Fairlight, DTS and the University of Salford Collaborate To Automate Live Audio Mixing Process

Fairlight has collaborated DTS.Inc. and the University of Salford to develop a new approach to assist sound engineers with live sports productions. 

The Spatial Automated Live Sports Audio (SALSA) solution is a real-time automated mixing process that identifies the location of specific sound events from a grid of pitch microphones. The algorithm, developed by the University of Salford, identifies the type of sound event, its 3D location, and its duration, and automatically drives console fader movements to open the relevant mic(s). This real-world solution came to life when SALSA was combined with the object-based audio live production system co-developed by DTS and Fairlight.

Leaving pitch microphones at a fixed level can result in off-pitch crowd noise masking on-pitch sounds in the broadcast mix. With the introduction of even more mics and immersive object-based audio, it will become even more challenging to manually create the best possible mix. 

SALSA helps address this problem by allowing different game sounds, such as ball kicks and referee whistles, to be processed automatically by the mixing console. SALSA can be adapted to search for different sounds, allowing the automated mixing to be applied to different sports.

By choosing to use the open object-based audio standard MDA (ETSI 103-223: Multi-Dimensional Audio), SALSA was able to easily be integrated by Fairlight into their next-generation live production systems, supporting both conventional and object-based broadcasts.

“By combining cutting edge technology from our three organisations, the SALSA project automatically translates pitch mics into 3D audio objects,” says Tino Fibaek, Chief Technical Officer at Fairlight. “This allows broadcast mix engineers to focus on the overall mix, whilst the system does the hard labour of extracting the best possible sound from the pitch for sports aficionados.”

 “We believe our SALSA software will bring a step-change in the quality of broadcast audio for sports and we’re excited to be working with Fairlight and DTS to showcase its capabilities in a practical work-flow,” says Dr. Rob Oldfield, Audio Research Consultant from the University of Salford.

“We are delighted to see this collaboration come together to create real innovation for the live broadcast community,” says Fadi Malak, Director of Corporate Strategy at DTS, Inc. “Combining the algorithm from the University of Salford with MDA was a natural fit. It really helped showcase the true potential of the ETSI standard.”

At NAB 2016, SALSA will be demonstrated as part of a complete outside broadcast production workflow, from capture to reproduction. SALSA-identified objects will be extracted from the mix by the 3DAW system in Fairlight’s EVO.Live mixing console, and packaged into a linear MDA bitstream for contribution over SDI.

For a full demonstration of SALSA at NAB 2016, please visit DTS at Booth SU3714. For more information on Fairlight, please visit Booth N6019.


About Fairlight:

Fairlight has been designing, engineering and manufacturing cutting edge, professional digital audio technology for 40 years. Its dedication to innovation, quality and customer service has made Fairlight one of the most respected companies in professional audio. With their integrated control surfaces and intuitive user interfaces, Fairlight's award-winning media creation tools are renowned for their speed, flexibility and exceptional sonic quality. The company's products offer full compatibility with virtually all open audio, video and sync standards, making them ideally suited to a wide range of audio post and live broadcast applications. For more information, please visit www.fairlight.com.au.

About DTS, Inc.:

Since 1993, DTS, Inc. (Nasdaq: DTSI) has been dedicated to making the world sound better. Through its pioneering audio solutions for mobile devices, home theater systems, cinema, automotive and beyond, DTS provides incredibly high-quality, immersive and engaging audio experiences to listeners everywhere. DTS technology is integrated in more than two billion devices globally, and the world's leading video and music streaming services are increasingly choosing DTS to deliver premium sound to their listeners’ network-connected devices. For more information, please visit www.dts.com. 

About The University of Salford:

The University of Salford in the UK draws on an iconic heritage of industrial links to offer real world learning and research experiences and create highly-employable graduates. The Acoustics Research Centre (ARC) within the University of Salford is a well-established unit with a long history of successful research and consultancy work dating back prior to 1965. It has a balanced portfolio of fundamental and applied research projects and research outcomes that have fed into products that companies make and sell worldwide, as well as regulations and standards used in the UK, Europe and internationally. It has a unique range of acoustics, psychoacoustics and project management skills, as well as extensive acoustic test facilities and instrumentation. The Centre’s team brings expertise and experience across a broad range of acoustic and audio activity and has an established track record in traditional building and room acoustics and also audio and related broadcast technologies.