135th AES: Audio Products Preview

The 135th Audio Engineering Society Convention (Oct. 17-20, Jacob Javits Center, New York City) is the first pro-audio show in a post-loudness world. Because both broadcast and music are bedeviled by gain assertiveness (ask the mastering guys at the show about “brickwall compression,” then stand back), there’ll be lots of loudness-measuring and -management solutions. And lots else to look at and listen to. Here’s some of what is coming your way at the show.

Calrec Audio
The new live-broadcast Callisto audio console is designed for applications that may not require the full resources of the company’s Apollo and Artemis audio consoles. Callisto’s mechanical design is lean and keeps components and materials to a minimum. Disciplined power distribution means the console is up to 30% more efficient than a comparable Artemis Light. Users control the console via a 17-in. multi-touchscreen inspired by tablet technology, with a straightforward interface enabling established finger gestures to navigate the system. The high-resolution display provides elegant controls and clear presentation of information.

AES will also see the U.S. debut of Calrec’s Soccer Sidekick iPad app, an assistive mixing tool designed to simplify the job of tracking the on-field audio during a soccer game. It provides an alternative approach for highly experienced operators while allowing those with less experience to very simply create a quality mix. One of the many tasks the audio operator must manage is to capture important on-pitch events while minimizing crowd and venue noise. The operator typically follows the action using a mentally challenging workflow that requires projecting a 2D location from the pitch onto the 1D row of faders on the desk, fading up only the most appropriate microphones for the particular moment in time. Soccer Sidekick provides a more intuitive and straightforward interface to assist in this task. After defining position and direction of the pitch microphones around an aerial image of a pitch on the display, the operator simply touches the corresponding area on the screen to indicate one or more locations of interest. The Soccer Sidekick calculates the optimal contribution from each microphone to best capture events at those locations and moves the appropriate faders on the desk. The operator can manually take over control of the faders at any time, maintaining complete control. Booth 2939. www.calrec.com

Clear-Com
The new RS-700 Series analog partyline beltpacks and ICON Connectivity Solutions and the most recent updates to the Tempest wireless intercom system will be on exhibit. The reliable RS-700 Series beltpacks have an ergonomic and durable housing, intelligent functionality, recessed controls, and bright LED indicators. The beltpacks also require a lower operating current for additional beltpack drops and are fully compatible with Encore Partyline, PL Pro, and TW Partyline.

ICON, which stands for “Intercom CONnectivity,” products link local or globally distributed intercom systems over Ethernet/IP networks and/or optical fiber. They provide high-performance solutions for reliable and secure connections on common infrastructures and are cost-effective for scalable multisystem networks.

Additions to the Tempest digital wireless intercoms include the new CCT-RT-EX remote line extender, which is used to increase the maximum distance between a Tempest BaseStation and the remote antenna transceiver. The latest offerings also feature Tempest2400’s Seamless Roaming, which allows Tempest2400 BeltStation users to move freely among as many as 16 BaseStations (coverage areas or zones) without interference or dropouts. These further extend Tempest’s wireless communications capabilities for mobile productions, multi-level facilities, and sports arenas staged in RF-heavy environments. www.clearcom.com

Lawo
The Lawo Commentary Unit (LCU) is debuting at this week’s AES. Based on RAVENNA, a real-time audio-over-IP networking technology, the fully digital system provides an intuitive user interface for up to three commentators per LCU. Lawo-quality mic preamps and uncompressed real-time audio-over-IP (24 bit/48 kHz) ensure uncompromised audio quality. The LCU is complemented by Lawo Commentary Control software, which replaces the commentary-control units usually associated with two-part systems, providing an integrated touchscreen interface to operate a complete commentary installation.

Also being demonstrated, the updated mc²56 MKII offers improved ergonomics and intuitive handling — including Multi-Row Metering and Automix functionality and an Overbridge Reveal Pane, to identify the components of a 5.1-surround mix assigned to an individual fader — and full support of RAVENNA technology for real-time processing of audio signals in IP-based networked environments with as many as 256 I/Os per Cat 5 line. And the AMBIT upmix tool offers the ability to convert stereo sources to 5.1 surround, with fully compatible downmix capability and full support for loudness metering.

Additionally, ENCO Systems and Lawo have partnered to create an integrated solution for radio and TV automation systems. Users can now automate a multitude of functions between the Lawo sapphire and crystal mixing consoles and ENCO’s DAD automation system. For all ENCO and Lawo customers, the seamless integration means convenient operation, since the DAD design reflects the visual appearance and philosophy of the console’s operational workflow. Bidirectional data transfer between the Lawo consoles and the DAD automation system is established entirely over IP, using RAVENNA technology for audio. Booth 2949. www.lawo.us

NuGen Audio
The ISL True-Peak limiter plug-in now supports Avid AAX format for editors using Avid’s popular editing software. Sound engineers using the ISL AAX plug-in have complete control over peak levels in audio signals, from mono to 5.1. It ensures compliance with loudness standards and protects against distortion that can be introduced when codecs such as MP3 and AAC are applied downstream. Designed for the transparent limiting of relatively dynamic high-quality audio, ISL can also be used to hard-limit and reduce dynamic range where required. With this ISL update, NuGen also introduces iLok licensing, an alternative to the existing licensing system for those who find iLok more convenient. Booth 2858. www.nugenaudio.com

Sony
The new PCM-D100 high-resolution audio recorder supports the latest high-resolution codecs and formats, including 192-kHz/24-bit PCM and DSD. The recorder includes a high-speed USB port for uploading and downloading files to and from Windows PC or Macintosh computers. Recording formats include linear PCM (at 192, 176.4, 96, 88.2, 48, and 44.1 kHz); DSD (2.8224 MHz); and MP3 (320 and 128 kbps). Additional playback support is provided for FLAC, WMA, and AAC files. The PCM-D100 is fitted with two-position (X-Y or wide) stereo microphones, 32 GB of built-in flash memory, and a combination SD card/memory stick slot for expandable storage. The recorder’s lightweight aluminum body is built to withstand the demands of professional applications and offers long battery life via four AA batteries. Other D100 features include a five-second prerecord buffer, digital pitch control, cross-memory recording, dual digital limiter, a low-pass filter, Super Bit Mapping, built-in editing functions, and a built-in speaker. Booth 2526. www.sony.com/proaudio