Tag Archives: Gear and Technology

Innovations: Grass Valley AMPP Audio Mixer

Grass Valley AMPP Audio Mixer
Grass Valley AMPP Audio Mixer

There’s little doubt that the pandemic has fueled technical innovation, focusing minds on new solutions to the challenges presented by working from home. A number of hardware solutions for remotely mixing audio have emerged over recent times, but Grass Valley has gone a step further, unveiling its cloud-based AMPP Audio Mixer.

The new product is the latest extension of Grass Valley’s AMPP or Agile Media Processing Platform, a SaaS solution for remote and distributed productions. The platform is the result of a project to bring cloud technologies to television broadcast, says Mike Cronk, Grass Valley’s VP of advanced technology and chairman of the board for AIMS, the open-standards IP advocacy group.

There are a lot of technical challenges, he says, such as handling latency, aligning signals and managing time and bandwidth. “We worked on solving those technical problems, got about 17 patents and built a platform that is able to do live production in the cloud. And, if you can solve live production in the cloud, you can also do playout and other post production functions, which are also moving that way.”

The AMPP platform is part of the Grass Valley Media Universe, says Cronk. “We want to build an ecosystem of partners, not just Grass Valley, to provide other software applications and services to bring the capabilities of elastic compute to the industry in a meaningful way, so they can use that to improve their businesses.”

Blizzard Entertainment was the first to put the AMPP Audio Mixer to work, using it on eSports broadcasts in early 2020, he reports. The user base has since grown to include broadcast networks, corporate events and even certain aspects of the Super Bowl.

“Because human ears are so keen on differences and latency between different audio signals, that’s driven the industry to do a lot with dedicated hardware. It takes time to put that into software,” he notes. Since Grass Valley solved some of those issues in a software world with the AMPP ecosystem, he says, “We were able to exploit that and build the Audio Mixer.”

The mixer is an app that runs on a computer and may be controlled via a touch screen or mouse. “That computer could be in AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. It also could be running on a general-purpose server right next to you. You run that application up and it serves an HTTPS HTML5 interface.” Multiple instances will run simultaneously on the platform.

The mixer currently offers a feature set that supports productions up to a certain size: 64 audio stems or inputs, eight subgroups, 16 output mixes—enabling the creation of mix-minus feeds or aux sends—plus a main out and eight VCA groups. There’s comprehensive EQ, filters and compression assignable to all inputs, outputs and groups.

For those preferring tactile control, says Cronk, “A lot of our first customers have been using the Behringer X-Touch Compact,” which offers nine faders, 16 rotary encoders and 39 buttons. “We have a service that can run locally that allows you to map any key on a MIDI panel to any function.”

Audio is introduced into the AMPP platform via SMPTE ST 2110-30/AES67, SDI and NDI. “The other thing we do, especially over the WAN and in-cloud, is encode in Opus, which is pretty efficient and low latency,” he says. “Once the audio lands on a compute node that’s under AMPP control, if it’s compressed, we decompress it and we deal with PCM audio.”

The mixer UI incorporates a video program monitor panel, and because the platform carries uncompressed video and metadata, assigning an audio input with associated video brings up a keyframe thumbnail on that channel. An AV multiplexer on each mixer output channel can marry audio to its associated video, with delay compensation, without the need for external apps, he says.

While the AMPP Audio Mixer won’t be handling any super-complex productions quite yet, this is just the initial version and it’s being well received, Cronk reports: “People have found it very intuitive and have been able to up the level of their productions. This is a tool that is groundbreaking in terms of its capabilities in the cloud. We’re really excited about it.”

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

d&b audiotechnik Launches D40 Amplifier

d&b audiotechnik D40 Amplifier
d&b audiotechnik D40 Amplifier d&b auditoechnik GmbH & Co. KG

Backnang, Germany (June 23, 2021)—d&b audiotechnik has unveiled its new D40 four-channel Class D mobile amplifier.

Intended for mobile applications, the D40 is the mobile version of the 40D installation amplifier. Its user interface consists of a 4.3-inch (480 x 272 pix.) color touchscreen and a digital rotary encoder, providing information of the device configuration and status monitoring.

The D40 amplifier has a dynamic range of 116 dB (unweighted) and is designed to drive high-voltage d&b loudspeakers while providing management and protection capabilities. The D40 reaches 180 V peak, reportedly delivering full performance from d&b KSL System loudspeakers and V-Series and Y-Series.

Brooklyn Bowl Nashville is Ready to Roll

The D40 uses Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to incorporate loudspeaker configurations and user-definable setups, equalization and delay functions. Aiming to achieve a smaller environmental footprint, it also provides advanced voltage management to drive systems that demand less input power as a whole. The D40 includes enhanced energy saving features, power efficiency and Automatic Wake up for environmentally responsible and sustainable Green Building requirements.

d&b audiotechnik • www.dbaudio.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Ashly Audio Expands AW Series On-Wall Speaker Line

AW Series On-Wall speaker lineWebster, NY (June 23, 2021)—Ashly Audio has expanded its AW Series On-Wall speaker line with a new Plus model, sporting a higher power transformer for integrations in larger spaces.

With the Plus model, Ashly Audio has increased the output power of its 70 and 100 volt transformers in a move to enable more integration options. All AW speakers are designed to coexist within the Ashly Audio ecosystem and make use of its Protēa and AquaControl DSP.

Ashly Audio Updates AquaControl Software

The new Plus model, which will be stylized as AWT+, offers a power upgrade to make the speakers more accessible for larger rooms, such as retail spaces, transportation centers or noisy sports bars. The AW-5.2T+ is now available at 30, 15, 7.5, and 3.75W at 70V, and at 60, 30, 15, and 7.5W at 100V. The AW-8.2T+ is available at 60, 30, 15, and 7.5W at 70V, and at 60, 30, and 15W at 100V.

A Directivity Optimized Crossover in the AW design reportedly reduces the off-axis deviation in sound pressure levels to <9 db, aiming to provide a wider “sweet spot” for audio. The AW-5.2T+ & AW-8.2T+ are also IP54 rated, so they are applicable for use in outdoor situations, like patios and public spaces, as well as for indoors.

Ashly Audio • www.ashly.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Embody Immerse Virtual Studio – A Real-World Review

Embody Immerse Virtual Studio
Embody Immerse Virtual Studio

Don’t let the name fool you; Embody’s Immerse Virtual Studio plug-in is not a tool for creating immersive audio experiences. It is designed specifically to put you in the driver’s seat at some well-known studios to listen to your mixes in those rooms.

The Spaces

Immerse Virtual Studio sits on your master fader. When you’re done, you’ll either bypass or remove it before you export your mix. You get several studios to experience—Erik Reichers and Bob Horn’s Echo Bar, SAE’s Diamond Control Room, Warren Huart’s Spitfire Studio, and Carlos de la Garza’s Music Friends Studio. I have no first-hand experience with any of them, so I have no frame of reference as to how close they came…but each gets highlighted with photos and pages of information about their gear, engineers and artists that have used them. For this alone, the plug-in has educational value.

Embody has captured room responses to recreate the reflections and overall feel of each space. There seems to be a pretty wide range of styles in them, from what I consider a more traditional studio with soffited speakers to more personal spaces with speakers just piled up along the meter bridge and pretty close to each other. By selecting the headphones you’re using within the plug-in, the playing field is leveled via EQ, allowing the modeling of the speakers in each studio to translate more evenly. It takes some getting used to, and you’ll no doubt find your favorite space to be in.

Getting to work

To put the plug-in through its paces, I loaded up an old project that I’ve been aching to revisit. It was tracked on 2” tape on an SSL E Series with lots of external Neve mic pres, and later transferred to Pro Tools. It features a wide range of acoustic and electric instruments and vocals to test with. My hope was to close my eyes and be at that SSL again instead of my home studio.

When transitioning from a traditional headphone mix to this virtual room, there is a shift in how things are panned, moving to subtle and distant panning based on the position of the speakers in front of you. The acoustic vacuum of your headphones is given new life via replicated virtual acoustics (essentially a short reverb). While this helps to create the illusion, I found myself dialing down the ambience, especially when trying to listen for similar early reflections in the drum mics or even the lead vocal. Thankfully, Embody gives you control of that.

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I want to pull back for a moment and manage expectations: You are not gaining a pair of Genelecs or Focals for your home studio. Instead, there is an EQ curve applied to represent the characteristics of those speakers in your headphones. I found the tonal differences when switching between virtual monitors a bit disconcerting at first, but got used to it. What really bothered me was trying to mix the lead vocal; the phase manipulation and other processing made it hard for me to cope. Admittedly annoyed and just not feeling it, I was beginning to dismiss the experience completely when I thought, “Let me bypass the thing and listen on my speakers for a minute.” And that’s when…

Results!

It worked! When I switched back to my real-world monitors, I had little expectation that anything would translate—but it did…and it did so beautifully! Generally, music is mixed in studios and translates well to headphones; this is the first time I had mixed in headphones and had it translate to the speakers.

There is a free trial available for Immerse Virtual Studio so you can poke around and explore on your own. It’s a nice way to hear a mix back on multiple speakers when you’re limited to one set. I would love to see them add some more ‘world-class’ studios to the mix, as well as a surround option. If you’re in a situation what you need to keep the noise down but want to continue working on a mix, this is a fun solve! Is it worth the price tag? You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

EAW Launches NTX Line Array, SBX Subwoofer

EAW's NTX201L Line Array speaker
EAW’s NTX201L Line Array speaker

Whitinsville, MA (June 15, 2021)—Eastern Acoustic Works has unveiled its new NTX Series Line Array and SBX Series Subwoofer.

The NTX201L is a 2×10” articulated array with an integrated 1,600 W two-channel amplifier and universal PFC power supply. The NTX210L operates in the 55 Hz – 18 kHz range with a max SPL of 140 dB, and additionally has a 90° horizontal and 12° vertical nominal beamwidth. The NTX201L uses EAW’s OptiLogic technology, providing automatic array self-detection via onboard infrared sensors and accelerometers, and optimization including air loss compensation and more. The NTX series features integrated Dante networking including analog redundancy capability, allowing the analog input to be set to automatically enable if the Dante signal is lost.

Meanwhile, the SBX Series high output subwoofers are also debuting with two models—the SBX218, capable of a total 5,000 watts, and the SBX118, capable of 2,500 watts. Both operate in the 25 Hz–120 Hz frequency range with a max SPL of 141 dB for the SBX218 and 135 dB for the SBX118. Both models feature exclusive 18-inch neodymium woofers with 4-inch voice coils. Designed to complement the NTX210L Line Array, they can support other systems as well.

EAW Brings MKD Speaker Production Back to U.S.

The SBX Series subs sport hefty grills with large openings to protect the woofers and resist damage, while the large port, inspired by aircraft design, is intended to prevent port noise. EAW’s DynO dynamic optimization processing technology is also applied.

The NXT and SBX series both integrate with EAW’s Resolution 2 software, which provides system optimization, as well as room design and prediction, in a single application.

Eastern Acoustic Works • www.eaw.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Fuse Releases VREV-666 Freebie Plug-In

Fuse VREV-666 Freebie Plug-In
Fuse VREV-666 Freebie Plug-In

Duesseldorf, Germany (June 14, 2021)—Fuse Audio Labs has released VREV-666, a new, free reverb plug-in.

VREV-666 is based on a Sixties-vintage spring reverb originally built for the BBC, serving up bouncy and unpredictable vibes in its take on an electromechanical reverb. While Fuse Audio readily suggests that the results may not always be entirely faithfully representative, stating in its notes that “VREV-666 values character above realism,” the plug-in is nonetheless intended to provide an edgy, dirty vibe to audio.

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The original hardware featured a single effect gain control, but the VREV-666 adds an Effect Mix stage, a Pre-Delay of up to 150 ms, and a Tone EQ that attenuates the resonance of the spring system in the bass range. Meanwhile, an Effect Limiter built around a light bulb helps to tame peaks.

Fuse Audio Labs CEO Reimund Dratwa notes, “While the few available hardware units remain much cherished gems inside the studios of spirited artists and producers, we’re delighted to make the original vintage character of this juicy reverb available for everybody’s DAW absolutely for free.”

The VREV-666 plug-in is offered for free to anyone who creates a free account on the Fuse Audio Labs website.

Fuse Audio Labs • www.fuseaudiolabs.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Shure Launches Axient Digital ADX5D Portable Receiver

Shure Axient Digital ADX5D Portable Receiver
Shure Axient Digital ADX5D Portable Receiver

London, UK (June 14, 2021)—Shure has introduced its new Axient Digital ADX5D Portable Receiver, expanding its flagship digital wireless line with a dual-channel, portable wireless slot receiver—a new portable form factor that makes the line more applicable to film and TV production.

While to date the Axient Digital line has been primarily used onstage in event and tour production, the new ADX5D is intended for use in sports/events broadcasting, electronic news gathering (ENG), film/episodic television, and electronic field production (EFP)—all of which rely on location sound.

The ADX5D uses true digital diversity technology, aiming to prevent signal fades and dropouts, while offering AES-256 encryption and 2 ms latency from the mic transducer to the analog output. A wide tuning band ensures reliable operation in any environment.

Shure Updates SLX-D Digital Wireless System

The ADX5D’s form factor is intended to make it an on-the-go wireless receiver, allowing it to slot inside and connect directly to the audio inputs of a professional broadcast camera. The portability is also intended to aid film and TV sound mixers who often have discrete powering, audio-routing, and/or RF-distributing gear in their portable recording bags.

ADX5D incorporates Shure’s ShowLink technology, which allows for real-time control of transmitter parameters, interference detection and avoidance. Intended for remote, hybrid, or on-location sound environments, ShowLink aids use of back-up frequencies, provides remote control directly to linked transmitters and is compatible with Shure’s Wireless Workbench software.

“The ADX5D Portable Receiver is an incredible tool to have at my disposal while on set,” said Jon Ailetcher, CAS, Production Sound Mixer on Chicago PD. “We move very fast on our show, and with ADX5D, I can easily transition from my cart to my bag, whether we’re on location or in the studio, without affecting my workflow.”

ADX5D is shipping globally this summer.

Shure • www.shure.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Black Lion Audio Launches PG-2 Power Conditioner

Black Lion Audio PG-2 Power Conditioner
Black Lion Audio PG-2 Power Conditioner

Chicago, IL (June 11, 2021)—Black Lion Audio has debuted its new PG-2, a pro power conditioner with a 120 V Power Grid of 14 outlets in a 2U rack-mountable chassis.

The PG-2 sports proprietary PG-99 Filtering Technology, alongside a suite of status and alert capabilities, all of which Black Lion says helps the unit provide an average of 99.7% of noise filtering.

The power condition features Panasonic and Wimi capacitors, and offers filtration with a reported power absorption rating of 2,775 joules. Also, the PG-2 features a bank of 12 switched, filtered, and surge-protected outlets on its back panel arranged as three groups — four Digital Audio Outlets, four Analog Audio Outlets and four High Current Outlets.

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The Analog Audio Outlets and High Current Outlets are time-delayed to ensure that speakers and power amplifiers are the last to turn on and the first to turn off, thereby preventing the ‘pop’ that can occur if speakers receive power at the same time as sound sources.

A front panel provides two filtered Unswitched Outlets for convenience alongside a (5V 1A) USB charger connection and a suite of status and alert capabilities, courtesy of Voltage Monitor and Amperage Monitor metering for real-time analysis, as well as Ground OK, Wiring Fault, Clean Power On, Abnormal Voltage, and Protection On LED (Light Emitting Diode) status. An audio alarm also helps highlight Abnormal Voltage.

PG-2 is currently available for $399.00.

Black Lion Audio • www.blacklionaudio.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

JBL Tour Audio Software Suite Updates Released

JBL Professional Tour Audio Software Updates
JBL Professional Tour Audio Software Updates

Northridge, CA (June 11, 2021)—JBL Professional has released a series of updates for its JBL Tour Audio Software Suite, adding new features and addressing bugs as well. The update includes Performance Manager v2.8.0; ArrayLink v1.4.0 for Android and iOS; and LAC v3.6.0.

New features in Performance Manager 2.8.0 include added preset support for AE Compact speakers; updated speaker presets for VTX S25 with the aim to provide improved reliability; and general improvements and bug fixes.

The AE Compact Series models have been added to Performance Manager, and the new speaker presets were developed for all models to match the sonic and phase signature of VTX products. Meanwhile, the new presets developed for the VTX S25 dual 15-inch subwoofer address “a rare problem,” says JBL, where under specific conditions, woofer damage could occur. The new presets include optimized LevelMax parameters to ensure safe operation under any conditions, and the sound characteristics of the product, including MAX SPL, remain unchanged.

JBL Launches IRX115S Subwoofer

The new features for ArrayLink v.1.4.0 include compatibility support for LAC-3.6.0; an added new “Light Mode” UI theme for better visibility in daylight; support for Ground-Stacked Configurations (this requires LAC-3.6.0 or higher); the addition of a Cable Weight field to the Array Statistics page; and general improvements and bug fixes.

Users who download the updated Line Array Calculator III v3.6.0 will find a number of added features, including a new SPL Over Distance Graph in Mapping mode; Added Electronic Delay Steering for Suspended Subwoofer Arrays; the ability for LAC-3 to generate QR codes for Ground-Stacked Arrays; improved center-of-gravity calculations based on selected cable weight; and more.

JBL Professional • www.jblpro.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Music Collaboration Platform Groovesetter Debuts

Groovesetter is a real-time, multichannel audio collaboration platform for streaming, performing and recording over high-speed internet.
Groovesetter is a real-time, multichannel audio collaboration platform for streaming, performing and recording over high-speed internet. Groovesetter

Los Angeles, CA (June 11, 2021)—Musicians have wanted to collaborate online with no syncing issues as long as the internet been around, and the latest service looking to conquer that challenge is Groovesetter, a real-time, multichannel audio collaboration platform for streaming, performing and recording over high-speed internet.

Noting that it offers “ultra-low latency, the service allows its subscribers to connect and interact from up to eight remote locations, allowing music creators to play, stream and record together from any location and capture digital data of the music production.

Groovesetter lays out simple interactive visual routing of audio signal flow and flexible connection settings. Optional virtual channels allow for cable-free, multi-channel connection between DAWs and OBS, all in the same session. With the low latency solution, it allows users to create combined interactive experiences on platforms such as Twitch, Facebook Live, & YouTube Live. Groovesetter’s metadata module makes the capture of information for each music session possible at the source of its creation.

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Rouslan Ovtcharoff, CEO and co-founder, noted, “We’ve simplified a very complex connection process to an intuitive username and password experience and built useful tools into the platform that every creator will appreciate.”

A core team from Groovesetter’s technology partner BULPROS developed the platform. “We are excited to partner with Groovesetter and bring our deep technology expertise in the software development and the cloud infrastructure field to the creation of such an amazing audio platform for the music industry. I am thrilled with the fast and wide adoption of the Groovesetter platform by professionals and enthusiasts in the music field alike,” says Ivaylo Slavov, CEO of Bulpros.

Groovesetter • https://groovesetter.com/

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com