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Calrec Audio Press
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Calrec is a leading designer and supplier of audio broadcast mixing equipment, relied on by the world’s most successful broadcasters. Formed as a microphone manufacturer in 1964, Calrec’s reputation for build quality, reliability and audio performance has made it an industry benchmark across the world.

Calrec showcases AoIP and virtual mixing capabilities at NAB 2020

For more than 50 years the world’s most successful broadcasters have relied on Calrec. They still do. As our industry adapts to new viewing habits and evolving commercial environments, Calrec is helping broadcasters to stay ahead as they switch to IP infrastructures; to achieve efficiency with remote broadcasting; to save money with virtualised production. Calrec’s radio-focussed and flexible Type R can adapt to a variety of requirements including virtualised workflows, and Calrec has expanded its range of consoles, from the cost-effective Brio consoles, to the IP-enabled ImPulse core. For flexible working, integrated networks and reliable audio, Calrec has it covered. Visit Calrec at NAB Show 2020 to learn more.

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Calrec’s Type R for TV is a new virtual mixing console with its design allowing customers to take advantage of these new workflows. It’s flexible and integrated native IP core gives customers a way to benefit from virtual working practices by integrating with station automation systems. Type R for TV is driven by station automation and is compatible with popular station automation systems including Ross Overdrive, Sony ELC and Grass Valley Ignite. Type R is the best of both worlds – it provides fully automated programming with real-time adjustment of unpredictable external factors via a standard web browser. Type R’s small, adaptable and highly portable hardware elements can be easily added if desired. Powered by standard POE switches, Type R has three different panel options. If broadcasters prefer a physical surface then banks of 6 x faders can be added, or adaptable soft panels like Calrec’s Large Soft Panel (LSP) and Small Soft Panel (SSP) can be used.

Calrec’s VP2 virtualized mixing system has no physical control surface and utilises Calrec’s Assist software for setup and control. VP2’s 4U core comes in three DSP sizes; 128, 180 and 240 input channels, and incorporates Calrec’s powerful Hydra2 networking solution. As with all Hydra2 products this can be controlled by a station automation system.

VP2 enables a station to reap many of the benefits of using a Calrec console, but without a physical control surface. Calrec’s Assist UI can be accessed from multiple locations via a web-browser. Control can be limited to basic functions or full control can be awarded to delve deeper to fine tune the setup or recall different shows as needed.

Also on show

Calrec’s H2-IP Gateway provides an interface between a Hydra2 network and an AoIP network. It awards an extra control level that allows audio labels to be passed in both directions between the two networks along with control data. This gives Hydra2 users the ability to control gain of Calrec AoIP mic inputs, and AoIP users can control gain of Hydra2 mic inputs. The H2-IP Gateway offers broadcasters the best of both worlds. They can continue to get the value from their Hydra2 investment, whilst tapping into the benefits of IP workflows. Gateway technology also lessens the learning curve and allows broadcasters to transition at their own pace.

ImPulse is Calrec’s powerful audio processing and routing engine with AES67 and SMPTE 2110 connectivity. ImPulse is compatible with current Apollo and Artemis control surfaces, providing a simple upgrade path for existing Calrec customers into the IP domain. In addition, future scalable expansion will allow up to four DSP mix engines and control systems to run independently on a single core at the same time, providing the ability to use multiple large-format mixers simultaneously in an extremely cost-effective and compact footprint.

AoIP and the customer journey

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

Written by Peter Walker, Senior Product Manager at Calrec

As IP connectivity becomes more accessible to all sectors of our industry, those with their sights set on interoperability are working harder than ever to play well together. AES67 defines a common language for the streaming of live, high-quality, low-latency audio over IP, and its adoption by ST2110 secures its place as the way forward for audio over IP in broadcast.

But what can broadcasters do to manage the transition from traditional connectivity, and how do they achieve the full benefits that have been promised with IP workflows?

In reality, many broadcasters are unable to commit to a full-scale shift. There are a number of reasons for this. Moving to a completely new system is not only financially draining but it also has a learning curve. This curve is steep; there is much to learn within even a modest broadcast facility to go full IP.

For this reason, many broadcast manufacturers offer IP interfaces that allow their equipment to be connected to an IP network, while maintaining other more familiar interfacing options. This allows broadcasters to migrate over time as and when they purchase new equipment allowing time to bed-in and expand within their comfort.

Using a gateway technology allows users to start leveraging the advantages of IP with a much softer learning curve. Not swapping out all the equipment simultaneously means current systems can continue to be used, keeping everything on air and allowing the transfer to be non-disruptive to the programming schedule. It allows the broadcaster to get the full value out of their investment.

And, once a gateway has been introduced and an IP network established, broadcasters can start introducing other equipment onto the network, either with native IP equipment or via other gateways. Gateways allow broadcasters to transition to full IP infrastructures in their own time.

They also ensure that the benefits of some proprietary systems, like Calrec’s deterministic and self-discovering Hydra2 network, can still be utilised. This can be very useful, for while there are many positives switching to an IP infrastructure, there is still work to be done to achieve truly dynamic connectivity within the network.

The positives are clear: one of the key advantages of moving to IP is the ability to use existing network infrastructures and COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) hardware. Broadcasters want to be able to pass audio, video, control and other data over shared IP networks, and they want to use open standards to exchange media between devices made by different manufacturers. Standardised IP connectivity eradicates much of the cost, space, system complexity and cabling overhead of having a multitude of interfaces for analogue, AES3, MADI, SDI, etc. This is the goal of both AES67 and ST2110.

AoIP has been around for many years, with lots of broadcasters already relying on it daily to produce live on-air content, but it has tended to be separate single vendor systems and/or relatively small networks. Even with Dante, the hardware and software of the IP connection is produced by a single manufacturer. AES67 and ST2110 allow for much larger, truly multi-vendor networks that can replace the whole connectivity backbone of a facility, with a much wider range of devices that can be used, preventing customers getting tied in to new purchase based on previous investment

AES67 gives us a standardised protocol and parameter set so that a device from manufacturer X can exchange audio streams with a device from manufacturer Y, but it’s still not necessarily simple to connect stream connections between different vendors. Doing so typically requires an engineer to configure output streams on each device and often manually enter complex configuration details in order to be able to receive streams from other devices.

While this works reliably, it relies on engineers to set up and it results in a static streaming configuration. For dynamic routing of audio, providing the operational workflows needed for live broadcast, we’re still relying on expensive broadcast routers, albeit via IP. This is not the goal of using COTS IP.

With AES3, you plug in a BNC, and the receiving device knows it is expecting audio on that connection. With AoIP, a single connection to a network allows for the exchange of many channels of audio with many different pieces of equipment, but they can only receive that audio if they know it exists in the first place. The fundamental part missing from both AES67 and ST-2110 is advertisement and connection management. 

In the absence of an agreed standard many vendors followed the Ravenna approach, which is helpful for advertising AoIP streams between those vendors, but still leaves us with labour-intensive configuration in the UI of each device, resulting in static streaming connections.

This is where AIMS and the JT-NM are making progress. They are promoting NMOS, a standardised mechanism for not only discovery/advertisement (NMOS IS-04), but also connection management (NMOS IS-05). This means you do not have to log in to each device on a network to configure its connections, they can be managed from a central UI providing familiar broadcast workflows and using the network to perform the routing. NMOS has gained strong buy-in across the industry, from both manufacturers and broadcasters. It’s widely seen as the route to true interoperability, but its uptake has been slow in some areas.

As broadcast equipment manufacturers, true interoperability could be perceived as a threat because it increases competition, but we must protect our market share by making reliable, high-performing and easy-to-use products with feature sets designed for live broadcast applications, rather than by tying customers to proprietary systems.

To unlock the full potential of IP and give broadcasters the workflows, costs and efficiency savings they need to compete in the modern broadcast era, we must all work together to provide proven multi-vendor systems that are easy for operational staff to use. At Calrec we are working with our partners and following the JT-NM roadmap, working towards the ultimate goal of making life better for our customers.

Calrec is represented by Tru-Fi Electronics S.A. (PTY) Ltd in South Africa.

World’s fastest growing spectator sport levels up with Calrec

With professional gamers gaining celebrity recognition and passionate audiences totaling more than 200 million worldwide, eSports is the next big wave of sports production. As eSports rises in popularity, larger, more complex tournaments and broadcasts are being produced, resulting in companies looking at more traditional broadcast solutions, such as those provided by Calrec Audio. Calrec’s high-quality audio consoles help customers – such as EA Sports, Full Sail University, OGN and more – produce and support engaging, immersive content for an industry that will continue to grow into the future.

“Mixing for eSports is dramatically different than live sports,” explains Jeri Palumbo, an A1 who has worked for many different broadcasters, covering a wide array of professional sports, including gaming. “There is a significant difference in the air-time between the two…but, live sports is also somewhat predictable, whereas eSports is like the wild west. As the A1, you are tasked with figuring out a way to collect all the audio into one source. For one recent eSports project, I had 12 layers of 32 channels on a Calrec Artemis, and I layered every single element that was in the studio. In eSports, I often do a direct out 5.1 from the Calrec, which allows me to send a 5.1 out down one path instead of having to break it out into an individual-pack stems…for me, that’s a brilliant option.”

Calrec’s range of consoles are designed to fit the requirements of any eSports event or tournament. From the smaller Brio12 to the top-of-the-range Apollo console, there is a desk for any size and complexity, with the added capability of easily expanding and networking if/when the need arises.

Calrec’s reputation for reliability, ease-of-use, customer support and build quality in the broadcast and outside broadcast world is proving very appealing to eSports companies. When Full Sail University unveiled its $6 million, 11,000-plus-square-foot eSports arena named “The Fortress,” the school ensured it was equipped with the latest technologies and products. Included among these was Calrec’s Brio36 console outfitted with Dante I/O, MADI and Waves cards. According to Vincent Lepore, Full Sail’s director of event technical operations, “Full Sail has numerous Calrec consoles around the campus, so we were really comfortable with Calrec and what they do for a broadcast mix.”

Additionally, Riot Games has implemented Calrec’s RP1 remote broadcast mixing system and Artemis mixing consoles to create a ground-breaking workflow that overcomes the three major challenges of “at-home” production – latency, transport and control. For Riot, solutions manufacturers such as Calrec are making the necessary technologies more accessible.

“Our workflow is unique to each game,” says Matthew Donovan, broadcast engineering manager at Riot’s West L.A. production facility. “You have to know the game, the capabilities and the limitations, and be embedded with the developers to be able to visually represent that game in an engaging way for its fans. [With Calrec,] things that were more challenging are now a lot easier to accomplish.”

Calrec’s Brio has also proven to be especially beneficial to eSports production for Freelance Audio Engineer Lance Gordon, co-owner of Soundcheck Technologies. “The beauty of Calrec consoles is that they are easy to figure out, especially if you have an audio background and even more so if you have previous experience with any Calrec,” he says. “Calrec is my go-to console; I know the flow, so when something is requested, I am able to deliver it fast. Those of us in the eSports world like Calrec because we know how to use it, and how the compressors and EQ respond, so we can get more creative. I’m a big Calrec fan.”

While some broadcast consoles focus on functionality at the expense of sonic quality, Calrec has always prioritised both. “Calrec’s consoles all have a suite of broadcast-specific features to make mixing smooth and seamless,” says Dave Letson, vice president of sales, Calrec. “Automixers attenuate any number of mono inputs, allowing mic bleed and room noise to be easily controlled. Autofaders allow for GPIO triggers from vision switchers to quickly change audio sources in fast-paced, high-action eSports productions, which constantly swap between the four to 16 competitors in any given event.”

Calrec continues push for true IP interoperability passing the recent JT-NM Interop test

Calrec announced that it has passed the recent JT-NM Interop – Joint Task Force on Networked Media – IP test and is now included as part of the JT-NM Tested Catalogue, which was published at IBC 2019.

Pete Walker, Senior Product Manager with Calrec, says, “What the JT-NM is doing – backed by VSF, SMPTE, AMWA and the EBU – is tremendously important in terms of continuing the push to true IP interoperability. It includes NMOS, which we believe is vital as a standardised mechanism for not only discovery/advertisement of IP technologies connected to a network alongside IP streams, but also connection management from a centralised point. This means operators do not have to log in to each device on a network to configure its connections, but instead have a user-friendly UI capable of dynamically routing streams between devices from different manufacturers.”

The JT-NM Tested program is designed to provide those who want to deploy IP technologies with insight into how respective technologies interoperate and how they adhere to the relevant SMPTE standards. The latest test took place in August, with Calrec passing the testing required for ST2110 and ST2022-7 categories with flying colours.

Walker adds, “To unlock the full potential of IP and give broadcasters the workflows, costs and efficiency savings they need to compete in the modern era, we must all work together, fully and properly implementing the agreed standards to provide proven multi-vendor systems that are easy for operational staff to use. At Calrec we are working with our partners and following the JT-NM roadmap – our Type R, IP-native radio system being a prime example – working towards the ultimate goals of making life better for our customers.”

Calrec reveals the new revolution in radio – Type R

Type R is a new modular, expandable, IP-based radio system from Calrec Audio (NAB Booth C7408), which utilises standard networking technology and combines it with configurable soft panels that can be tailored to operator needs.

Type R’s physical control system consists of three slimline panels: a fader panel, a large soft panel and a small soft panel. Each is compatible with COTS hardware and powered over Ethernet to keep cabling to a minimum.

Type R has a simple 2U core at its heart with integrated I/O resources to get customers up and running immediately. A single core can power up to three independent mixing environments, with no sharing of DSP resources. Whether used as independent studio consoles, microphone processors or utility mixing, the ability to use multiple mixing engines combined with the flexibility of an AES67 compatible network provides enough flexibility to keep pace with radio’s changing requirements.

The touch-screen soft panels are designed around simple and colourful control elements and can easily be customised as multi-function panels. Soft panels can be utilised in either landscape or portrait formats and used to provide adaptable and specific functionality for talent, while ensuring overall control is maintained by the station technical team. This functionality can be quickly changed from show-to-show using simple memory loads and can be tailored to fit the needs of the talent.

Fader panels are small, sleek and simple, with six faders and immediate access to essential controls. Fader panels can be added or removed as simply as plugging or unplugging an Ethernet cable, creating a radio infrastructure that is easily expandable, and making upgrades a breeze.

“Type R is a thoroughly modern and customer-focused radio broadcast system that adapts to a station’s needs as its requirements evolve,” says Henry Goodman, director of Product Management, Calrec Audio. “It provides simple customisation across established networks, open control protocols and surface personalisation. With a native IP backbone, Type R provides an infrastructure for future expansion. It guarantees stations are not only able to keep pace with changing demands, they are also able to use its capabilities to ignite their audiences with new and innovative programming.”

Broadcast-specific control is clear and concise across the system. Bussing, including the creation of mix-minus feeds, is quick to assign, while EQ and dynamics control is clear and fast. It is a pure radio platform designed for a fast-paced modern environment.

In keeping with Calrec’s reputation, Type R is a resilient console system designed for reliable professional use, with all the requisite power, function and scalability to keep radio stations on-air for many years to come. Stop by Booth C7408 at NAB 2018 to be the first to see this new radio console.

 

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