US: The 2009 NAB Show also saw new developments from the likes of SSL (pictured) and Soundcraft, writes David Davies. Harris Corporation, Studio Technologies and Zaxcom were among the many other companies unveiling new products at the 2009 NAB Show, which took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center last week.
Arguably the most significant audio-related business story of the week was Avid's introduction of a new brand identity. A new logo that incorporates buttons, icons and markers familiar from digital audio and video solutions used by professionals and consumers every day is at the heart of the rebranding effort, which aims to communicate the "fusing" of the five Avid businesses: Avid itself, Digidesign, M-Audio, Pinnacle Systems and Sibelius.
Vice-president of sales - EMEA Patrick Jocelyn confirms to PSN-e that Avid is "retiring the Digidesign, M-Audio, Sibelius and Pinnacle names as organisation or 'company' brands, but we will continue to use them for a period of time as 'product' brands. In other words, you will continue to see many of these names associated with product and service names, all of which are made by one company - Avid. Prominent 'non-Avid' product brands such as Pro Tools, Torq, Sibelius have a great deal of equity in the marketplace based on recent research. Those product brands will continue to be used; however, it is likely that they will increasingly be positioned as Avid products over time."
By aiming for "unification" across its portfolio in this way, Jocelyn says that Avid will be able to "leverage technology across all of our audio and video capabilities in ways that no other company can. As an example, we can accelerate interoperability between Avid systems, like Pro Tools and Media Composer. These two systems can now be synched via Video Satellite, allowing users to take advantage of a more efficient workflow by enabling Avid HD/SD video playback in Pro Tools and eliminating a time-consuming export step. We're also in a better position to further explore integrated bundled offerings - and how these offerings work openly with third-party applications - in a way that meets the new and emerging demands of today's content creators."
Accordingly, Avid showcased audio and video products side-by-side - and in integrated workflows - throughout NAB. Among other developments, the company announced a new family of flexible support programmes to address the full spectrum of audio and video customers - from home enthusiasts to large media enterprises. The more extensive Avid Uptime Support and Avid Enterprise Support appear to have the most relevance to audio/post-production users.
Elsewhere on the show floor, Harris Corporation showcased new/recent products from across its portfolio at NAB, including its range of advanced audio processing solutions for broadcasters. Developed to allow for better distribution, management and control of the audio signal throughout the entire transport chain, the range includes DTS Neural Surround UpMix, DownMix and MultiMerge and DTS Neural Loudness options. Specific products include the X75 all-in-one processor, the X85 multiple application video and audio platform, and the modular 6800+ core processing and NEO advanced processing platforms.
Other items on show included the latest additions to the Harris PR&E VistaMax family of audio management systems for radio broadcasters. The company displayed two new solutions designed specifically for the studio environment: VMQuadra, an interface between VistaMax digital studio networks and radio automation systems; and VistaVue, a new software application developed to give on-air and production personnel more control and visibility of the VistaMax network operation.
SSL displayed a new digital broadcast audio console, C10 HD (pictured). Available in two frame sizes (24+8 and 32+8), the desk integrates all DSP signal processing and operating hardware into a convection-cooled control surface. Other notable elements of the specification include SSL's Eyeconix feature, which presents thumbnail pictures of sources to be displayed for fast visual recognition and navigation, and four access levels to the desk's features: Admin, Certified, Express and Lockdown.
Soundcraft announced the availability of more option interface cards for the Soundcraft Vi Series Digital Live Sound consoles. The ADAT card allows users to connect two ports of eight channels (inputs and outputs) to an ADAT-equipped hard disk or software-based recorder; hence, two cards enable 32 channels of audio to be recorded and played back almost instantaneously. Meanwhile, the SDI and Dolby E cards allow the desk to handle the de-embedding of audio channels from within SDI video streams (and re-embedding for onward transmission), and the decoding of up to eight channels of audio from a Dolby Digital or Dolby E stream. All individual audio channels are then available within Vi Series' digital patchbay for mixing. The Dolby E card holds two complete decoder sections.
Meanwhile, sister company Studer introduced new version software for the Vista range of consoles. V 4.2 is designed to enhance the sound design and production workflow for cue-based theatre productions, and provides extended cue list functions including time-based cue recall and an MIDI MMC command for sound FX playback triggers. The new software also adds the Virtual Vista PC-based online and offline editor, enabling engineers to move around a venue and make adjustments to level and EQ from all key audience seating positions.
Studio Technologies introduced two new loudspeaker monitor control systems with digital IO. Intended for recording and post-production applications, the StudioComm 76D/77 Surround Monitoring System features two surround 5.1 inputs, three stereo inputs, pre-fade and post-fade 5.1 surround outputs, and pre-fade and post-fade stereo outputs. The StudioComm 76DB/77B Surround Monitoring System is geared towards broadcast work and provides two surround 5.1 inputs, three stereo inputs, and pre-fade and post-fade surround 5.1 outputs.
Zaxcom showcased the QRX100 RF audio receiver. Described as "new concept in professional audio technology", the device will receive four channels of audio from up to two Zaxcom stereo or mono digital transmitters, allowing ENG audio users to make the most of four-channel cameras. The new product is bundled with an optional timecode receiver and IFB transmitter.
The 2010 NAB Show is due to take place from April 12-15, once again in Las Vegas.