AES San Francisco 2010
Product Design Track Event Details
Thursday, November 4, 9:30 am — 10:30 am (Room 132)
Tutorial: T1 - iPhone Sound Design—Lessons Learned
This one-hour session will be a comprehensive review of factors to be considered when creating audio for iPhone, as well as strategies and tools for getting the best audio performance. Topics to covered include:
* Audio architecture overview
* Using the s/w & h/w channels (compressed music and .caf SFX)
* Designing for the speaker as well as headphones
* Frequency characteristics compared: iPod touch, iPad, iPhone 3x, iPhone 4
* Handy tools: TTW, SoundConverter, real time analyzers
* Case study: iRingPro, and using GarageBand to create ringtones
* 3rd party audio middleware: fmod
* Product demos
Thursday, November 4, 11:30 am — 1:00 pm (Room 132)
Product Design: PD1 - Is Your Equipment Design a Noise Problem Waiting to Happen?
A design goal for all audio equipment is freedom from hum and buzz. But AC power normally creates a system environment of ground voltage differences. While a balanced interface is the first line of defense against this noise source, the balanced interface itself is very poorly understood by most engineers. This leads them to design balanced input circuits that perform impressively in the lab but have very poor noise rejection in real-world systems. To make matters worse, internal equipment grounding schemes are often thoughtlessly designed. Two common results are noise coupled via cable shield connections (the "Pin 1" problem) and the AC power cord (so-called "sensitive" equipment). These and other design pitfalls, and how to avoid them, are the focus of this class.
Thursday, November 4, 12:00 pm — 1:00 pm (Room 120)
Game Audio: G1 - Code Monkey Part 1: What Game Audio Content Providers Need to Know About C++ Programming
Peter "pdx" Drescher, Sound Designer, Twittering Machine
It's like Jane Goodall and the chimps—earn the ways of programmers and they will let you into their group. Being able to speak "the language" is helpful not only in communicating your ideas to them, but also in tracking down implementation bugs and understanding what *exactly* your programmer has been saying all these years. The author has written an application in C++ / Objective-C for Mac OSX that plays FMOD Designer's Interactive Music examples, and will use it to illustrate basic programming concepts. The source code and Xcode project will be available for download.
Thursday, November 4, 2:30 pm — 4:30 pm (Room 206)
Master Class: M2 - High Resolution Computer Audio
Keith O. Johnson
Computers, televisions, and mobile devices are functionally merging and integrating to become easy to set up fun to run systems. Right now, server-like versions can play high-resolution multichannel files from workstations, function as a control center, create loudspeaker crossovers and equalization, as well as perform room correction using all loudspeakers. Data management and processing create these advanced features but systems like these can present issues with processing activity, sample rate conversion, jitter, noise propagation, digital conversion, and interfaces. One encounters discussion about perceptual differences from technical changes that should not affect accuracy nor produce large differences in timing spectra. The class will briefly introduce systems and components, then show potential behavioral artifacts within system parts and describe test methods that might reveal explanations. Then we'll explore process monitoring, buffers, quick locking low jitter clocks, floating conversion environments, jitter from OP Amps and a test methodology that targets process related intrinsic behavioral problems. Cluster, subtraction and DSP overload tests will be described along with projected human perceptual and mental load that might have audibility or hinder playback involvement. This presentation of an overall background knowledge should encourage studies that are more detailed and it should be helpful with creation and development of very high quality systems.
Thursday, November 4, 2:30 pm — 4:00 pm (Room 132)
Tutorial: T3 - Headphones, Headsets, and Earphones: Electroacoustic Design and Verification
Christopher J. Struck
This presentation reviews basic the electroacoustic concepts of gain, sensitivity, sound fields, signals, linear, and non-linear systems for ear-worn devices. The Insertion Gain concept is introduced. The orthotelephonic response is described as a target for both the free and diffuse fields. Equivalent volume and acoustic impedance are defined. Ear simulators and test manikins appropriate for Circum-, Supra-, and Intra-aural earphones are presented. The salient portions of the IEC 60268-4 standard are reviewed and examples are given of the basic measurements: Frequency Response, Distortion, Impedance. The basic concepts of Noise Canceling devices are also presented.
Thursday, November 4, 4:30 pm — 6:30 pm (Room 132)
Tutorial: T4 - Do-it-Yourself Semantic Audio
How do you tell music files from speech files? How do you find similar-sounding tracks in an unlabeled collection? Content-based music information retrieval (MIR) and similar applications require advanced algorithms that often overburden non-expert developers. However, many building blocks are available for free and in ready-to-use packaging to significantly ease software development, for instance of similarity search methods, or to serve as components for ad-hoc solutions, for instance in forensics or linguistics. This tutorial looks into a variety of software that helps with the extraction of audio features and/or executes machine learning algorithms. Focusing on solutions that require little to no programming in the classical sense, the tutorial’s major part consists in live demos of hand-picked routes to roll one’s own semantic audio application.
Friday, November 5, 9:00 am — 10:30 am (Room 132)
Product Design: PD2 - An Overview of Audio System Grounding and Interfacing
Equipment makers like to pretend the problems don’t exist, but this tutorial replaces hype and myth with insight and knowledge, revealing the true causes of system noise and ground loops. Unbalanced interfaces are exquisitely vulnerable to noise due to an intrinsic problem. Although balanced interfaces are theoretically noise-free, they’re widely misunderstood by equipment designers, which often results in inadequate noise rejection in real-world systems. Because of a widespread design error, some equipment has a built-in noise problem. Simple, no-test-equipment, troubleshooting methods can pinpoint the location and cause of system noise. Ground isolators in the signal path solve the fundamental noise coupling problems. Also discussed are unbalanced to balanced connections, RF interference, and power line treatments. Some widely used "cures" are both illegal and deadly.
Friday, November 5, 9:00 am — 10:00 am (Room 120)
Game Audio: G4 - Code Monkey Part 2: LUA is not a Hawaiian Picnic—The Basics of Scripting for Dynamic Audio Implementation
Kristoffer Larson, Audio Manager, WB Games - Seattle, WA, USA
Isn't a script what you use for your VO sessions? Why, yes, little Billy, but in the world of dynamic audio it means something different. Scripting can be the cheese in your excellent sound sandwich. This session will teach you scripting basics, and how scripting can enhance your dynamic audio implementation. (Hold the mayo). LUA is not universally used, but it is common enough that you'll benefit from having a basic understanding of it. Take-home examples will be provided.
Friday, November 5, 10:15 am — 11:15 am (Room 120)
Tutorial: T7 - Analysis and Modeling of the dbx 902 De-esser
Analog device modeling is an increasingly important tool in modern audio signal processing. There are a variety of techniques for modeling many different devices. Here we will present an example of modeling one device, the dbx 902 de-esser, a very well regarded hardware de-esser, from start to finish. We will describe a set of techniques for analyzing the hardware unit as a “grey” box to determine its characteristics, incorporating the device’s specifications, and, most importantly, empirical results from probing the unit with test signals. Mathematical models for analyzing the de-esser will be presented, which would also apply to other dynamic range control processors. We will examine how this device differs from other typical implementations of de-essers, and finally, describe a digital emulation. The lessons learned here should be useful to any beginner interested in device modeling.
Friday, November 5, 2:30 pm — 4:00 pm (Room 132)
Product Design: PD3 - IEEE 802.1 Audio/Video Bridging (AVB)
Lee Minich, LabX
Bradford Benn, Harman
Jörg Bertholdt, XMOS
Jerry Placken, Meyer Sound
Sheldon Radford, Avid
Michael Johas Teener, Broadcom
Dave Theis, Sennheiser
Aidan Williams, Audinate
This panel discussion with key members of the AVnu Alliance will explore the role of the IEEE 802.1 Audio/Video Bridging [AVB] Standards in the professional audio industry, as well as consumer electronics and automotive applications. An in-depth explanation of AVB and related IEEE standards will be presented, followed by a discussion of the advantages of an open non-proprietary technology, the role of silicon makers to ensure a cost-effective solution, and the critical role a compliance program will play to ensure interoperability of AVB devices. Panelists will discuss the direct implications of AVB for system designers and talk about how best to prepare for the new standard. Ample time for questions from the audience will be allowed.
Friday, November 5, 4:30 pm — 6:30 pm (Room 130)
Workshop: W10 - Audio Network Control Protocols
Kevin Gross, AVA Networks - Denver, CO, USA
Bradford Benn, Harman Corporation - Los Angeles, CA, USA
Richard Foss, Rhodes University - Grhamstown, South Africa
Jeff Koftinoff, Meyer Sound - Berkeley, CA, USA
Andy Schmeder, CNMAT - University of California Berkeley
Peter Stevens, BBC - London, UK
Digital audio networks have solved a number of problems related to the distribution of audio within a number of contexts, including recording studios, stadiums, convention centers, theaters, and live concerts. They provide cabling ease, better immunity to interference, and enhanced control over audio routing and signal processing when compared to analog solutions. There exist a number of audio network types, and also a number of audio network protocols, that define the messaging necessary for connection management and control of devices within networks. In this workshop a panel of audio network protocol experts will share the features of audio network protocols that they are familiar with and how network protocols might adapt and change over the next few years, bearing in mind the need for interoperability.
Friday, November 5, 4:30 pm — 6:00 pm (Room 132)
Workshop: W11 - AES42 and Digital Microphones
Helmut Wittek, SCHOEPS Mikrofone GmbH
Stephan Flock, DirectOut GmbH
Tom Frey, Sennheiser
Stephan Peus, Georg Neumann GmbH
The AES42 interface for digital microphones is not yet widely used. This can be due to the relatively young appearance of digital microphone technology but also a lack of knowledge and practice with digital microphones and the corresponding interface exists. The advantages and disadvantages have to be communicated in an open and neutral way regardless of commercial interests but on the basis of the actual need of the engineers. Along with an available “White paper” about AES42 and digital microphones, which is aimed a neutral in-depth information and which was compiled from different authors, the proposed workshop intents to enlighten facts and prejudices on this topic.
Friday, November 5, 5:30 pm — 6:30 pm (Room 120)
Game Audio: G8 - Code Monkey Part 3: ‹learn›XML‹/learn›
This session provides an overview of XML, the eXtensible Markup Language, and explains how it is used within the game-audio production pipeline. This is a chance to pick up some pointers how to read and write in XML. This introductory-level session is for those who work with XML (whether you know it or not!) and want to know more. The session may also be beneficial to those outside the games industry and shows how some popular game-audio tools use XML. The sessions ends with some pointers to more advanced topics for the adventurous.
Saturday, November 6, 9:00 am — 10:45 am (Room 132)
Product Design: PD4 - Grounding & Shielding - Circuits and Interference (Part 1)
This first session will discuss the way signals and power are transported. We will discuss the basic meanings of words such as voltage, current, capacitance, and inductance; the role conductor geometries have in controlling where signals and power can travel; the problems of utility and facility design together with the meaning of ground and earth; the interference problems created by transformers and facility wiring; a discussion of shielding as applied to analog circuits and radiating structures. Terms such as differential, balanced, common-mode, normal-mode, and single ended will be explained.
Saturday, November 6, 11:00 am — 1:00 pm (Room 132)
Tutorial: T10 - Networking for Audio Applications
Bradford Benn, Harman Corporation
Robert Economaki, Cisco
Kevin Gross, AVA Networks
Computer networks, principally Ethernet and IP networks, are becoming a common means of distributing audio within a facility and over distance. Audio engineers need an understanding of how networks work and how to use them effectively.
The tutorial will introduce participants to terminology; technologies and standards; configuration and design considerations; and troubleshooting concepts. Live demonstrations will reinforce specific topics including Network equipment configuration and management; IP subnetting, addressing and routing; and use of diagnostic tools.
The tutorial will give participants the background required to work effectively with IT professionals implementing and maintaining networked audio distribution.
Saturday, November 6, 11:00 am — 1:00 pm (Room 206)
Workshop: W13 - Progress in Computer-Based Playback of High Resolution Audio
Vicki R. Melchior, Audio DSP Consultant - Boston, MA, USA
Bob Bauman, Lynx Studio Technology - Costa Mesa, CA, USA
James Johnston, DTS Inc. - Calabasas, CA, USA
Andy McHarg, dCS Ltd. - Cambridge, UK
Daniel Weiss, Weiss Engineering Ltd. - Zurich, Switzerland
With the continuing decline in discs as music sources and concurrent growth of electronic distribution, computers and network attached storage (NAS) are now rapidly evolving as front end components in place of traditional transports and players. Computers have long been useful within mastering workflows, though not always loved, and their introduction into high quality music systems raises a new range of engineering challenges.
Intrinsic to computers are problems of EMC, switching noise, dirty power, jittered clocks, crosstalk, driver and operating system variability, protocol incompatibilities, and software errors, to name a few. These may directly influence audio quality. Of special importance, for example, are the design as well as system configuration of digital audio interfaces (USB, Firewire, S/PDIF, WiFi, Ethernet etc), D/A conversion, and data processing, along with clocks and power sourcing.
The panel in this workshop are active in the design of these systems and will discuss some of their results and thoughts regarding the most salient factors for optimization of sonic performance in this area.
Saturday, November 6, 2:30 pm — 4:30 pm (Room 132)
Product Design: PD5 - Grounding & Shielding - Circuits and Interference (Part 2)
This second session of Grounding and Shielding Circuits takes off where the first session ended. Under discussion will be : the role of digital logic and processors in the audio world; A/D converters; transmission line basics; impedance control and impedance matching; the relation between rise and fall times and frequency spectrum; the need for ground and power planes; decoupling and filtering on logic structures; the interface between analog and digital circuits; digital analog filters; aliasing errors; balanced digital lines and common-mode rejection; multilayer boards; interference problems such as cross talk, ground bounce, via locations.
Saturday, November 6, 3:45 pm — 4:45 pm (Room 130)
Workshop: W15 - Semantic Audio Success: Commercial Applications of Semantic Audio Analysis
Jay LeBoeuf, Imagine Research
Ching-Wei Chen, Gracenote, Inc. - Emeryville, CA, USA
Aaron Master, SoundHound Inc
Erling Wold, Audible Magic
Thanks to mobile devices, cloud-computing, and ample storage and computing, we are now seeing a great dawn of products that include semantic audio analysis (SAA) technologies. Without even knowing it, millions of users reap the benefits of semantic audio analysis on a daily basis. Companies include SAA techniques to provide their users with magical experiences: offering intelligent, simple, work flows that listen to and richly interact with a user's speech, music, or environment. This workshop will introduce AES members to some of the commercial uses and applications of semantic audio analysis. A panel discussion will engage companies to describe how SAA technology has powers their innovative products, the technical challenges that they face, and the future of things to come.
Saturday, November 6, 4:45 pm — 6:15 pm (Room 132)
Product Design: PD6 - Designing Microphone Preamplifiers
Microphone preamplifiers are a fundamental building block in professional audio systems, with a legacy reaching back to the beginning of audio times. Indeed, the mic preamp often defines the signature sound of a piece of equipment or even a recording studio. Its performance must exceed nearly everything else in the system, and as the first line of defense to the outside world it must withstand hostile conditions such as 48V phantom power faults or erroneously patched hot signals.
Today’s mic preamp developers face many challenges as new products demand lower cost and power, components that have been depended on for years are discontinued, demands for quality either increase or (worse) are forgotten, and so on. Fortunately, today’s developers have more options than ever before to design cost-effective, high-performance, small, green power, sweet sounding mic preamps. This tutorial presents a variety of circuit designs that trade off between cost, size, power consumption, noise, THD, CMR, and other factors.
Sunday, November 7, 11:00 am — 1:00 pm (Room 132)
Master Class: M3 - DSP—Why So Hard?
If you’ve ever wondered why audio DSP programming is so hard when the algorithms are so simple, this is the place for you. Hundreds of strange and wonderful audio processors have been developed over the past four decades and the presenter has struggled with dozens of them. In order to learn from our mistakes this master class will tour examples of gross bad practice (suitably anonymized to protect the guilty) and in doing so we’ll extract some general principles useful to those who will design audio DSPs in the future. As a practical example of what can be achieved, we’ll go from simulator based algorithm development to listening to production quality code in a matter of minutes.
Sunday, November 7, 1:15 pm — 2:15 pm (Room 133)
Special Event: Lunchtime Keynote: Ian Moore
I’d Rather Have more dBs than Blue LEDs
Audio product designers are generally focused on making new equipment with better specifications, lower price tags, and with the latest trendy bells and whistles. That’s just fine, but please don’t forget that some folks depend on this gear for their livelihoods, and often what makes sense in the R&D labs doesn’t make sense in the back of an 18-wheeler on tour, or in the studio at 3 am. Ian Moore has been recording music, touring, and supporting his family with his music his entire adult life. He has a few things to say to the product developers who make his tools.
Sunday, November 7, 2:30 pm — 3:45 pm (Room 132)
Product Design: PD7 - Audio Manufacturing in a Global Economy
Steve Macatee, Rane Corporation
Rene Jaeger, LOUD Technologies
Mike Klasco, Menlo Scientific
Pat Quilter, QSC Audio Products
Les Tyler, THAT Corporation
Once upon a time nearly all pro audio manufactures made their own products. Then the global economy brought us into the age of multinational contract manufacturers, and now it is not uncommon for products from competing vendors to go down the same conveyor belt. This workshop will explore how manufacturing in the global economy has affected the audio field from a number of perspectives, including: economics, quality, and innovation. Panelists represent manufactures from several corners of the industry.
Sunday, November 7, 4:00 pm — 5:00 pm (Room 132)
Product Design: PD8 - Standards—How They Matter
As technologies become more complex and interdependent, the role of engineering standards to ensure compatibility has become more important. While core technologies within a product may be proprietary, the peripheral technologies that interface with other formal or informal system elements must be specified clearly. Using a non-standard interface or protocol could compromise the acceptance of a product in the market. Audio technology is no different in principle but the requirements of professional audio present their own challenges. This tutorial will offer some practical examples. It will also consider the importance of international standards in a global marketplace, and outline the approach and processes of the Audio Engineering Society Standards Committee.
Sunday, November 7, 4:30 pm — 6:00 pm (Room 131)
Live Sound Seminar: LS11 - Networked Audio for Live Sound
Jonathan Novick, Audio Precision
Carl Bader, Aviom
Kevin Gross, AVA Networks
Lee Minich, Lab X Technologies
David Scheirman, JBL Professional
Steve Seable, Yamaha Corporation
David Scheirman, JBL Professional
Are audio networks the panacea we all hoped for or is it the peril we all fear? When it comes to live sound networks offer plenty of advantages. However, there are also tradeoffs. No two networks are alike and each offers unique benefits. Should you jump in now or wait for more standardization? FIgure out if networking makes sense for your live business.
Sunday, November 7, 5:00 pm — 6:00 pm (Room 132)
Product Design: PD9 - Licensing 3rd Party Technology: How to Make it Work for You
In the classic product design dilemma, an undersized development team is tasked with designing and building a complete product that satisfies a laundry list of market requirements in a scant mount of time. In today's rapidly moving markets, leveraging third party technologies can be an important part of any product development methodology, whether agile, iterative, linear, or waterfall. When it is not possible to develop a mature technology in-house within the constraints of the schedule, licensing technology from a third party is a viable option. This tutorial will discuss the engineering challenges of working with third parties—from design requirements to technology delivery to developer support. The benefits of third party technology integration are achieved through smart planning and close collaboration with the vendor.