The Transistion in Audio Monitoring


Shane Toven TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
i

As signal chains have become increasingly complex, the challenges involved in managing and monitoring these paths have multiplied exponentially. Over the past few decades, we've migrated from handling a single channel of content using composite video and analog audio pairs, to elaborate multi-channel facilities routing HD video with embedded audio over SDI or in many cases discrete AES pairs. These audio signals are often a mix of 5.1 and stereo programs and in many cases encoded to or decoded from Dolby at some point in the chain.

Early monitoring of these discrete analog audio paths was often a simple go/no-go, with basic checks of level and phase during production, in master control and possibly at the transmitter site as well. As facilities moved toward multichannel operation and digital infrastructure, audio monitoring initially remained largely unchanged-with the exception that it was now frequently being done in the digital domain and integrated with the video monitoring.

With the development of standards, such as EBU R128 and ATSC A/85, measuring and controlling loudness (as opposed to simply program level) throughout the entire program chain became far more critical. Products began to hit the market to address these issues, but (while effectively meeting the requirements) they for the most part were "bolt on" solutions of some sort, not truly aware of or integrated with the rest of the facility. As technology developments continued, tools for meeting these standards were increasingly integrated into more equipment in the chain, but these components still, for the most part, remained largely unaware of the other parts in the system.

The current transition underway in the broadcast facility is from SDI and AES to IP-based signal distribution-including AES67 Audio over IP (AoIP). This presents a unique opportunity to bring all production, routing, distribution, processing and monitoring onto a common platform where every piece of the chain can be fully integrated and aware of the others. Through an AoIP network, any point in the system can not only send audio to and from another point, but also process, encode, decode, meter and monitor the audio at those points. Your facility is no longer limited to the capabilities of the patch bays, crosspoint routers and DA frames (or the equipment connected to them). Effectively the IP network and applications running on systems connected to it can largely take the place of that infrastructure, offering nearly infinite flexibility and expandability, particularly when it comes to signal monitoring.

One example of this would be migrating from dedicated hardware loudness management and metering to software-based platforms. With the traditional hardware-based model, each signal path would typically have an audio processor and/or loudness meter inserted at some point in the chain using SDI or AES I/O. This approach quickly becomes less efficient as more signals are added and need to be processed or monitored.

In a software-based model, the audio is carried to and from a server platform on the AoIP network as AES67 compliant streams. These streams could be generated by dedicated hardware endpoints that convert to/from SDI, AES, analog or MADI (for example). They could also originate from any other piece of equipment capable of natively generating and receiving AES67 compliant audio streams. A common server platform can handle monitoring, processing, encoding and decoding multiple streams of audio from the AoIP network, up to the limitations of the hardware. This creates a much more scalable and flexible environment than the single box, single stream, single purpose approach that is extensible from production and ingest all the way through transmission.

As you look toward equipment replacement and upgrades in your facility, it makes sense to evaluate solutions that incorporate standards-based signal distribution over IP such as AES67, bearing in mind that building a robust IP infrastructure allows for implementation of future standards, as well as a migration path from existing infrastructure. IP signal distribution isn't the future-it's here.


Tags: iss122 | aes | ebu r128 | atsc a85 | aes67 | Shane Toven
Contributing Author Shane Toven

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • AES3 to Dante / AES67 converters from Glensound at NAB 2019

    AES3 to Dante / AES67 converters from Glensound at NAB 2019

  • Intercom over AES67 with V-Series IRIS from Clear-Com at IBC 2018

    Intercom over AES67 with V-Series IRIS from Clear-Com at IBC 2018

  • Glensound show Beatrice the AES67 Network audio intercom beltpack at IBC 2018

    Glensound show Beatrice the AES67 Network audio intercom beltpack at IBC 2018

  • PARADISO Lite commentary unit from Glensound at BVE 2018

    PARADISO Lite commentary unit from Glensound at BVE 2018

  • Live Sports Broadcast Commentator from Glensound at NAB 2017

    Live Sports Broadcast Commentator from Glensound at NAB 2017

  • Telos Alliance at BVE 2017

    Telos Alliance at BVE 2017

  • Clear-Com Eclipse MADI Card at NAB 2012

    Clear-Com Eclipse MADI Card at NAB 2012

  • 4HM at BVE 2012

    4HM at BVE 2012

  • 4HM at BVE North 2011

    4HM at BVE North 2011

  • Nugen Audio at NAB 2014

    Nugen Audio at NAB 2014

  • TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

    TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

  • NUGEN Audio: Loudness Toolkit at NAB 2013

    NUGEN Audio: Loudness Toolkit at NAB 2013


Articles
Looking for the Silver Lining
Harry Grinling According to the World Meteorological Organisation, there are 10 different types of cloud, each of which can be divided further into sub-types. They range from the cirrus, the thin floaty clouds which generally serve only to make the sky look beautiful to the towering, all-embracing cumulonimbus which can deliver fearful quantities of rain – the biggest cumulonimbus clouds can contain 50 million tonnes of water.
Tags: iss136 | cloud | lto | archive | storage | Harry Grinling
Contributing Author Harry Grinling Click to read or download PDF
NAB Intelligence
Bruce Devlin - new It's that time of year again. 06:30 on road bikes on the Las Vegas Strip with a merry bunch of folks who believe they look good in lycra. As we pedal West up the hill towards Red Rock there will be stories of the year just gone and questions about what to look for at the show. I, for one, will be attending the Devoncroft event to check up on who is spending what and where. I will then look forward to the topics that might be buzzing around the halls. I predict there will be many displays of Machine Learning hiding under the banner of Artificial Intelligence. Some of these will show better picture quality, others will show personalisation engines, some will be improved search tools and yet more will be synthesising pictures and motions to replace reality with and Artificial reality that's more compelling for the viewer.
Tags: iss136 | nab | class | ai | smpte | st2110 | imf | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
TV Futures - The Shadowing Experience
Daniel Jones My name is Daniel Jones, and it is no accident that I’m currently studying BSc (Hons) Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth. Since completing GSCE media studies I have been constantly questioning what I watch with questions such as, “Wow, how was that filmed?” or “That looks amazing, I wonder how long that took?” It should come as no surprise that I made it a big focus of mine to get myself some real work experience to give myself some answers to these production questions.
Tags: iss136 | portsmouth university | runner | student | education | training | Daniel Jones
Contributing Author Daniel Jones Click to read or download PDF
Remote Teams and Talent
Megan Cater If your studio works with non-local creative talent, you already know that there are opportunities and challenges associated with distributed production and post production. Bridging the distance not only allows you to find the best talent for the job anywhere in the world, it creates the potential for a diverse and globally-minded workforce that boosts the creativity and vision of your entire company.
Tags: iss136 | signiant | file acceleration | ftp | dropbox | sharepoint | slack | saas | media shuttle | Megan Cater
Contributing Author Megan Cater Click to read or download PDF
Preserving the British Film Institute Archive
David Feller Today, the media and entertainment industry faces numerous challenges. To remain successful and competitive, these organisations must be ever innovative, agile and cost efficient in the way they produce, store, manage and distribute their digital assets. Content creators have traditionally relied upon outdated storage models, comprised of legacy interfaces, file structures and historical proprietary storage management software that tend to be complex, cumbersome and expensive. This makes it difficult to forecast and budget for ever-growing content in the effort to reach viewers.
Tags: iss136 | bfi | archive | blackpearl | spectra | storage | film | tape | David Feller
Contributing Author David Feller Click to read or download PDF