In a perfect world, when I am reporting these 2015 NAB Show technology preview articles like the one posted this morning (“NAB Show Audio: A Tale Of Two Transitions”), I would speak to every possible source, gather every last bit of information and report my findings.
Our world, however, is far from perfect, and I can say with 100% certainty that I don’t — although I try. Sometimes there is a source I can’t reach; sometimes there’s a source I didn’t even know about; and sometimes the timing is simply off.
The latter is the case with Digigram and the company’s product marketing manager Pascal Malgouyard. I learned of Digigram’s involvement with AES67 about a day before my deadline, reached out via email with several questions — the time difference between Kansas City and Montibonnot in southeastern France made a phone interview impossible — and hoped for the best.
I was rewarded a little after noon my time today with thoughtful answers from Malgouyard. While it was too late to add some of his insights to the article, I was nonetheless pleased that the portion of today’s article about audio over IP at this year’s NAB Show and Malgouyard’s comments corresponded.
I was also pleased that I have the Playout blog with which to present Malgouyard’s thoughts.
Do you anticipate AES67 becoming more visible at NAB?
AES67 is the standard for high-performance audio transport over IP. It will simplify installation and setup everywhere, and especially in broadcast applications. Digigram is highly implicated in the development of AES67, and the 2015 NAB Show is a great place to spread the message and show the standard’s numerous advantages to our clients and to the market.
Since AES67 was released in September 2013, Digigram, as a reference sound card manufacturer, has noted that most representative broadcast audio manufacturers have shown very high interest in installing a “common language” AES67 interface in parallel with their own system approaches. Their great interest confirms that the demand on manufacturers will naturally keep rising during the next period.
AES67 is expected to be decidedly more visible and over time will become a must have for any broadcaster that expects high performance from its audio equipment.
Digigram’s new LX-IP RAVENNA sound card, which the company will highlight at the 2015 NAB Show, allows seamless migration to AES67 in OB vans and TV studios.
Is the role of AES67 as a sort-of bridging technology that will allow vertically integrated audio-over-IP protocols, such as RAVENNA, to transport audio packets to equipment or studios based on other vertically integrated audio-over-IP protocols? If so, how important is this? If not, what is the major function you see for AES67?
Most vertically integrated manufacturers (e.g., Axia and Wheatstone) — in association with Dante-enabled equipment, such as Stagetec, DHD or SSL mixing engines and NTP routers — will continue to focus on their own system approaches for control management -that is, everything except audio streaming.
Since most of them are committed to providing an AES67 interface for audio streaming, broadcasters will be able to select the best technology for every function just as they have been able to do for years with AES/EBU or MADI.
And as they did with AES/EBU or MADI, broadcasters will continue to rely on transversal studio managers from specialized editors (e.g., L-S-B and others) to control their studios with existing protocols, such as EMBER+ or more proprietary protocols.
In what applications will AES67 be important to TV broadcasters?
Since AES67 avoids both dedicated audio lines and costly hardware routing, all applications requiring flexibility, high performance, such as high channel count, precise time-alignment, low latency and low CAPEX could benefit from AES67 interoperability.
As an example, an important use case consists of quickly installing a high-performance audio link between an AES67-enabled OB [outside broadcast production vehicle] and an AES67-enabled venue, such as a theater or a stadium.
I understand that AES67 is still evolving, for instance work is ongoing to enable a control layer. Is that true? What other areas might be developed to make AES67 more well-rounded over time — perhaps device discovery?
The AES is currently working on device discovery and control protocols, the whole purpose of which is to extend the interoperability beyond the principle of audio transport.
Is there is anything else you would like to add?
Digigram’s new LX-IP RAVENNA sound card allows seamless migration to AES67 in OB vans and TV studios thanks to these features: full compliance with AES67 interoperability recommendations, including its highest performance profiles; and a MADI interface.
This 64/64 I/O optical interface is connected with an embedded switching matrix — hence zero latency — to its dual RAVENNA/AES67 AoIP interface.
The LX-IP RAVENNA card is ideal in cases where an AES67-enabled audio mixing engine needs to be connected to any automation system for high-performance ingest or playout in live production, while at the same time operating existing MADI equipment, such as monitoring, up/downmixing, MADI-to-audio-SDI or any specialized function.