Hear, Hear, Gear!: New stuff To Make the A-1 Life Better
by Dan Daley
AES is upon us, and there’s new gear to goggle.
• The shift to wider-frequency spectrum and less compression in monitoring makes the enhancements to RTW’s DigitalMonitor 10500X audio-display system a good confidence-builder for the ears. Upgrades include a new hardware platform, providing an integrated loudness display in compliance with ITU guideline BS.1771. Among other enhancements: a full-screen mode that enables an expanded display showing the individual instruments being used and the Stereo Sound Analyzer, a stereo version of the Surround Sound Analyzer found in RTW’s SurroundMonitor and SurroundControl product lines. The RTW DigitalMonitor 10500X-PLUS is part of RTW’s new Loudness Family of products for monitoring stereo, multichannel, and surround signals. The ITU BS.1771-compliant loudness measurement can be selected as an alternative to the usual peak-meter bar graphs. Presets enable the user to switch between the two modes at any time. The display provides two bar graphs for the individual channels and two additional bar graphs showing the summed total loudness of the individual signals, the integrated value with a dynamic time window, and the result of a long-time integration over the last seven days or more. Another new feature is the full-screen mode for the Multi-Instrument 1 display. In normal operation, the display is split into three sections that might show, for example, the peak meter, the vectorscope, and AES status data. Suggested retail price is $2600.
• Wohler Technologies’ new AMP2-16MSDI audio monitor provides instantaneous display for up to 16 channels of embedded audio within a single multirate HD/SD-SDI signal. Built on a fully digital system architecture featuring multiple high-fidelity class-D amplifiers, the AMP2-16 MSDI provides quality near-field monitoring for any mix of stereo and mono sources in a compact 2U design. The unit includes demuxed outputs of eight AES pairs on unbalanced 75-ohm BNC connectors and also provides a reclocked loop output of the SDI signal. The AMP2-16MSDI audio monitor also addresses key issues in DTV audio delivery, providing measurement of program loudness in adherence with ITU-1770/1771, which is displayed on the unit’s LCD status screen. The HD/SD-SDI version of the AMP2-16MSDI will be shipping in late November 2008 at a suggested retail price of $8,475. Wohler plans to release an AES version in the fourth quarter, followed by a multirate 3G and Dolby E version of the system in first quarter 2009.
• Shure’s new compact bodypack UR1M Transmitter weighs in at only 2.2 oz. without batteries but packs a punch. The unit operates on Shure’s UHF-R Wireless platform and has a 60- to 75-MHz RF tuning range (regionally dependent), tunable in 25-kHz steps. Other features include a bitmapped backlit LCD display, selectable alkaline, lithium primary, or NiMH battery curves, infrared automatic transmitter sync, audio-level monitoring and control, and the sports angle: specially treated for extended sweat resistance. The UR1M has a suggested retail price of $3,198.
• New Calrec Hydra offers several fixed-format I/O units, including a new eight-SDI-input de-embed I/O unit that is twice as powerful as the previous-generation four-SDI-input product. The new unit extracts up to 128 channels of synchronous or asynchronous embedded audio from as many as eight HD/SD streams, making these channels available to all consoles on Calrec’s Hydra network. With up to 96 inputs or outputs, analog or digital, Hydra’s remote I/O units may be connected on the same network to provide remotely located sources and destinations that can be used by any or all of the mixing consoles.