Audio acquisition and production


Remembering the days when the average 'portable' sound recorder was heavy enough to induce a hernia, I have high respect for the capabilities of modern digital audio devices. Not least the solid-state recorders that have emerged as successors to the Sony-originated DAT and MiniDisk formats. But avoid anything that lacks XLR connectors unless you are willing to risk the intermittent signal loss caused by mini-jacks. My remit here is to summarise some of the newest kit across the whole audio sector in a tight 1 kilowords. So without further ado...
AKG Acoustics' new WMS 4500 wireless microphone system is designed to handle multiple users and multi-channel applications. It is is available in two new frequency bands: Band 7 (500-530 MHz) and Band 8 (570-600 MHz), offering more options for multi-channel systems in today's crowded RF environment. The system's components, the SR4500 receiver unit, the PT 4500 emitter, and the HT 4500 handheld microphone unit offer new features and new construction. Squelch threshold, carrier frequency selection, and the listed user name can be edited and stored with an easy-to-use menu.
Clear-Com Communication Systems has introduced Version 5 of its Eclipse Digital Matrix System. Acting as a central switching unit for communications across a broadcast operation, it offers expanded connectivity options between frames and panels and simplifies the user interface of its configuration software. Multiple Eclipse systems can be combined as one non-blocking matrix using redundant high-capacity fibre, resulting in a large, high-quality, full-duplex communications system for mobile production and studio integration.
Crystal Vision's new Synner HD combines a video synchroniser, tracking audio delay, audio embedder, extractor and audio processor on one 100 x 266 mm board. It also includes features for processing Dolby E and can combine this with standard AES audio. If the Dolby E is locked to the input, it will be delayed and timed so that the Dolby E data is correctly aligned with the video frame.

DiGiCo's new SD8 incorporates many features of the company's D Series in compact unit. Features include a 37 faders, each with a 20-element bar-graph meter, plus multi-function rotary controls, electronic labelling and a 15-inch touch-sensitive TFT display. The TFT shows functions relevant to what is being adjusted at any instant. A physical fader, knob or backlit electronically labeled button is either provided for every major mix function, or can be programmed onto one of the provided user macro buttons. All 24 channel faders and 12 assignable aux/master faders can be assigned as channels or masters, allowing 36 main faders to control inputs if so required. A 12 x 12 output matrix is provided, its 12 buses being additional to the console's 24 stereo, solo and master buses.

Digidesign's recently announced Pro Tools 8 audio creation and production software incorporates a new interface, new plug-ins and virtual instruments, new scoring and MIDI features, plus expanded editing and mixing capabilities. An improved console, control surface and M-Audio controller integration enable users to map plug-in parameter adjustment to almost any encoder on their controller, and to access each track's 10 inserts.
Eyeheight's AS-2MD digital audio shuffler simplifies the task of re-assigning embedded audio channels within an HD-SDI or SD-SDI feed. A second input allows embedded audio to be extracted from one feed and added to alternative video from another. It also enables audio breakaway of any source if installed on an HD-SDI router.
Fostex' UR-2 is a stereo audio recorder using SD cards and USB pen drives. Features include dual SD card slots and a USB host connector for alternate recording/playback. Timer play and power-on play enable automatic playback start for such as chime and repetitive announcement. The play mode list is in CSV file format which can easily be edited using a text editor or spread sheet program software on PC.

Holophone's PortaMic 5.1 camera-mountable surround microphone has six separate mic elements arranged to correspond with the typical Dolby 5.1 speaker configuration providing the means to capture a discrete surround recording from a single point source,. The PortaMic's encoder is equipped with Dolby Pro Logic II encoding which allows the six audio channels to be encoded down to two channels. The surround encoded audio is output to both a stereo mini plug and six-pin balanced mini XLR. Measuring only 25 mm high, the microphone's encoder also presents a low profile when connected to the camera.
Marantz recently announced the PMD620, a 62 x 102 x 25 mm handheld digital recorder that captures to SD flashcard media in WAV or MP3 audio formats. Features include an inbuilt stereo condenser microphone plus a single-hand control surface with thumb-operated transport wheel and illuminating record button. Recording time with a 4 GB card extends from 3 hrs 44 minutes for stereo PCM at 24-bit 48 kHz to almost 12 days for mono MP3 at 32 kbps. Features include non-destructive onboard editing and cut-and-paste creation of new sound files.
NTP Technology's BLISS is a mixer control surface operating on a standard PC. Designed for use with the company's 625 and Penta 725 audio routers, it is configurable for up to 24 channels displayed on two adjacent wide screens computer monitor screens. BLISS allows configuration of source and destination on each channel as well as master effects and signal processing. Linked to the router via a standard IP connection, the NTP audio software console provides the functions of a digitally-controlled desk in a far more compact footprint than a traditional horizontal hardware-based installation.

Sonifex has expanded its Reference Monitor range of 1 U rack-mounted audio monitors loudspeakers offers quality loudspeaker monitoring and accurate, high resolution metering of up to four or ten stereo audio sources. The new RM-CA2 has two analogue stereo XLR inputs and 1 unbalanced RCA phono input plus three-driver transducers. The RM-CAD8 confidence monitor has all the features of the RM-CA2 together with one S/PDIF, one TOSlink and four AES/EBU digital inputs.
Studer's new OnAir 2500 digital all-in-one radio on-air console is based on the OnAir 2000. Control surface, I/O breakout, DSP core and power supply are all integrated within a single chassis. The fader strips include a graphical OLED display containing a channel label, level and gain reduction meter and parameter readouts, adjustable via a rotary encoder and two push buttons below the display.


Caveat

Don't let the word 'digital' put you off your guard, particularly when choosing a sound recorder. Check carefully for internally generated noise, susceptibility to input preamp overload and resistance to ambient RF interference. Check also what happens if the power goes down before the audio file is terminated.
akg wms4500
akg wms4500
eyeheight
eyeheight
studer onair 2500
studer onair 2500

Tags: akg | iss025 | clear-com | crystal vision | digico | digidesign | eyeheight | fostex | holophone | marantz | ntp | soniflex | studer | eye to eye | audio | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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