Coming in 2018: Audio trends to look out for

Coming in 2018: Audio trends to look out for

We asked our experts to gaze into their crystal mics and predict 2018’s biggest trends for the audio industry. Reliable picks included networked audio over IP, an even bigger push on 3D sound than we’ve seen in 2017 and Ambisonics quietly cornering the market for virtual reality content…

Networked audio over IP: Dante, Ravenna, BLU Link, Q-LAN and AES67

We’ve been talking to everyone who’ll listen about Focusrite’s Dante products for years now (and, to a lesser but no less enthusiastic extent, about gear that uses Ravenna, BLU Link and Q-LAN). While all these formats are excellent in their own ways and most studios we kit out will include equipment from multiple vendors, they weren’t always cross-compatible.

The AES67 standard was designed to fix this, among other things, and allows interoperability between Dante, Ravenna and other such networks as if they were one and the same. While AES67 has been around since 2014, it’s only recently it’s really gained traction, with newer Dante and Ravenna solutions being AES67-compatible straight out of the gate. Our hope is that in 2018 working across standards becomes even easier, with the rise of the AES70 management standard allowing us to control routing between between Dante, Ravenna and BLU Link without any compatibility issues or loss of signal quality.

We’re also interested in seeing what Q-SYS, JBL and BSS have up their sleeve this year for audio system control, and advise anyone who works with audio and video to keep an eye on SMPTE 2110, which allows you to transport audio and video synchronously in separate streams, in native AES67 rather than multiplexed with the video, as in SMPTE 2022. SSL in particular have been developing solutions that incorporate this standard, including their more recent Dante-based interfaces.

Want to know more about this? Head to our Soho centre at 9am on 31st January for a special Tech Breakfast with our senior audio engineer, Matt Ward, who’ll be briefing people on AES67 and its related standards over coffee and a danish. Sign up here

Ambisonics overtake immersive audio and virtual reality

One of the things we’re most excited about at the moment is the resurgence of interest in Ambisonics, driven by the latest developments in immersive audio and VR. Originally developed in the 1970s by Michael Gerzon, Ambisonics was integrated into Pro Tools in v12.8.2, and we expect to see more third party tools appearing as VR and immersive home and cinema formats become ubiquitous.

If you’re experimenting with Ambisonics (particularly capturing sound fields), we’d recommend keeping a close eye on developments in high order ambisonic microphone arrays over the next year as the ability to store and process a greater number of channels becomes available. These arrays produce phase-coherent immersive audio signals that give your virtual environment natural acoustics, and working in higher order allows for more spatial accuracy.

In other immersive news, 2018 could be the year that SMPTE release an open standard for immersive audio, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the latest evolutions of DTS:X and Multi-Dimensional Audio can challenge Dolby Atmos – follow us on Twitter to keep up with developments.

Refining the cloud

Putting immersive audio aside for a minute, the other toolkit we’d like to see Avid expand in 2018 is Pro Tools’ suite of cloud collaboration tools. Rumours suggest we’ll see their online collaboration services refined, giving audio customers a more streamlined, integrated solution that will lure end users away from slightly less secure methods of sharing (they’re also overhauling the Media Composer Cloud-connected application, so it will interesting to see how these two sync up).

Perfecting shared storage for audio with DDP

Collaborating also means managing content and storage efficiently, and investing in a flexible and reliable storage and management data solution is undoubtedly the way forward if you want to streamline and optimise your workflow. Not many tools can deliver on all fronts but, having tested a lot of options, we’re big fans of Dynamic Drive Pool, a solution which has been designed specifically to work with this type of media.

DDP is essentially a pool of drives from which virtual or logical volumes can be created and accessed via Ethernet. This is a SAN (Storage Area Network) system, which allows data to be read and written in blocks very quickly, allowing network volumes to appear and behave like local storage. This is the perfect companion for audio systems like Pro Tools, Fairlight and Nuendo.

Got a prediction for 2018? Let us know in the comments. To find out more about any of the above, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

IBC 2017: Rohde & Schwarz to present monitoring and multiviewer solution

IBC 2017: Rohde & Schwarz to present monitoring and multiviewer solution

Rohde & Schwarz will showcase its recently launched R&S PRISMON monitoring and multiviewer solution for broadcast and streaming media with enhanced functionality at IBC 2017. The new solution will also be presented in live demonstrations at IP Showcase, a highlight of the trade show. At IP Showcase, vendors can demonstrate IP interoperability of their products under real-world conditions, based on SMPTE 2110 final draft standards and AMWA IS-04.

More than 40 exhibitors will come together at IP Showcase to demonstrate IP interoperability of their products in a realistic, live environment. They will show the full potential IP offers for realtime media on a single, large stage with devices from different vendors, based on common IP interoperability standards and specifications. The presentations at IP Showcase will be organized into logical application islands, such as live production signal streams, contribution and playout signal streams, to demonstrate the user-friendliness and interoperability of IP solutions. Rohde & Schwarz will take an active part in this event with its R&S PRISMON IP-based monitoring and multiviewer solution. The solution is fully software-based and takes an innovative multistandard, multiprotocol approach, which makes it ideal for the objectives of IP Showcase.

The new R&S PRISMON offers a single-device solution for automatic, convergent monitoring of broadcast and streaming media content transported in networks. It supports, among other features, the SDI, SMPTE 2022-1/2, SMPTE 2022-6, AIMS/SMPTE 2110, ASPEN, HLS and DASH transport standards as well as media formats such as MPEG‑2/4, HEVC and TICO. Future new standards and media formats can be added via software upgrades efficiently and flexibly. R&S PRISMON automatically detects and signals dropouts and content errors in realtime, using sophisticated monitoring functions such as Video freeze with whitelisting and Video content compare. A large number of channels – including those in UHD quality – can be monitored in parallel with R&S PRISMON and visualized in a straightforward manner on a multiviewer video wall.

Also on display will be VirtuWall, a cloud-based supplementary service to R&S PRISMON from Rohde & Schwarz subsidiary GMIT GmbH. Using a mobile app, the optional VirtuWall service transmits monitoring data collected from geographically distributed R&S PRISMON probes via a secure connection to mobile user equipment and displays it in condensed form. As a result, offsite technicians can for the first time quickly identify and assess the sources and effects of errors via remote access, eliminating the need for on-site visits to the place of installation of monitoring and multiviewer probes, as would be required with conventional solutions. The R&S PRISMON monitoring and multiviewer solution is available from Rohde & Schwarz on hardware at various performance levels and as a cloud-based installation. It will be demonstrated together with the VirtuWall cloud service at IBC 2017, booth 7.E25, and at IP Showcase in E.106.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our IBC roundup.

IBC 2017: Sony announce support for SMPTE ST 2110 in HD

IBC 2017: Sony announce support for SMPTE ST 2110 in HD

Sony will support the SMPTE ST 2095 and 2022-7 media transports over IP, the company has revealed at its IBC press conference. 

It’ll also be adding support for the AMWA NMOS Device Discovery and Registration standards (NMOS IS-O4). The existing XVS-8000, XVS-7000 and XVS-6000 4K/IP ready video switchers will get support for SMPTE ST 2110 in HD in their version 2.6 firmware upgrade.

They’ll be joined by a new 1.5U camera control unit, currently under development, which will work with HSC series cameras, and support full SMPTE ST 2110 in HD transmission. From the press release:

“Broadcasters around the world are increasingly embracing IP for its proven flexibility. Sony is dedicated to contributing to and promoting standardisation to make sure our customers can be confident all the technology in their IP Live workflows will work seamlessly together,” said Norbert Paquet, Head of Product Management at Sony Professional Europe. “That’s why we’re announcing today that we already have SMPTE ST 2110 compliant products in the pipeline, and are working closely with AMWA to support the NMOS IS-04 Device Discovery and Registration API, and NMOS-IS-05 Connection Management API. This all means our customers can truly build systems that are ready today and open for tomorrow.”

A technological exhibition of Audio Intercom for a brand new Camera Control Unit (CCU) currently under development will be demonstrated for the first time at IBC 2017. This exhibition will support SMPTE ST 2110 in HD with IP video transmission and return. The new CCU will be compatible with HDC and HSC camera series. It will support a wide range of formats, including 1080P, and a versatile selection of legacy inputs and outputs including 3G-SDI and 1.5G –SDI. The CCU is highly compact, with a 1.5 rack mount size, making it ideal for space-limited production areas. This new CCU is being developed with a target of being available from April 2018.

The Sony XVS-8000, XVS-7000 and XVS-6000 4K/IP Ready video switchers that sit at the heart of IP Live production operations will support SMPTE ST 2110 in HD with a v2.6 firmware update. The XVS series switchers deliver flexibility with a mix of SDI and IP, and highly configurable control panels to suit different types of operation. Combined with the resource-sharing capabilities of the XVS series, this will enable customers to build more flexible production architectures. The firmware update will be available to customers from April 2018.

All SMPTE ST 2110 compliant products will be on show at stand 13.A10, where Sony will also be showcasing its end-to-end IP Live production offering with a number of:

• REMote Integration (REMI):Sony will showcase how IP Live enables more efficient use of resources and faster turnaround times between productions. The demonstration will connect a host production facility (camera set and production gallery) at the Sony booth in Amsterdam to the Level3 Data Centre in London, where the processing resources are located, including all switchers and servers

• Remote Production over a limited bandwidth connection: Sony will collaborate with Suitcase.tv to showcase a solution for remote production using its IP Live Production system over a 1GbE network link

Sony is also appearing at the IP Showcase, hosted jointly by AES, AIMS, AMWA, EBU, IABM, MNA, SMPTE and VSF. The showcase will see more than 40 vendors working together to demonstrate real-world IP interoperability based on SMPTE ST 2110 final draft standards and AMWA NMOS IS-O4 specifications. Sony’s cameras, switchers, converters and Registration Discovery Service (RDS) application will all be demonstrated as part of the exhibit. Visitors will be able to speak to Sony about the successful interoperability tests it has undertaken alongside other vendors present at the event.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our IBC roundup.