Audio highlights

There were plenty of new digital products at NAB.
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It was clear by the attendance in the North Hall, where many of the audio companies resided, that audio definitely was not playing second string to other technologies at this year's NAB Show.

DTV-ready monitoring

Continuing the DTV transition, many companies showed new or updated audio monitoring systems. Wohler Technologies introduced the AMP2-16-3G, an audio monitor that displays up to 16 channels of embedded audio within a single 3Gb/s signal. It permits near-field monitoring for any mix of stereo and mono sources in a 2RU package and supports demuxed outputs of eight AES pairs on BNC connectors, as well as a reclocked loop output of the 3Gb/s signal.

TSL unveiled its PAM1-3G8, a compact, multichannel Dolby D/E monitor. The 1RU unit supports all standards up to and including 1080p 60Hz and enables comprehensive monitoring of discrete 5.1 or Dolby encoded audio. The front panel features bar graphs for loudness, plus Dolby metadata information. It has internal loudspeakers, stereo downmix capability and displays incoming video.

For master control rooms, Studio Technologies showed the 76DB/77B surround monitoring systems, which offer multisource selection, dialnorm support, one-touch access of stereo and mono downmix, channel solo and level adjustment. They also provide both analog and digital speaker outputs. The Model 76DB Central Controller is rack-mountable and offers two surround (5.1) and three stereo (two-channel) digital inputs that are compatible with AES3 sources. The unit directly supports sample rates of up to 192kHz and bit depth of up to 24.

Audio consoles

Calrec introduced the new Apollo, which integrates an updated version of its Bluefin technology, Bluefin2. At 48kHz operation, Apollo provides up to 1020 channel-processing paths, 128 program busses, 96 IFB/track outputs and 48 auxiliaries. At 96kHz, it offers 510 channel-processing paths, 64 program busses, 48 IFB/track outputs and 24 auxiliaries. It also features OLED displays, touch screens and light-emitting knobs, in addition to an integrated Riedel Artist intercom system.

Solid State Logic featured the C10 HD console, which offers many of the benefits of the C100 HD but is designed for smaller stations. The C10 HD integrates all DSP signal processing and operating hardware into a convection-cooled control surface.

Wheatstone introduced three new consoles. For major market operations, the D-5.2 accommodates up to 146 faders. For small and midmarket stations, the D-8 surround-sound console is a full-featured 30-fader mixer with touch-screen control. Finally, the company's D-16 is an updated version of its D-12 with eight added aux sends, all sized for small rooms and OB trucks.

Encoding

Harris showed the integration of DTS Neural Surround UpMix, DownMix, MultiMerge and Loudness Control options into its audio and video processing products.

Jünger Audio showcased its Level Magic technology, which provides a fully integrated workflow for managing surround sound and Dolby coded 5.1 audio signals in production, ingest and playout environments. The company also showed the C8086-8, an eight-channel DSP card that incorporates a Dolby Metadata Generator option, which enables users to verify, modify or generate metadata, including dialnorm.

Dolby's new DP569 audio encoder supports encoded bit ranges of 56kb/s to 640kb/s and channel configurations from mono to 5.1 channel surround sound. The unit features selectable sample rate converters on the inputs and is capable of creating SMPTE 339M time stamp data bursts for sync with downstream equipment. Designed for DTV and disc-authoring applications, it supports all metadata including the Dolby Digital Surround EX flag that enables downstream consumer A/V receivers and decoders to recognize the format.

Mics and wireless systems

Audio-Technica introduced the BP896, a subminiature, omnidirectional condenser lavalier measuring only 2.5mm in diameter. It also showed the BP4071L shotgun mic, which provides greater directionality even though longer shotgun mics typically become omnidirectional.

Wireless mics were in many booths. Lectrosonics featured its D4 digital wireless system, with a four-channel point-to-point design that operates in the ISM band of 902MHz-928MHz. The system has both analog and digital I/Os and is extremely portable. AKG showed its DMS-700, which operates with two frequency bands, each band providing a tuning range of up to 155MHz. Sennheiser introduced the 2000 series, featuring Ethernet addressability and integrated antenna splitting for up to 16 channels.