Although it’s mostly known as a video show, this year’s NAB Show (April 12 to 15, 2010) opened with big news on the audio side: Avid’s announcement of its intent to purchase Euphonix. The deal had been in the works since last year’s IBC show, but was the buzz at NAB, having only been publicly announced the day before exhibits opened. You’ll find Avid’s announcement and Kevin Becka’s blog about the announcement on Mix’s Website, but suffice it to say, there were more questions generated than answers.
Beyond that blockbuster news, the broadcast industry’s biggest show brought gear galore and thick crowds to the four halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The general consensus was that the show was up from last year and figures proved that to be correct. NAB claimed 88,044 attendees, a 6.5 percent increase from the 2009 NAB show.
Audio manufacturers liked the increased floor traffic from the move to the Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“We’re delighted by the extraordinarily positive feedback from both attendees and exhibitors,” says NAB executive vice president Dennis Wharton. “The uptick in attendance and dazzling technology on display here demonstrates again the NAB show’s enduring popularity and status as the premiere global event for the content marketplace.”
Exhibitors seemed equally upbeat about the consolidation of audio now mostly moved to the C Hall. And even in the far corners, exhibitors were pleased with the traffic. Most manufacturers had new things to show, some bringing major releases to NAB 2010. Here are a few highlights we encountered.
Euphonix MC Control Version 2
Consoles—More Power, Smaller Packages
Beyond the all the Avid talk, Euphonix was focused on business, showing the MC Control Version 2, which features a new 800x480-pixel backlit LED touchscreen, four touch-sensitive faders and better tactile control of parameters via eight new touch sensitive rotary encoders. MC Control V. 2's ergonomic layout includes dedicated transport controls as well as a data entry wheel that can be assigned on the fly to control everything from basic jog/shuttle navigation and zooming to a host of advanced editing functions.
Solid State Logic showed an extremely compact 16-fader version of its no-compromise C10 HD digital broadcast console. The C10 HD features an efficient 34-inch wide design, an option for “Broadcast Production Automation,” a 5.1 Upmix option that generates a multichannel surround output from stereo sources, and a Dialog Automix option for reliable, multi-mic audio level management for talk-show-style productions. Another option, DAW Control, enables post-production mixing during studio dark periods for increased studio productivity.
Fairlight EVO console
Fairlight launched EVO, a console that promises high-end power with cutting-edge affordability. Using Fairlight’s proprietary Crystal Core Processing, the SX range of I/O options and Xynergi self-labeling key technology, EVO gives users fast access to mixing tools via rotary encoders and touch screens that combine to deliver inline controls and detailed full-color displays for every fader.
The Vi1 from Soundcraft is a complete stand-alone digital console package featuring 32 channels of analog input to 27 analog outputs, plus six digital inputs, four Stereo FX Returns and six digital outputs in one chassis. By adding a stage box (compatible with the existing Vi racks), simultaneous channel count increases to 64.
Calrec showed a fully customizable three-rackspace I/O interface box that fits into its Hydra2 Network system. The unit’s modular design contributes to fast, easy signal routing among devices on an audio network. Also making its first NAB showing, Calrec’s Artemis console is based on the Apollo platform and, like Apollo, relies on Calrec technology—Bluefin2 for processing and Hydra2 for routing.
Lawo announced its intent for closer collaboration with Optocore, which developed a “Lawo Emulation Mode” that enables a Lawo console to communicate with Optocore I/O units. Lawo also showed a new interface for its mc² series and the Nova73 HD systems in its Version 4.8 software release that promises a faster workflow offering greater flexibility.
showed its M1 Monitor System, which allows monitoring of 16 channels of
audio from a 3G/SD/HD SDI input to eight analog outputs. Features
include stereo Lo/Ro (left-only/right-only) downmixing, an audio delay
for video monitor latency, 2-channel monitoring mode, headphone output
with level control and a 2-channel external input for monitoring
announced collaborations with both Lawo and SSL during NAB and showed
its SANE Cat-5 network system, which garnered a prestigious MIPA award
the month before at Musikmesse/ProLight+Sound. SANE features a 1
gigabit-per-second data rate supporting 512 audio channels, ultra-low
latency, complete signal integration on one fiber, and single-channel
access for every device on the system.
Roland Systems Group is now shipping its S-0808 8-in/8-out compact digital snake and showed the handy Ace Backstage S-0808 Stage Pocket,
an in-floor installation housing that houses the S-0808 unit, which
easily slides in/out during use and later be stored securely. Adjacent
to the S-0808’s well are a panel for up to 12 common A/V connectors and
a generous raceway for AC power.
The Listening Post
Dynaudio Acoustics showed its newly redesigned BM5A MKII monitors.
The woofer offers longer excursions resulting in a cleaner, tighter
bass response and an added waveguide that ensures reduced acoustical
reflections and a more-accurate sweet spot for the listener.
Focal had a great sounding 5.1 system set up in their trade show “igloo” using their new and affordable CMS 40 active monitors with their CMS SUB.
The CMS 40 uses the same Aluminum/Magnesium inverted dome tweeter as in
Focal’s CMS 50 and CMS 65, offering clear highs to 28kHz and the very
low weight of the 4-inch Polyglass cone woofer extending the frequency
response to 60Hz.
Showing for the first time at NAB, Genelec brought its 8260A three-way DSP System,
which is now shipping. The 8260A features major advances in audio
driver technology, integrated with a sophisticated enclosure design,
and Genelec’s proprietary Minimum Diffraction Coaxial (MDC™)
had three new monitors in its Reveal range on hand. The 501a active
monitor features a perfectly matched 60W integrated amplifier ensuring
maximum efficiency from the 5-inch LF/MF driver and 1-inch soft dome
tweeter, while the 501a’s response has been optimized for near-field
operation. The 601a, meanwhile, features a larger 6.5-inch LF/MF driver
and 1-inch soft dome tweeter and a total power output of 90 watts. The
601p is a passive version of the 601a.
Audio-Technica bowed the BPHS1 broadcast stereo headset
with a dynamic boom microphone, offering natural, highly intelligible
stereo reproduction. The rugged BPHS1 features closed-back circumaural
ear cups designed to provide maximum comfort and ambient noise
rejection with minimal ear fatigue. The BPHS1 also has a pro
boom-mounted moving coil dynamic mic that you can position for use on
either side of the mouth.
RME Babyface USB audio interface
showed a new desktop USB I/O called Babyface that packs a mind-blowing
array of features in a small footprint. It features 192 kHz AD/DA
conversion, 10 inputs/12 outputs, two balanced mic preamps, hi-Z input,
ADAT or S/PDIF IO, headphone out and 32-channel MIDI IO, plus an
FPGA-powered PC/Mac mixer with effects and M/S decoding. For more, read Kevin Becka’s blog about the RME Babyface.
Minnetonka Audio Software
announced the release of a new product for facilities equipped with
Dolby E: the LTRT WavFileAnalyzer is an Lt-Rt software product that
provides automated content verification for stored media files and is
designed for broadcasters as well as content and service providers. The
product is certified to run on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
MOTU brought its HD Express HDMI video interface,
a broadcast-quality HD and SD video capturing and monitoring device for
Final Cut Pro on Mac and Premiere Pro on Windows. The HD Express HDMI
connects to a current-generation Mac or Windows computer via PCI
Express. HDMI supports full-raster, pixel-for-pixel digital clarity
with no video compression, resulting in stunning image quality and
color depth that far surpasses highly-compressed workflows based on DV,
HDV, AVC and similar capture codecs.
Prism Sound brought the soon-to-be-released SADiE 6 software,
a version of SADiE that can run as a software-only version with any
I/O. In addition to new technical features, the slick new interface
offers an astounding array of viewing options including complex, shaded
color choices making this new release easy on the eyes. (Watch a video demo of SADiE 6 software from Winter NAMM 2010.)
Prism Sound also showed a lower-cost version of its groundbreaking
dScope Series III audio analyzer. It’s aimed at R&D engineers and
production line managers who currently only require audio analysis in
the analog domain.
TC System 6000 MKII
TC Electronic showed its 6000 MKII,
a retooled version of the company’s legacy hardware
reverb/multi-effects unit with TC Icon controller. New features include
a network and Wi-Fi savvy platform, ITU BS.1770, ATSC A/85 and EBU R128
compliant metering, Matrix 88 mixer for ultimate precision summing and
a stronger chassis with a new stylish look.
Small Tree featured the GRaniteSTOR ST-RAID, which promises consistent performance over Ethernet networks. The system is available in 8-, 12- or 16-drive configurations.
PT0700R remote Client Panel lets an engineer in one location see
exactly the same audio and video display as an engineer in the master
control room. Both the master and remote display can be independently
controlled and both follow a standard interface protocol, allowing any
DVI/DCC interface to extend the distance between the units.
Neyrinck displayed SoundCode for Dolby E,
which operates as a standalone app or plug-in. It offers accelerated
encoding, easier monitoring and decoding, encoding directly into Final
Cut Pro and Final Cut Express, N-Mon monitoring utility and stereo
Mix received an ears-on demo of TAC System’s innovative new plug-ins including the RTAS/AudioSuite/Audio Units/VST NML RevCon-RR reverb reduction plug-in.
It features the ability to de-reverberate a signal and we can certify
that the results are incredible. The NML RevCon-RS takes that same
basic ability but rather than eliminating the reverberation, it
separates it allowing you to steer it to back speakers in a
multi-channel monitoring array for realistic surround effects.
announced the Version 1.6 software upgrade for its flagship broadcast
delay units, the BD600 and the BD600E. It’s available as a free
download at eventide.com for registered owners and released to
production for new units in May of 2010. The BD600 and its sibling, the
BD600E offer 80 seconds of 24-bit profanity delay protection, with an
adjustable delay buffer in half-second increments from 1 second to 80
seconds, and feature a Panic mode.
DN-F300 and DN-F400 solid-state audio players can read MP3 files and
uncompressed WAV files from SD or SDHC cards (the DN-F300 can also read
from USB drives)—all technologies more stable and reliable in demanding
applications than the “spinning” CD.
Production on the Go
AKG showed new technology that pairs wireless performance with Harman System Architect’s ease of use. Its pro-level DMS 700 digital wireless mic system is now fully integrated into System Architect. Users can now set up and monitor multichannel DMS 700 systems with tools such as one-click setup. Also, users have a new tool to browse, monitor, and control their wireless microphone and IEM systems—their iPhone. The new AKG app is available as a free download from Apple’s iTunes store.
Sound Devices CL-9 Linear Fader Controller with 788T Digital Recorder
Sound Devices introduced its latest accessory for its 788T Digital Recorder, the new CL-9 Linear Fader Controller. The CL-9 has eight 100mm ultra low-latency linear faders and rotary input trim controls with ring LED metering for fast, smooth and precise critical gain changes. When a CL-9 is connected, the 788T gains a 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.
Tascam offered a number of slick accessories to extend the functionality of its field recorder line. New add-ons include a travel bag for the DR-680 multichannel recorder and a fuzzy-top windscreen for the for the DR-2 Linear PCM recorder.
Zaxcom announced the TRX900LT, which combines crystal clear wireless transmission with a built-in backup recorder and remote control functionality via ZaxNet. It features the company’s patented internal time code referenced backup recorder that backs up the transmitted audio onto a removable microSD card.
Mix Certified Hits!
With more than a thousand exhibitors, there was a lot at see at NAB and choosing our Top 10 product debuts wasn’t easy, but here are our choices for the Mix Certified Hits of NAB 2010, listed alphabetically:
Euphonix MC v2
Solid State Logic C10 HD
Sound Devices CL-9
TC Electronic 6000 MKII
TAC System Inc. NML RevCon-RR
More NAB Fun
NAB returns next year from April 10 to 15, 2011 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Meanwhile, check out more product coverage from NAB in future issues of Mix as well as online at mixonline.com/nab_2010.