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AES Standards Committee addresses compression hardware with AES-X196

Miles of cables — and the seemingly endless amount of work that goes into laying them down before a broadcast event and picking them back up when the lights go out — are heading for the dust bin. Digital snakes will replace them, but the technology in this area is still being secured.

Mike Law, of BCD Audio, recently spoke about a project that the AES Standards Committee is working on, “AES-X196, Multichannel Audio in AES3.”

AES-X196 is based on the idea that eight 48kHz signals can be ported across a single 192kHz link. Current standards in the broadcast environment require compressed audio or multiple linear stereo links. The new proposal is designed to simplify the process. AES-X196 would eliminate the need for the expensive hardware required to compress audio, and the time delays that compression routinely introduces. Multiple stereo links require management resources to ensure that all audio signals are distributed and routed as a group. AES-X196 would eliminate this issue as well.

Current investments may hinder the implementation of AES-X196, since some hardware in the field today would not be compatible with the new standard.

Those interested in learning more about this project are invited to visit, the current project status at or the SC-02-02 meeting reports at to access more information.