Felix Krueckels, senior product manager, MC2 series for Lawo, said, “IP audio has the potential to completely change the audio world. Right now, we see a Babylon of digital standards (AES-3, MADI, Ethersound, Optocore, CobraNet and others) being used in local area networks, with another protocol like ATM for Wide Area Network applications. IP audio allows the same protocol to be used for local and long-distance transportation of signals.”

An IP audio standard would also expand the capabilities of today's routing systems, with increased channel count and increased functionality.

“It could be that we will have a more decentralized routing structure,” Krueckels said. “With everything under IP control, including stage boxes, DSP processing and the audio itself, the only limits would be how many boxes you can network together and still handle all the IP traffic. But this is nothing compared to what the telecom people are doing already.”

In terms of console design, Krueckels sees a continued migration toward touch-screen operation, with the reassuring news that the familiar channel faders will be staying with us.

“Like playing a musical instrument, operators need this tactile feedback,” he noted. “We will always have faders. But everything else will move more and more into touch screens. It's much more flexible and easy to implement DSP and EQ on touch screens, and more cost-effective than having hundreds of knobs, LEDs and encoders.”

Lawo sees customization as another major benefit of this approach.

“Rather than having fixed hardware surfaces devoted to a specific application, like broadcast studios, OB vans, etc., a software-based design approach allows more customization,” Krueckels said. “Different software configurations can be used to optimize the control surface for a wide range of jobs. So there will be perhaps fewer physical platforms, but with much more flexibility.”