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Sound Solutions in Spotlight

Apr 19, 2004  •  Post A Comment

A number of leading technology vendors plan to introduce new solutions at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas this week that will showcase some of the latest in audio enhancements to go along with the core video product at local and national broadcasters.
Harris Corp., which provides a host of equipment for TV broadcasters from transmitters to automation systems, will introduce the NeuStar DTV Sound Surround System at the show. The new offering from Harris automatically converts any type of existing audio into Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and transports it over whatever existing audio system a TV station uses, said Jim Hauptstueck, resale products manager at Harris. “The demand for 5.1 audio in the home is growing dramatically,” he said.
The system also makes the audio as “pristine” as possible by removing “artifacts,” he said. An artifact is an unwanted audible noise created when audio is compressed. The system saves time and money for broadcasters because less bandwidth is needed to transmit the audio when the artifacts are removed. “It’s a quantum leap in audio technology for video,” he said.
In step with the theme of convergence that will likely be present at NAB, Wheatstone plans to offers its first integrated audio console. Wheatstone supplies audio mixing consoles to the broadcast industry. The new Wheatstone Bridge System combines the router, which routes the audio from different sources in a TV station-microphones, video tape recorders, uplink or downlink receivers, disk storage systems and even telephone calls-to the console itself, said Jan Tyler, sales engineer for Wheatstone.
Combining the two audio devices means installation timeis cut in half and wiring is substantially reduced. The Bridge system allows 64 separate channels of audio to be connected with a single cable, whereas in the past, each audio source needed its own cable, Mr. Tyler said.
Wheatstone offers versions for large and small markets, ranging in cost from $90,000 to $350,000. Wheatstone consoles can handle Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
An unusual contribution to the new audio product mix comes from the Associated Press, with its ENPS newsroom computer system. The ENPS 4.5 system now includes SoundDesk, which has been a component of AP’s newsroom computer systems for radio stations and is now built into the TV station version for the first time.
SoundDesk is an audio editor that allows journalists to manage audio clips directly on the desktop in the ENPS system itself, eliminating the need for a separate software application. The audio functionality would most likely be used by TV stations featuring audio clips on their Web sites, by newsrooms integrated with radio stations or by stations with access only to audio, such as in phone interviews from remote locations.
Euphonix, which makes digital audio broadcast consoles for broadcasters, said it plans to offer a new mixer software package as part of its digital mixing system, the Broadcast Package, System 5-B. The new version allows for up to 96 audio channels, an increase from 72.
DigiDesign is the audio arm of well-known broadcast equipment vendor Avid Technology. At the show, DigiDesign plans to announce a new level of integration between its audio products and Avid’s video equipment, said DigiDesign spokesperson Chandra Lynn.
Also, DigiDesign will showcase its new ICON integrated console environment for the Pro Tools HD audio system. The console allows for mixing, recording, editing and processing and for integrated video and delivery, Ms. Lynn said.