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PSN-e reviews AES US

New products from Clear-Com, Merging Technologies and Avid (Pro Tools 10 software, pictured) were among those to share the limelight at the AES US Convention, which has just taken place in New York.

New products from Clear-Com, Merging Technologies and Avid (Pro Tools 10 software, pictured) were among those to share the limelight at the latest AES US Convention, writes David Davies.

Incorporating extensive product showcases as well as a diverse seminar/tutorial programme, AES 131 took place at New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre from 21-23 October.

Centre of attention for technology giant Avid were the all-new Pro Tools |HDX digital audio workstation and Pro Tools 10 software. The Pro Tools|HDX is designed to allow customers to mix bigger, more complex productions, with hardware that delivers up to 5x more DSP per card, over a thousand dB of additional headroom, and up to 4x the track counts and 2x the I/O compared to its Pro Tools|HD Accel predecessor. Moreover, the system can be scaled to increase track counts, power and I/O as customer requirements grow, via the use of up to three Pro Tools|HDX cards and multiple Pro Tools HD Series interfaces. Pro Tools HD 10 software – which introduces the new AAX (Avid Audio eXtension) plug-in format – is included.

Meanwhile, the new Pro Tools 10 software introduces several new tools, including Clip Gain, which separates pre-mix levels from Pro Tools software’s mixing automation to speed up and improve the workflow between sound editors and mixers. The software also offers disk-handling improvements as well as more flexibility when conforming multiple projects into a single timeline. Users can also get the sound of the System 5 console EQ and dynamics with the included Avid Channel Strip plug-in.

Chris Gahagan, Avid’s senior vice-president of products and solutions, commented: “Today’s audio post and music professionals are faced with evolving challenges and much more demanding productions that require more power, extended capabilities, and better sound quality than ever before. Pro Tools|HDX and Pro Tools 10 software mark an enormous leap forward in sound quality and efficiency, enabling our top professional customers to deliver their best sounding, most creative work in less time.”

Avid has also announced the launch this quarter of the Avid Vantage Program. The annual membership scheme will allow subscribers to receive unlimited online technical support, as well as ‘deeply discounted’ expert phone support. They will also gain access to a collection of audio plug-ins, and for a limited time will receive an Avid Store coupon that can be applied to new software purchases or upgrades. The programme also makes it possible for Pro Tools customers to upgrade their membership to include hardware coverage for an Mbox, Eleven Rack, 003 audio interface or Pro Tools|HD system.

Merging Technologies unveiled a series of significant developments, including a new version of its Ovation software, which is a popular choice for live to air playout, bar and club music systems, theatre show sequencing and exhibition design, among other applications. The latest edition, Ovation 3.0, is capable of huge multitrack audio playback (up to 384 tracks) of any file type or sample rate (realtime SRC), combined with control protocol firing for interaction with any system configuration (MIDI/RS-232/GPIO/RS-422/LTC/Script/…). An internal mix engine that combines playback audio and feeds from live inputs can be manipulated by mouse or through remote protocols such as EuCon, Oasis and MIDI/HUI. Once balances have been created, it is possible for the user to save mixer snapshots and embed them in cues for recall with user definable glide times. Output is provided over optional MADI/AES/TDIF/Analogue and incorporates the RAVENNA Ethernet audio protocol as standard, which allows it to connect to Merging’s new I/O interface, Horus.

Speaking of Horus, this new solution has been designed as a high quality standalone converter, but its utility can be increased by inclusion as an IP node on a RAVENNA network. Horus contains high quality microphone pre-amplifiers and AES/EBU and/or MADI conversion in both directions, with full remote control of all the parameters. In RAVENNA mode, Horus becomes an IP node fully configurable from one Ethernet cable, and allows routing on an 8-channel granularity level of up to 128 channels of MADI, 24 channels of AES/EBU, and 24 channels of analogue to/from Ethernet. It also allows routing in parallel analogue to AES/EBU, MADI and Ethernet – and vice versa.

Recording, mastering, broadcast/OB facilities, live sound events and large installation projects are among the suitable applications for the versatile new converter.

“The combination of Horus, MassCore and RAVENNA really changes the game in terms of cost/performance and flexibility,” said Merging Technologies CEO Claude Cellier. “We see Horus as the first of a new family of products to support this core technology which will have universal appeal to professionals in any sector of the audio community.”

Also from the Merging family, MXFix is VCube’s new batch-processing wrap tool that performs fully EBU R-128 and ATSC compliant loudness measurement, loudness report generation, loudness level correction, True Peak limiting, Dolby E decoding/encoding, Dolby E line position correction, audio wrapping, and MXF metadata conformity wrapping in one watch folder-based offline processor. MXFix also sports a web-based status-monitoring interface that shows the status of all tasks at a glance on any networked device, or allows an operator to change task priority orders in an instant.

Clear-Com exhibited the new HME DX210 2.4GHz band wireless intercom system. With two communication channels, improved wired system connections and simple-to-use operations, the HME DX210 has been devised to provide great flexibility and value for fixed installations and tour productions.

The system provides users with the option of a single- or dual-channel intercom. In single-channel mode, up to four 1RU base stations can be linked together to support 16 full-duplex and 44 half-duplex beltpacks and/or wireless headsets. The HME DX210 is paired with the rugged BP210 beltpacks and All-in-One WH210 Wireless Headset COMMUNICATORs, which have two intercom buttons (IC1/IC2) with ISO. The wireless system is also backwards compatible with the HME DX200 beltpacks, protecting the value of prior investments.

Other features include Spectrum-Friendly technology that enables users to designate 2.4GHz operating frequency ranges for frequency coordination and interference-free communications. The system also interfaces with two-wire and/or four-wire intercoms, if needed, and any auxiliary audio equipment, with digital auto-nulling circuitry eliminating audio feedback from the two-wire connections for improved audio quality.

Craig Frederickson, product manager of the HME DX Series, commented: “With many audio productions, fast and easy access to communications can make all the difference when it comes [to] production value, so the HME DX210 was developed to offer sophisticated features that are simple to operate. Besides this, many of its most important features are located on its front panel or on the BP210 beltpack and All-in-One WH210 COMMUNICATORs. This way, busy audio professionals can access the features they need within a few seconds, adding greater efficiency to the overall production.”

Renkus-Heinz, meanwhile, unveiled two enhancements to its range of digital beam-steering loudspeaker products. The Iconyx IC8R-11 introduces ‘significant’ performance improvement over its predecessor, the IC8R, combining a new Triple Tweeter High Frequency Array Coax with the equally new RHAON (Renkus-Heinz Audio Operations Network) v1.8 beam steering module. The new Triple Tweeter design creates a continuous, close-spaced high-frequency line source that pushes the onset of gradient lobes out past 10kHz, while the RHAON v1.8 module offers a variety of features to make setting up and commissioning of Iconyx arrays faster and more consistent.

“This new Triple Tweeter configuration represents the pinnacle of transducer design for steerable column applications, and the improved performance is immediately demonstrated in BeamWare and EASE simulations,” commented senior vice-president Ralph Heinz.

For more AES US coverage, look out for the November issue of Pro Sound News Europe.