Audio Manufacturers Keep the Lights On for Learning

Pro-audio brands enhance online educational and training portals and offerings

As most broadcast-sports A1s wait out the COVID-19 crisis at home, many pro-audio suppliers aim to help them use that time productively. Online education sessions created by product and systems manufacturers are cropping up as the crisis continues, offering technical classes online.

For instance, Clear-Com and the University of North Texas (UNT) recently co-hosted an educational session on the basic principles of wireless intercom technologies and applications, aimed at communications students and technical directors working in stage, live-event, news, and sports production. The joint presentation, titled “The Basics of Intercoms in (Mostly) Modern Times,” was led by Martin Dzurenko, chief engineer, Media Arts Department, UNT, and Clear-Com Applications Engineer Rom Rosenblum.

“The goal was for these students to have the most real work experience possible, so we wanted them to be able to interact with the technology,” Rosenblum explains. “But we also wanted to introduce them to locals in the production business, so they could learn about potential roles as well as seek out job opportunities.”

Powersoft has ramped up its capacity to deliver online training courses worldwide to help mitigate COVID-19 pandemic travel and meeting restrictions. Starting Tuesday, March 17, the company began providing more e-learning content and distance-learning tools, free of charge, to customers and users. The courses — designed to be interactive and lasting for an hour — are divided by regions (APAC, EMEA, CALA, and NA) and are available in Spanish and English. Attendees have the opportunity to choose between two days for each session. The full schedule will be available three times a day, in order to cover all time zones around the world.

“While we are already offering online training on a regular basis,” says Powersoft Business Development Manager Marc Kocks, “we decided to further increase and generalize adoption.”

In March and April, Avid has provided temporary licenses for its creative tools at no charge, offering users who are working from home free 90-day licenses for Media Composer | Ultimate, Pro Tools, Pro Tools | Ultimate, and Sibelius | Ultimate. In addition, any student who uses Avid products and can no longer attend school and/or access school facilities can receive a 90-day license for the same products. Click here to view complete details and to check eligibility for a free temporary license.

Dante is offering enhanced online training, making all of its AVIXA CTS RU-accredited online training courses available on its training site. These include Level 1, 2, and 3 CTS certifications.

The Shure Audio Institute provides free access to deep knowledge and practical skills on general audio topics, technical, sales, and Shure product solutions, via online webinars and other training materials, as well as educational booklets.

Live Sound, Too
Venue sound is also responding. In March, L-Acoustics announced plans for a series of free online webinars covering multiple topics — including L-ISA, line-source optimization, AVB, and P1/M1, and Fulcrum Acoustics is posting co-founder David Gunness’s white papers online: such topics as “Improving Loudspeaker Transient Response” and “Improved Loudspeaker Array Modeling.”

These courses have a marketing component, with many tutorials designed as introductory-level educational and demo sessions on how to set up and use a range of a company’s products. That’s understandable, given the decline in pro-audio sales caused by the shuttered stores and drastically reduced broadcast productions, and manufacturers have been extending discounts and offering new ones.

All audio professionals are dealing with the shock of the abrupt and unexpected end to broadcast sports and other events. Many, though, are realizing that the challenge can also present an opportunity to add skills. The Audio Engineering Society, whose AES Show is still scheduled to take place Oct. 21-24 at New York City’s Javits Convention Center (which is currently being used as a temporary hospital), is helping that along by offering information on how to transition conventional teaching environments online. Redesigning Audio Learning Spaces Quickly for Online Teaching is available here without charge.

“This solution can help a lot of people migrate numerous audio classes to an online format with quality audio held sacred to its core mission,” says Jill Courtney, executive committee member, AES Nashville Section, who authored the study with Michael Hanson, assistant professor, audio production, Middle Tennessee State University.