2011 NAB Show Product Review: Audio

Despite a wide range of new audio product introductions, there seemed to be just one word on everyone's lips—loudness. But there were plenty of other products at the NAB Show too. Networking and distribution platforms based on MADI, audio over IP, and other transports continue to grow, with manufacturers offering systems that variously combine I/O, mixing, processing, routing, communications and other functionalities.


Ravi Velhal (foreground) of Intel and Raphael Trindade of Libor Com in Brazil test the Studer Vista 9 audio console. Photo by Dawley/KovacsCalrec Audio's Hydra2 Operator (H2O) is a remotely accessible management system that enhances the flexibility of the Hydra2 network router in multi-console environments.

DiGiCo launched the SD7B, a broadcast version of its popular live sound desk, which handles well over 1,000 inputs and features 128 busses, comprehensive processing, Stealth effects, and supports up to 5.1 panning and multi-operator use. The SD10B mixing console allows stereo, LCR, 5.1, or up to 11 mono channels to be “folded” under a single fader strip.

Harris introduced the PR&E RMXengine, which automatically generates mix-minus signals for every fader on the RMXdigital console and also enables advanced dual-console operation.

Lawo enhanced its mc² consoles with integrated loudness metering. The company also displayed its Sapphire radio and TV broadcast console. The company's V4.12 software release adds new features such as AMBIT, a DSP upmixing module. Lawo also introduced an application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that can remote control faders, load snapshots and trigger many custom functions.

Roland Systems Group debuted the M-480 digital mixing console, the latest addition to its REAC-based (Roland Ethernet Audio Communication) V-Mixing System lineup.

Solid State Logic announced the C-Play Audio Playout System for its C100 HDS and C10 HD digital broadcast consoles. The GUI provides access to all expected playout system functions, some of which also map to physical controls. V4 software for SSL's C100 HDS and v3 software for the C10 adds C-Play, includes integration with Mosart Medialab Newscast Automation, and adds other enhancements. It also introduces Loop Redundancy Mode for the SSL MORSE Stagebox and the new Alpha-Link LIVE-R MADI I/O unit.

Sound Devices launched its MixPre-D two-channel USB audio interface, which accommodates the increasing variety of cameras and devices currently in use.

Harman's AKG and Soundcraft lines combined to provide Vistonics Microphone Monitoring (VM2) real-time displays of HiQnet-compatible AKG wireless microphones via a Soundcraft Vi console surface.

Studer's Vista 5 console may be optionally upgraded to the M2 version with the addition of precision TFT metering system. Studer's Vista 9 now supplements its Vistonics interface with TFT-based metering, FaderGlow and numerous other features.

Wheatstone's Dimension One control surface features Automatic Mic Mixing, AFV and up/downmixing to/from 5.1. Wheatstone's Sideboard brings full-size console functionality and features to a rackmount form factor that acts as a front end to Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP Intelligent Network.

Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems and Dan Dugan Sound Design launched the 16-channel Dugan-MY16 real-time voice-activated automatic mic mixing card for current Yamaha digital mixers and processors.

Robb Blumenreder, channel manager, professional systems with Sennheiser, shows off the company's two new shotgun microphones, the MKH 8070 and MKH 8060. Photo by Dawley/KovacsAUDIO MONITORING

Genelec featured the 1238CF compact powered DSP monitoring loudspeaker with two eight-inch long-throw bass drivers, a five-inch proprietary midrange driver and a one-inch metal dome tweeter. The company’s BroadcastPak provides space-saving 5.1 monitoring with five 8030A bi-amplified monitors and a 7050B active subwoofer.

Neumann has entered the loudspeaker market with the KH 120 compact near-field studio monitor, incorporating a Mathematically Modeled Dispersion (MMD) waveguide, flexible acoustical controls and class-AB amplifiers.


The handheld digital Nagra SD records PCM or MPEG compressed audio to an extractable SD memory card and includes USB 2.0 communications. Nagra showed off the 60th anniversary edition of its Nagra VI 8-channel hard disk Compact Flash digital recorder.

The new R-1000 48-track recorder/player from Roland Systems Group can be used standalone or integrated into a V-Mixing System via Cat5e/6 cable.

Tascam launched its HS-2000 two-track and HS-4000 4-track recorders for dual Compact Flash media. Tascam's new DR-05 portable recorder features a pair of condenser microphones and records in MP3 or WAV (BWF) file format at up to 96 kHz/24-bit resolution.

Zaxcom's Nomad, designed for location sound, can record up to 12 tracks from its18 analog inputs onto dual CF cards in the company's Mobile Audio Recording Format (MAFI), or FAT32.


The new PR&E VMReact from Harris is a logic processing device that enhances VistaMax networked audio systems with automated responses to changes in audio routes, logical conditions and other events.

Lawo demonstrated Nova29, a new compact 16-port MADI router and has an integral intercom function.

Wheatstone's Razor Blade allows a 1RU digital I/O interface, configured via WheatNet-IP Navigator software, to be placed anywhere on the Intelligent Network.


The dual elements of Audio-Technica's AT2022 X/Y stereo condenser mic pivot to provide 90-degree (narrow) or 120-degree (wide) stereo operation.

Sennheiser introduced the MKH 8060 short shotgun and the MKH 8070 long shotgun. Both condensers can operate as AES42 digital mics with the addition of the MZD 8000 module.

Shure previewed four new professional shotgun microphones, variants of the VP89, and available in interchangeable long, medium and short lengths, and also the camera-mounting VP82.

Daniel Toni (R) with Tapages & Nocturnes in Paris, France, listens to John Kowalski describe the features of the Clear-Com HME DX210 single or twochannel wireless intercom system. Photo by Dawley/KovacsWIRELESS

Audio-Technica has extended the abilities of the SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband (UWB) wireless microphone system with the new mtu301 body-pack transmitter.

Azden introduced the Azden WHD-PRO Audio Kit, designed to provide high quality audio for HDSLR and Mini DV Cameras. Housed in a protective carrying case the system includes a high quality wireless microphone and a directional stereo microphone for most types of audio applications.

Sennheiser introduced key features of its Wireless System Manager (WSM) software that allows the evolution Wireless ew 300 G3, ew 500 G3 and 2000 Series to be networked and programmed without a computer.

Shure's new Axient wireless microphone system automatically changes frequencies to avoid interference. New Wireless Workbench 6 software provides monitoring and control of the entire system. Shure previewed two new complementary components to its UHF-R wireless systems, the UR5 portable receiver and UR3 plug-on transmitter.


Axia Audio has added two new freestanding intercom stations, the IC.20D and IC.1D Desktop, to its IP Intercom system.

Clear-Com's Tempest900 900 MHz digital wireless intercom system from was offered in 2- and 4-channel versions, and shares features and functionality with the Tempest2400. Clear-Com's new 2.4 GHz band HME DX210 two-channel intercom system supports up to 16 full-duplex and 44 half-duplex beltpacks and/or wireless headsets.

Riedel Communications unveiled its MediorNet Compact, which offers a network bandwidth sufficient for bi-directional transport of 12 HD-SDI signals, dozens of MADI streams or Gigabit Ethernet signals, and hundreds of audio channels or intercom ports. The company's new Artist CCP-1116 combines two commentary positions with high-quality mic preamps, limiter and metering, along with the intercom features from the Artist 1100 series intercom panels.

RTS Intercom Systems extended its ADAM platform with a new compact matrix frame supporting eight interface cards. Also new was the RTS VLink (Virtual Linked Intercom) system, a fully interconnected, DHCP-compliant virtual communications solution that allows remote interface to RTS matrix intercom systems via the Internet. The Zeus III LE and LE+ digital intercom matrices support 16 I/Os plus an additional two channels of party-line interface via a built-in hybrid for connecting to RTS TW, Telex Audiocom and Clearcom party-line systems.

Telex RadioCom presented the BTR-80N Narrow Band wireless intercom system, with 25 kHz of modulated bandwidth allowing more users per channel.


Aphex's Channel packs seven devices, including a reflected-plate amplifier tube mic preamp, compression, gating, de-esser, parametric EQ, Aural Exciter, and Big Bottom bass enhancement, into a compact, single rack space design.

Jünger Audio launched two new combo cards for its modular C8000 dynamic processing system. The dual combo C8586 provides two SDI streams of four channels each, while the C8582 8-channel analog and DSP card handles four stereo pairs.

RTW showed new firmware for its TouchMonitor Series TM9 and TM7 meters.

TSL's PAM2i-C offers external screen monitoring capability and IT-network integration. The PAM1-3G16 adds many of the advanced features of the multi-award-winning PAM2-3G16 in a 1RU multichannel audio monitoring unit with a 16-bargraph display.

Ward-Beck introduced the M6205-3G, 3GHz capable processing platform for embedded audio PCM, DTS and Dolby encoded that includes shuffling, replacement, level control, up-mix, down-mix, and mono to stereo.

Wheatstone's ip88ve audio processing blade houses eight fully independent Vorsis- embedded multi-band stereo audio processors with eight AES digital stereo I/O pairs.

Wohler's new MADI-8 monitors eight channels from an AES10 stream via coax and optical MADI inputs and outputs. The flagship Wohler AMP2-16V audio/video processing monitor has been enhanced with SMPTE 2020 metadata monitoring plus input selection and display options. Wohler's new D-Series of eight-channel multiformat audio monitors offer a lower-cost system for operators who only require decoding of Dolby Digital (AC-3) signals.


DaySequerra's new MultiMerge TV is a two-channel stereo solution featuring DTS Neural Surround DownMix with DTS Neural Loudness Control ensuring CALM Act compliance.

Jack Wu (L) of Linear Acoustic demos the AERO.calm loudness processor to Don Sturzenbecher of KDLT. Photo by Dawley/KovacsCobalt Digital introduced the 9086 Embedded Loudness Processor, featuring Linear Acoutics' AEROMAX technology. The cost-effective 9086-SD offers stereo loudness processing for embedded audio on SD-SDI, and can be field up-graded to 9086-HD functionality at a later date.

DK-Technologies unveiled two versions of its new low-cost DK Meter: the stereo DK1 and 5.1 DK2. No bigger than an iPhone, it supports all known loudness measurement recommendations.

The new eFF (emotion File Finish) software application from eMotion Systems automatically analyzes and fixes audio loudness violations in file-based media.

Fraunhofer's Metadata Transcoder converts ATSC A/52 metadata into the AAC format in real time from AC-3 sources and is now offered in the company's codecs.

Harris' APM6803+ multichannel audio processing station includes DTS Neural loudness control and may be configured with DTS Neural Surround Upmix, Downmix and MultiMerge, and dual Dolby encoders and decoders.

Jünger Audio upgraded its T*AP TV Audio Processor with LEVEL MAGIC, by adding a new Sharc-based DSP solution that allows for very precise audio analysis.

Linear Acoustic debuted AERO.calm (Coded Audio Loudness Manager), which is designed to control loudness and dynamic range without affecting the original content. The company introduced a new slimmer, lighter AERO.air transmission audio/loudness manager. The LQ-1000 Loudness Quality Monitor has been upgraded with new standard features.

Merging Technologies presented the Final Check optional add-on for the Pyramix Virtual Studio workstation, which includes essential measurement and display options for stereo and 5.1 surround mixes.

Minnetonka Audio Software AudioTools Loudness Control Server is an enterprise-level software suite for automated loudness control of audio files in both linear PCM and encoded formats.

Miranda introduced the Axino multi-program, IP transport stream loudness control processor. Axino can process multiple audio services, including Dolby Digital (AC3), from a single or multiple programs carried over IP.

Ross Video introduced the LDP-8242, which uses Linear Acoustics' AEROMAX technology to automatically manage and correct loudness.

New software for RTW's 31900/31960 SurroundControl series supports EBU/ITU loudness regulations. The company's line of DigitalMonitor 10500X-PLUS instruments features a new mode that activates an ITU-compliant scale for the loudness display.

TC Electronic announced a new software version for its TC TouchMonitor TM7 and TM9 meters, adding dual radar display to the optional LM6 loudness radar meter algorithm. TC's DB4 MKII and DB8 MKII cross-platform broadcast processors now conform to new EBU, ATSC and ITU Loudness and true-peak level standards.

Volicon's new Observer Loudness Monitoring application provides continuous measurements identifying program loudness and true-peak signal levels.

Wheatstone's ALP-1000 combines processing and loudness control as well as up/downmixing, with separate dedicated inputs for ancillary stereo program channels and EAS audio.

Wohler's Pandora loudness analyzer is a compact and easy-to-read desktop or optional rack-mountable loudness monitor with logging.


Pro-Codec, a plug-in collaboration between Fraunhofer IIS and Sonnox, supports mastering to multiple codecs (AAC, HE-AAC, mp3, HD-AAC, mp3HD, plus surround options) and real-time me-tering and monitoring of the output.

Minnetonka Audio Software’s AudioTools AWE adds support for three new options, SurCode for Dolby E Stream Player, plus SurCode for Dolby E Decoder and Encoder, and automates end–to–end file handling and DSP actions.

RadiantGrid Technologies introduced its Preparation Workflow Module for the RadiantGrid Platform, adding Cinnafilm video and Linear Acoustic’s AERO audio plug-in processing to its transcod-ing preparation.

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.