The future of Audio


Total audio has been around for 12 years now and I worked for the BBC for 13 years prior to that, I resigned in 1996 as a senior sound supervisor based at Pebble Mill. I firmly believe that sound is only noticed twice, the first time it was distorted and the second time it wasn’t there. When it all goes swimmingly it’s rarely mentioned. In the last few years we have seen the biggest change in workflow and equipment for many decades before. The Audio and Video world has gone file based. The days of tape formats particularly in Audio have rapidly disappeared. From the moment a microphone is turned into a digital signal, on location or in a studio, the resultant file remains in the digital domain until you listen to it at home or on a car radio.
Our production projects have been using file based recording on projects such as Scrapheap challenge (now our 11th year working on it!) and the F word for some five years. The camera boys have just caught up and my they are they having fun. Now the poor old grumpy sound bloke (just me, not the rest of them) has more on his plate as sync is now entirely a sound problem. Surely the sound is always in sync? It’s the picture that may be in front or behind IT!
We are using Fairlight Pixis MTs in our trucks and studios which with two madi streams (a Madi stream is 64 channels of audio) and HD video make a pretty powerful tool. For the smaller projects the Sound devices 744T and new 788T with its fader and POT add-ons are very hard to beat, our sales team can’t get hold of them fast enough! Combine these with an Ambient lockit box and the timecode is completely sorted. Make sure to always record BWAVs at file/track and you won’t have any problems. On longer projects, where the sound is recorded separately We would always try and present the post house with a sample; ideally the sound will end up on the camera meaning no sync problems.
Radio Microphones is the latest bag of worms, the analogue switch off of terrestrial TV is now well underway, when analogue television is switched off, it is likely that this unused spectrum will be sold off. Many radio microphone users are allocated frequencies within these TV channels so if or when this spectrum is sold off, radio microphone use in these channels will have to stop. It is likely that any spectrum that is allocated to wireless microphones will be less than users currently have, already something of an issue for European users… what is available varies from country to country, and even within regions. Some will use spare spectrum within the TV bands, but as analogue TV gives way to digital and proposed sell-offs go ahead then these spare channels will disappear. This will, in turn, mean that there will be a lot more wireless microphones users forced to use other areas of the spectrum.
Users are therefore coming under pressure to go digital, because regulators believe that this will free up spectrum. Over the next few years wireless mic users will be forced to make choices about the systems they use which means that many professionals will probably have to purchase new “Digital Wireless Systems”
The key difference with digital is the way it handles intermod, in the old days we had to use frequencies that didn’t interfere with each other.
This meant that they had to be spaced in an uneven fashion. Because digital radios don’t see intermod as signal they can be spaced evenly and closer together so 16 in the space of 10 before. This is exactly the way Digital TV achieves 40 odd channels of repeats where there used to be only 5. The clearest example is the new Sony Digital wireless. These radio mics do not sound like radio mics, they sound like wires. So in the old days of using a peaky microphone to cut through the RF cotton wool that now sounds exactly as it did.
The new Sony system seems to have cracked it, with six 8 Mhz TV channels available to it. Sony are also assuring a retune to the new frequencies will be available if some exotic spectrum is allocated in the future. The Dual receiver provides two independent receivers in a single box. This can then slot into the new generation cameras and be routed to tracks 1,2,3 or 4. The tiny transmitters have adjustable power outputs and can be tuned and turned on and off by the receiver. For me the perfect kit is a Sound Devices 788T with the fader module and 4 channels of digital. It’s not that large or heavy… If that doesn’t crack it I suggest you are going to need a truck!
Sound Devices 788T
Sound Devices 788T

Tags: radio mics | audio | iss025 | sound devices 788t | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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