A record-breaking more than 38,000 attendees visited InfoComm 2015 in Orlando, Fla. Notable technical advances, such as AoIP, VoIP and wireless network-based solutions, comprehensive touch-control products and cutting-edge audio transducer-based innovations made this year’s show a must-see event for the professionals defining the modern AV industry.
- As an audio-centric technology editor and end user, I was personally struck by the great availability of increasingly interoperable audio devices. This is largely due to the effort of industry coalitions recognizing the need for plug-and-play solutions and standards that would support them.
- Today, a knowledgeable installer can, for example, pick the best audio mixer on the market for the client’s needs, then choose formerly incompatible I/O components that make up a system. That many compromises in networked AV systems are now history is something manufacturers have been working toward for a while.
An ideal example of this progression is pro audio’s recently announced, commonly owned alliance Audiotonix, consisting of British-owned Allen & Heath, Calrec and DiGiCo console companies.
“I can only speak for consoles,” said DiGiCo Marketing Director Dave Webster, “but when we were all doing analog, the mixers all did the same thing in the same way; we just had more or less of something with most [parameters] even in the same place. Then with digital products, everything was totally different from each other, at least initially. Common digital console features — like scribble strips and color-coding — came from the best bits from each company and are now implemented in wide-ranging products you see here, allowing them all to become easier to operate. Today, the sonic capabilities of the products and their unique feature sets are what differentiates them from each other, like an improved version of the old analog days.”
Allen & Heath R&D Director Rob Clark describes Audiotonix’s first collective product — Orange Box, marketed as an “anything in, anything out” DMI card-based audio format converter — as a major milestone in this journey toward truly comprehensive audio networking.
“From an interfacing perspective, Orange Box offers the customer more options in joining up systems,” he explained. “We’re offering the customer the ability to connect any interface and network into a mixer, and [by] using tie-line routing within the console, the console can become the hub. That’s possibly why Orange Box was being called for by the customer as they ask for more and more I/O ports: the console is ideally the hub.”
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