Audio networking gets untangled

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Audio Forum-D1- Ruud Kaltofen

With audio over IP set to revolutionise the professional AV industry, a full room for yesterday’s 12th edition of AudioForum at ISE 2018 came as no surprise.
Umberto Zanghieri, member and treasurer of the AES Italian Section led the day-long event with an overview of AoIP applications that have developed over the last 20 or so years. A variety of systems have been deployed since the 1990s, many of which are still in active use.

“Many standards are a problem, especially in live audio”, commented Ruud Kaltofen, DSP systems designer and president of the AES Dutch Section. Focusing on digital audio protocol transport in live systems and events, Kaltofen highlighted the importance of a reliable, low-latency system.

The key, he explained, is to keep your network as simple as possible, use good quality Cat5e or Cat6 cables and avoid coupling at all costs.

Naturally, interoperability is also crucial to any live sound situation that features equipment requests from more than one manufacturer – that is to say, any live sound event – which is why standards such as AES67 and AES70 were heavily emphasised throughout the sessions.

Jeff Barryman, senior scientist at Bosch Communications Systems USA provided delegates with a broad overview of the capabilities and limitations of both: “The amount of information that the audio professional needs to know about the details of (audio) networking, generally speaking, exceeds how much they should be required to know, or want to know,” he joked.

Barryman described an “energetic uptake” of AES67 by most sectors, including live sound, commercial sound and broadcast and a “slow but steady” uptake of AES70 (“It takes companies to integrate control standards”), while confirming that revisions for both are in the pipeline.

The AES is also working closely with SMPTE to further develop AES70 for audio broadcasting applications.

Audio over IP casts a wide net across IT and telecommunications; fortunately for delegates with loose ends to tie up, the AudioForum at ISE concluded with
open table discussion with the day’s speakers.

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