Postcard From NAB: Audio Offerings

Despite a still-questionable economy, NAB isn’t lacking at all in either attendance or exhibits. That applies in particular to the audio component, largely centered in the sprawling Central Hall. Significant outposts can be found in the bi-level South Hall, far enough away to need its own ZIP code, but the expenditure of shoe leather to check out the offerings is worth it.

The new BP4001 cardioid dynamic interview microphone and BP4002 omnidirectional dynamic interview microphone are designed to isolate the capsule from handling noise. The BP4001’s cardioid polar pattern further reduces pickup of sounds from the mic’s sides and rear, improving isolation of the desired sound source, and the BP4002’s omnidirectional pattern provides a natural reproduction of surrounding ambience. Both will be available this summer priced at $259.

Dolby Labs
Though generally thought of as an audio developer, Dolby has had some video landmarks this year. The company unveiled an open specification for broadcast that lets 3D images be encoded and carried using frame-compatible techniques through a conventional 2D broadcast infrastructure. The specification is fully compatible with enhancement-layer approaches, enabling extensibility to full-resolution 3D in the future. The Dolby open specification will be used by professional-equipment manufacturers to create frame-compatible 3D-encoding tools using an open packing format.

Dolby also demonstrated for the first time its recently announced Dolby PRM-4200 professional reference LCD video monitor. But there was also some audio news: the company introduced the DP568 professional reference decoder designed to provide real-time reference decoding of Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, and Dolby Digital audio streams, as well as confidence monitoring of the latest Dolby technologies, such as secondary audio bitstream mixing. It will be available later this year priced about $5,500.

Neural UpMix is a new Pro Tools plug-in designed to upmix content to 5.1 and 7.1 channels. The plug-in can output 5.1 or 7.1 multichannel audio tracks from stereo or 5.1 source material while preserving the spectral and timbral balance of the original mix. Mixing engineers will be able to upmix audio tracks on a scene-by-scene basis to create an immersive audio experience that can greatly enhance both standard 2D as well as 3D Blu-ray soundtracks.

The new Kaleido-Solo simplifies monitoring of 1080p, HD, and SD programs and their associated loudness and dialnorm properties. The Kaleido-Solo converts 3 Gbps, HD, and SD-SDI, with embedded audio, to DVI and HDMI for display on an LCD screen. It provides continuous measurement of loudness and overlays a histogram of the loudness and dialnorm on top of the program video. The Kaleido-Solo also overlays key audio and video parameters, including aspect-ratio markers, AFD codes, timecode, and peak meters.

Riedel Communications
Riedel is exhibiting a new software-based embedder/de-embedder for MediorNet, as well as the MediorNet multi-I/O breakout panel and the optical video card. The new embedder/de-embedder embeds, de-embeds and shuffles any AES3/EBU signal as well as other data formats, such as control data for cameras. Like other MediorNet features such as the frame synchronizer, the test-pattern generator, or the text/graphic inserter, this feature eliminates the need for additional outboard gear. The new MN-MBR multi-I/O breakout panel provides eight AES and eight analog four-wire connectors over Cat-5 cable. Twelve GPIOs and four serial ports via Sub-D nine-pin connectors complete the device’s interfacing. All signals are distributed intelligently through the MediorNet installation. The 19-in./1RU panel is connected to the MediorNet frame via two 44-pin Sub-D connectors to the MediorNet MN-MIO multiple-I/O card, which occupies just one low-speed port of the MediorNet mainframe. The breakout panel is also powered via the multi-I/O card and does not need an external power supply.

The new HMD 26 broadcast headset is cool: hyper-cardioid microphone, frequency response of 20-18,000 Hz, closed design attenuating external noise by up to 25 dB. NoiseGard active noise reduction drops background noise by 18 dB, and a gooseneck boom automatically switches off when turned upright. Also on display are prototypes of Sennheiser’s new digital microphones. The A-D and processing for the D-01 (priced at $7,999) and the TLM-103D ($1,799) are integrated into a single system just aft of the capsule itself. As a result, mic pre-amps and external processing aren’t necessary. And since the onboard processing is also digital, broadcasters can change parameters remotely. Shotgun versions after the D-01 and TLM-103D will be available in the third quarter.

Sound Devices
The CL-9 linear fader controller accessory debuted for Sound Devices’ 788T digital recorder. Acting as a dedicated mixing surface, the CL-9 is equipped with eight 100mm low-latency linear faders and rotary input trim controls with ring LED metering and sweepable, single-band parametric EQ for each of its eight inputs with variable frequency, gain, and filter Q. Additionally, the CL-9 adds input pan to the 788T.

TC Electronic
The decade-old System 6000 is now the System 6000 MKII with ICON control. The new iteration includes all algorithms from original System 6000 now on a network and WiFi-savvy platform; ITU BS.1770-, ATSC A/85-, and EBU R128-compliant metering; and new Matrix 88 mixer for precision summing. TC and RTW also announced a co-developed hardware version of TC’s LM5D loudness radar meter, which displays instant loudness, loudness history, and true-peak level compliant with the new ITU-R BS.1770 standard, as well as EBU R128 and ATSC A/85 recommendations.

Wohler Technologies
The new AMP2-E16V modular audio/video-processing monitor features dual 4.3-in. OLED displays that support dedicated video monitoring, loudness metering and control, audio-routing and mix controls, and Dolby Zoom. I/O options include SDI, AES, and analog. Operators can view 3G/HD/SD-SDI video while controlling  numerous audio channels from AES, analog, SDI signals, or encoded Dolby, depending on configuration. Audio inputs are treated equally and can be monitored, metered, panned, trimmed, and routed freely.

Wohler also unveiled Pandora, a compact desktop or rack-mountable loudness monitor that can be deployed at any point in the broadcast chain requiring simple, accurate loudness monitoring. In helping broadcasters address the demands of the CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act and other standards, the Pandora monitor provides accurate reading of loudness measurements for any SDI video signal with audio. Accepting and analyzing AES, PCM, Dolby, stereo, or multichannel audio, Pandora gives the user an accurate reading of loudness measurements (LKFS) over a user-defined period of time, ranging from 5 seconds to 60 minutes.

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