NAB 2023: Gear Up For The Show's Centennial Anniversary
What to see — and hear — when it comes to audio at the convention
The 2023 NAB Show in Las Vegas (April 15-19, Las Vegas Convention Center) marks the 100th anniversary of broadcasting’s biggest event. Of course, that’s still two years and four days short of the first-ever sports broadcast. That took place on April 11, 1921 when Westinghouse station KDKA in Pittsburgh, PA broadcast a 10-round, no-decision boxing match between sluggers Johnny Dundee and Johnny Ray at Pittsburgh’s Motor Square Garden. But anyone who was around during President Warren G. Harding’s one term in office would still recognize the sound of a broadcast game or match today: the ambient roar of the crowds, the National Anthem leaking into the broadcast-booth microphones from a tinny PA system, the sport-specific sound effects, and the evolving play-by-play and color announcers talking incessantly, even then terrified of recently invented dead air.
A century later, broadcast-sports audio has traveled light years, with most of that in just the last decade, as the digital-audio revolution moves into IP territory. But microphones still work on the same principle as the “double-button” Western Electric 600A carbon microphone in use then. Signal routing was still a requirement, as was microphone and speaker placement. And even if acoustics was far more esoteric a science than it is now, energy bouncing back off a far wall was just as annoying.
With all that history in mind, here’s some of the history that SVG sponsors and others will be making at the NAB Show this year. Happy 100.
Audio-Technica (C4931) is officially launching the BP3600 Immersive Audio Microphone, a premium broadcast audio tool capable of capturing stable, three-dimensional sound beds. The microphone has eight compact capsule assemblies with excellent high-frequency characteristics integrated into the body while remaining compact and lightweight enough for single-operator usability and easy setup. Direct routing is also possible, with no need for additional decoding or latency processing with 5.1.4-channel speaker layouts. The BP3600’s eight microphone modules extend from the body to form a cube with 15 cm (5.9 inches) between each microphone assembly. Each microphone assembly in the eight-channel near-coincident array is equipped with a 12-mm (0.47-inch) hypercardioid capsule to produce ideally separated, discrete signals and deliver immersive audio experiences with ample spaciousness.
Calrec (C6107) The recently announced ImPulse1 IP audio processing and routing engine is making its NAB debut. ImPulse1 is a compact version of the ST2110 native ImPulse with an optional second core for redundancy and a new 128-input-channel DSP pack offering entry-level pricing. With the introduction of ImPulse1, Calrec is making the move to IP more attainable, offering a range of options to suit all budget requirements.
Calrec’s award-winning Argo Q and Argo S audio mixing control platforms are designed to adapt to changing production needs, Calrec’s Argo is a new approach to audio mixing, with a flexible control philosophy that breaks the traditional geographic ties between processing and control. Also on show: ImPulse, RP1 Remote Production, Assist Remote Working, Brio 36, Type R / Talent Panel and Artemis.
Clear-Com (Booth C5507) will celebrate its 55th anniversary at the centennial NAB Show, where the company will showcase its award-winning IP-based Arcadia Central Station, as well as innovative new product features of their flagship Eclipse HX Digital Matrix Intercom System, including Dynam-EC real-time production software, IP-based V-Series IrisX user panels, and role-based workflows. Arcadia Central Station brings together HelixNet, FreeSpeak, Clear-Com Encore, other 2W/4W endpoints, as well as third-party Dante devices, in a single, integrated system. Arcadia offers licensed-based scalability that allows it to meet numerous production needs, with support for over 100 beltpacks and up to 128 IP ports, with additional upgrades available in the future. The Eclipse HX Digital Matrix offers a range of tools, notably the innovative Dynam-EC software that allows for situational control over all Clear-Com audio input and outputs, audio mapping, IFBs and partylines. New features for EHX 13 support many of the needs of broadcast applications for large-scale events.
Dante network parent company Audinate (Booth C5735) will show several new products from the growing ecosystem of Dante AV partners. These products include cameras, encoders and decoders from brands such as Bolin, AVer, PTZ Optics and more. Audinate will also feature its latest software offerings, including a new cloud solution for broadcasters.
Dolby (Booth W3443) will display its new Atmos Renderer application, which integrates the Dolby Atmos Production Suite and the Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite into an all-in-one solution for Dolby Atmos creators. The new application brings together existing functionality, including tools available to only Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite customers, and adds new capabilities such as native Apple Silicon compatibility and improved performance. At the show, Dolby is working with NBC/Universal, Comcast, Pearl TV, and Sinclair Broadcast Group to demonstrate how the latest advanced audio features of ATSC 3.0 can deliver more personalized audio experiences to all audiences and provide enhanced accessibility for visually impaired consumers. Dolby’s developer platform will be lso demonstrating its real-time streaming APIs that can enable broadcast-grade production workflows with the flexibility of the cloud, to deliver live broadcasts and events in a collaborative, browser-based workspace.
Lawo (Booth C4111) will introduce its next set of features for its NMOS IS-04 and IS-05-compatible HOME IP infrastructure management platform. They will officially launch version 10.6 for its mc² and A__UHD Core platform, which delivers a new level of immersive audio mixing and other advances for multi-channel processing and downmixing. V.10.6 supports the new, optional, Pooling 8 license, designed to share the 1,024 DSP channels of a A__UHD Core among up to eight independent mixing surfaces. Lawo’s line-up of on-air/radio solutions will be expanded with a new processing core, a new software version for its radio portfolio, an additional I/O card for the Power Core’s rear-panel bays, and an extension for its R3LAY radio software. And Lawo’s VSM broadcast control system will join its HOME ecosystem for broadcast and AV applications.
Pliant Technologies (Booth C7521) highlights its new CCU-08 CrewCom Control Unit. The CCU-08 is the latest addition to the CrewCom intercom system and gives users the ability to use up to eight 4-Wire ports while retaining all the same features of the existing companion CCU-22 and CCU-44 products. Like the current Control Units, the new CCU-08 Control Unit contains no radio and is frequency agnostic, and can therefore control and monitor any device across CrewNet regardless of radio-frequency bands being utilized. With the combination of CrewCom Radio Transceivers, the new CCU-08 supports up to 82 Radio Packs — 18 in Normal mode and 64 in the recently released High Density mode — across all RF bands. Up to four CCU-08 Control Units can be used in one system for larger user counts.
Q5X (Booth C4819) introduces three new products that enhance the use of its PlayerMic in sports. NESO 2.4, which is distributed by Q5X, is an IFB system the that allows 2-way communication with an athlete in the game when worn with our PlayerMic transmitter. Chameleon is a modified PlayerMic with an internal antenna, making it more comfortable to hide in smaller articles of clothing. Chameleons can be ordered in custom colors for easier coordination between multiple sets of gear for different teams. Like the PlayerMic, this is available in analog (compatible with a variety of receivers) or digital (compatible with Shure Axient receivers). FlexClip is an accessory that allows for easier placement of a PlayerMic or Chameleon when sewn-in pouches are not available on a jersey. The unique design preserves the safety of our transmitter by avoiding any sharp wires.
Riedel Communications (Booth C4910) will be showcasing their live video-production tools, including the Simplylive Production Suite, offering ViBox All-In-One for multicamera productions, with Slomo and RefBox, and new additions to the portfolio will be unveiled. Riedel’s MediorNet IP solutions for video and audio processing and distribution will feature the newly added HDR conversion between any SDR/ HDR formats, including Slog3, PQ, and HLG. On the comms side, Riedel will present Bolero wireless intercom in both the DECT 1.9Ghz and the new 2.4Ghz versions, including capabilities in combined networks. Plus, TAC, an ultra-lightweight in-ear headset with noise-cancelling microphone and clip-on-mic-boom, will be featured. The SmartPanel 1200 and 2300 Series concept decouples a keypanel’s capabilities from its hardware and turns it into a software-definable application platform. These apps include advanced intercom, control, automation and monitoring functionalities, such as the new Audio Monitoring App (AMA).
RTS (Booth C3811) will show fail-safe redundancy for its ODIN intercom matrix (three flexible redundancy options now available: Backup and Restore, Frame Swap and Redundant Frame Operation); implementation of the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards; and the newest offering: VLink Lite, a cost-effective version of IP-software multi-channel/multi-access communications solution VLink that runs on virtually any iOS or Android device and scales from to 8PL’s and 64 users – “professional intercom in the palm of your hand!” (Also, we’re told, watch for a new addition to the RTS Digital Partyline family launching globally at the show.
Sennheiser’s booth (C5217) will be split between Sennheiser and sister company Neumann, focusing on a mix of key areas: WMAS, an EW-DP product launch, immersive audio mixing (Neumann / Dear Reality), and the companies’ suite of shotgun and audio-for-video microphones.
Shure (Booth C6920) will show its Axient Digital AD600 Digital Spectrum Manager, Uniplex lavalier microphone with a cardioid polar pattern, and KSM11 Premium cardioid condenser microphone, but the big news is that this is the first time the company will be showcasing many of these products on the NAB Show floor.
Solid State Logic [Booth C6107] will unveil the latest immersive and NGA production workflows for live-to-air broadcast. Solid State Logic’s immersive/NGA production tool kit for System T offers object and channel based immersive production, delivered through specifically designed workflows and features. The System T immersive production toolkit features immersive channel and bus formats with integrated XYZ and rotational Theta 3D panning, intelligent immersive up/downmixing functions, and a comprehensive range of immersive effects including delay, dynamics, EQ, modulation, and more. Other features include a 360° Transcoder with A-B conversion for Sennheiser AMBEO V, and binaural 3D encoder with input formats from 4.0 to 7.1.4. The System T S500 large-format modular control surface and TE2 processing engine will be set up at the show to demonstrate 5.1.4 immersive monitoring.
Sony (Booth C8101) will showcase its full UWP-D wireless-microphone lineup, including the URX-P41D receiver and UWP-D27 camera-mount wireless omni lavalier microphone system, as well as the complete DWX digital wireless-microphone series with Uni-slot and Super Slot compatibility with Sound Devices, and the DWT-P30 plugon transmitter.
Studer Audio (Booth N2225) celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and Evertz, which acquired the brand in 2021, will highlight technological advances with StuderVista digital mixing consoles, now supporting ST 2110, making them important additions to Evertz’s range of Software Defined Video Networking (SDVN) solutions. Evertz will introduce the Video PFL (Pre-Fade-Listen), a new feature for the Studer Vista range ,offering enhanced capabilities when working in a live environment. Video PFL lets the audio operator select an input to pre-fade while listening to the audio and seeing the accompanying video for that channel on the multiviewer in the audio control room. Evertz will also show BRAVO Studio’s new Highlight Factory, where clips and stories are automatically created using AI technology, and published to Ease Live.
Telos Alliance (Booth W3766) and hospitality suite (W3673) have several new offerings, including the Infinity Virtual Intercom Platform (VIP), including the newly-released VIP app for iOS and Android devices, alongside the brand-new Axia Altus mixing console, together demonstrating the power of a combined on-premises and cloud-based workflow. Other Alliance brands include Linear Acoustic’s LA-5291 Professional Audio Encoder, LA-5300 Broadcast Audio Processor, and UPMAX ISC Immersive Soundfield Controller, and the AIXpressor with flexAI processing infrastructure from partner Jünger Audio, allowing users to scale their systems from a single processor to an entire processing array using any of today’s AoIP protocols as well as traditional I/O formats.
TSL Products (Booth C2416) will feature the MPA1-MIX-NET, a 1U audio confidence monitor with 16 instantly recallable independent mixes. Designed to ease the transition towards IP media transport, the unit is ideal for ST 2110 trucks and installations. A 1G AoIP connection provides 64 channels of input, with a further 64 available via an optional MADI SFP. Support for in-band NMOS is built-in for integration with TSL control and leading third-party systems. The MPA1-MIX-NET’s design includes a “V”-shaped layout of the controls for accurate fingertip navigation in low-light environments. Additionally, SNMP integration allows remote configuration changes for added flexibility and improved productivity.
Wheatstone (Booth W3000) will introduce the Lion, a new FM/HD low-cost, half rack sized FM/HD audio processor that uses Wheatstone’s advanced next-gen multiband AGC and limiting/clipping algorithms to deliver the best on-air quality, even from highly compressed source material, for today’s source content and listening devices.The Lion includes stereo enhance, RDS, and Wheatstone SystemLink for transporting the entire MPX and HD audio signals, including RDS, maintaining perfect FM/HD alignment across any high-speed data link.
Zaxcom (Booth C2934) will introduce the Nova FP7 control surface for Nova and Nova 2 mixer/recorders. The small, lightweight FP7 control surface can be mounted above or below the front panel of Nova or Nova 2 to provide an extra 7 control pots. The FP7 features traditional faders with smooth movement and end stops. This allows for 5 endless bank-controlled faders on Nova and Nova 2 to operate as normal while adding the control of the 7 individual FP7 pots. This gives users a total of 12 hardware controls to be utilized at the same time. The control surface plugs directly into the RS422 connection of the Nova or Nova 2 through a USB-A cable. An RS422 connector on the side of the FP7 allows for accessories like Nova Touch software interface to be used with the FP7 at the same time.