Merging Technologies' Claude Cellier (left) with prizewinner Michael Buehlmann at AES Europe.
This year's European AES convention, held in May in Munich, Germany, saw the announcement of the winners of Merging Technologies' track playback prize draw. The competition was open to anyone who could guess how many simultaneous tracks a Merging Pyramix digital audio workstation had been capable of playing back in a recent arduous real-world test at Merging's headquarters. The test came about when Pyramix engineers wanted to stretch the new MassCore-enabled Version 6.1 workstation to its limits, to see just how much performance could be squeezed out of the recording platform in extreme conditions.
"The MassCore processing engine has made a huge difference to Pyramix's recording and playback track count," explains Merging Technologies President Claude Cellier before the announcement. "But we wanted to see just how much!"
To ascertain this, many highly edited 88.2kHz audio files, containing unrendered real-time crossfades were spread across multiple tracks, with one file per track, and with the content of the project split across two solid-state playback drives. Eventually, the system could not reliably play all of the audio tracks simultaneously, but only when going over and above a very high track count. Entrants to the AES prize draw were asked to guess what this number was.
The draw was held on the Merging Technologies stand at the European AES show, and most guesses ranged from 300 to around 1,000, but only a few came close to the true figure. Kostas Gionis from Athens, Greece came third, guessing 1,182 tracks, and Richard Wear of recruitment company Interfacio guessed 1,117.
The winning guess of 1,128—which was closest to the true test figure of 1,149 tracks—was from Michael Buehlmann of AEU Studio Corporation in Bern, Switzerland, a longtime Pyramix user.
As the runner-up, Richard Wear won a case of fine Swiss Fendant de St Léonard wine, while Michael Buehlmann won the first prize, a MassCore 256+ upgrade for his new Pyramix system. He received his prize directly after the draw from Claude Cellier at the Merging stand at the AES show.
"There are those who say that performance tests like this one, which are designed to produce a maximum track count for a spec sheet, are of no practical value," comments Cellier. "But because our tests at Merging reproduced real-world playback conditions—the kind that Pyramix users confront every day—we think this says a great deal about the capabilities of a MassCore-enhanced Pyramix system. Put simply, MassCore offers you a tremendous amount of processing power."
Visit Merging Technologies at www.merging.com.