Tech Focus: Immersive Audio, Part 2 — Software-Based Solutions Edge Into Consoles’ Place

The familiar work surfaces aren’t going anywhere — for now

Broadcast-audio consoles are the foundational work surfaces for immersive sound on television; no one will be mixing 7.1.4 “in the box” anytime soon. The industry is in the midst of a transition to the immersive formats that will underpin next-generation audio (NGA), and it’s beginning to show.

What until recent years looked like a visible evolutionary path for audio desks, which retain their basic form factors (any audio engineer of the past 70 years would recognize SSL’s System T as an audio-mix console), is giving way to more software-based black-box solutions, such as Calrec’s ImPulse core and Lawo’s A__UHD Core. The conventional console will be with us for years to come — Calrec’s Artemis and Apollo desks are still the gold standard for remote-production applications in the U.S. — and standard 5.1-capable consoles are being adapted for larger mix matrixes via a combination of hardware and software upgrades. But the established form factors are yielding to broadcast audio’s much more fluid landscape.

CLICK HERE for Tech Focus: Immersive Audio, Part 1 — The Infrastructure Is in Place.

CLICK HERE for Tech Focus: Immersive Audio, Part 3 — Multichannel Mics Are Coming of Age.


Calrec ImPulse core

ImPulse core, the next-generation audio-processing platform for Calrec’s Apollo and Artemis control surfaces, provides a powerful audio-processing and -routing engine with AES67 and SMPTE 2110 connectivity. With control connectivity via IP, surfaces can be physically remote and connected over standard networks using COTS hardware. The technology enables all Calrec users to make the transition to NGA and IP infrastructures and provides the flexibility to do so without a production-equipment overhaul. ImPulse provides 3D immersive path widths and panning for NGA applications; 5.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1, 7.1.2, and 7.1.4 input channels, busses, monitoring, and metering are available. ImPulse has an integral AoIP router, which fully supports NMOS discovery and connection management, as well as mDNS/RAVENNA discovery. Two 5RU ImPulse cores can be combined to provide full redundancy and can be physically remote from each other for disaster recovery. Click here for more details.


Lawo A__UHD Core

The A__UHD Core is a network-based, software-defined next-generation IP audio engine with ultra-high processing density and up to 1,024 DSP channels for mc² consoles. Its flexible licensing system allows tailoring of functionality and performance according to the application’s requirements. Lawo mc² consoles support sweet-spot immersive-mixing configurations up to 9.1.6 and beyond. In addition to high channel counts, the feature set comprises the required busing, monitoring, and mixing infrastructure as well as downmix to 5.1, stereo, and mono. Click here for more details.

Solid State Logic

Solid State Logic System T

The System T platform places immersive audio at the operator’s fingertips. Multichannel 3D-input path and bus structures provide an intuitive interface for mixing in three dimensions without complex workarounds. Both XYZ and rotational Theta panning can be used on any channel or bus. Full support for multichannel signals is provided in the monitor section, onboard effect rack, metering, and routing GUIs. Ambisonics and binaural tools within the effect rack complete the immersive-audio package. The increased signal and processing capacity required for immersive productions is served using System T’s Tempest processing engines. The new TE1 and TE2 variants offer scalable and agile capacity with a variety of processing-pack licenses. Increasing capacity for a one-off immersive show requires only renting a license for the console. Native Dante, AES67, and ST 2110 connectivity provides the additional I/O without extra hardware. On-console AoIP routing control and automatic third-party I/O discovery fulfills the plug-and-play promise of audio routing on COTS switching hardware. Remote, decentralized, and distributed deployments allow immersive mixes to be managed from conformable and dedicated control rooms, away from the venues, or collaboratively from different geographical locations. Click here for more details.

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