSP-2318 Smartpanel, designed to serve as a powerful multifunctional user interface. Riedel also unveiled Tango TNG-200, the company’s first network-based platform supporting RAVENNA/AES67 and AVB standards. The unit is equipped with a high-resolution, full-color TFT display that ensures perfect readability at all times. Also new is the STX-200 professional broadcast-grade interface, which integrates Skype into its intercom platform.

RTS INTERCOM SYSTEMS featured their new KP-Series keypanel family with OMNEO IP technology and featuring Dante compatibility and OCA (Open Control Architecture) system control along with high-resolution color displays and multifunction levers.

AVID and DOLBY announced plans to develop include Dolby Atomos metadata integration with Avid Pro Tools. Avid also announced a joint effort between Avid and Waves Audio to support Waves plug-ins in Avid’s Venue|S6L console via Waves Sound-Grid. Avid also announced that the new Sibelius music composition software is now optimized for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet and touch gestures.

LINEAR ACOUSTIC showcased their scalable server-based Aero.soft processing engines that are identical to those in the AERO.100/1000/2000. They can be equipped with optional Dolby coding, and interface with as many analog, AES, or SDI signals as needed using xNodes and Livewire audio-over-IP technology.

TSL PRODUCTS presented its Phinix file-based audio solutions, a suite of desktop and enterprise tools for loudness measurement and correction as well as Dolby-E encoding and decoding.

IZOTOPE debuted an RX loudness control plug-in that automatically analyzes audio and renders out a compliant file with an accompanying CSV-formatted loudness report in just two clicks.

TC ELECTRONIC showed off its LCn Loudness Correct in Pro Tools plug-in or standalone versions. It includes watch folder capability for automatic batch-normalization of multiple audio files and is available for stereo or 5.1 surround.

KLOTZ introduced its custom-configurable Touchstone universal interface that combines physical controls and a touch-sensitive surface, and communicates via USB, Ethernet, and RS-232. It controls a variety of software and hardware from the one device.

Steve Harvey began writing for Pro Sound News and Surround Professional in 2000 and is currently senior content producer for Mix and a contributor to TV Tech. He has worked in the pro audio industry—as a touring musician, in live production, installed sound, and equipment sales and marketing—since November 1980.