Meeting Topic: High-End Audio Hardware for Computer-edited Sound Productions
Moderator Name: E-Jo. Voelker
Speaker Name: Hermann Gier (Sound Performance Labs), Prof. Dr. Dieter Leckschat (FH Düsseldorf), Prof. Dr. Dieter Braun (FH Düsseldorf)
Other business or activities at the meeting: meeting of AES Student Section Düsseldorf, election of the new Student Chair
Meeting Location: Fachhochschule Düsseldorf, Germany
Prof. Ernst Völker greeted the students, AES members and guests. He reported above all on student activities and the work of student sections. Later Stefan Cahen gave an insight in he is work as Student Chair in Düsseldorf. He has now finished his studies and works with company Mastering-Studio Zimmerli as a partial owner. With his speech and favor of AES Student Activities he motivated the present students to join the AES. For that, several applications were filled-in. Stefan chaired the meeting for the election of the new Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer for the upcoming Student Section in Düsseldorf. Prof. Leckschat accepted to become the Faculty Advisor.
SPL product manager Hermann Gier explained the company's strategy to focus on analog products that ideally complement modern digital audio production. Besides the principally analog areas in recording at the front and backend (preamplification and monitoring), SPL develops high performance interface solutions to integrate analog processing units into digital audio workstations (DAW). This core application to create hybrid analog/digital studio environments is performed by the MixDream, an analog mix buss for stereo summing
of up to 16 channels. With its 16 inserts for integration of analog processing units it is also a comfortable interface that reduces especially the critical A/D conversions remarkably, as only the summed stereo needs to be converted. Fully discrete circuit designs and SPL's proprietary 60 V op-amps ensure best technical specifications above SACD standard - the dynamic range reaches up to 125 dB. SPL proved their expertise in realizing high operating voltage products with their mastering products MMC1 and PQ Mastering Equalizer which run on 120 V rails, the highest voltages ever realized in audio signal processing. In the back end area, Mr. Gier presented two new monitoring extensions for DAWs. With the SMC Surround Monitor Controller and the MTC Monitoring and Talkback Controller, SPL fills the gap between DAW and speakers for system independent volume control, source and speaker management. The SMC can handle several sources for both stereo and surround monitoring, the MTC provides comfortable stereo monitoring functions including talkback and cue mixing.
Prof. Leckschat has a lab for audio a video technology. He introduced the visitors to the new building of the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf, which was completed last year. In this building, a new studio complex was integrated which allows sound recordings of all kinds. The tour for visitors started at the central control room, the "brain" of the studio complex, where more than a thousand audio lines can be routed and switched. The room is equipped with several working environments, a fact that mirrors the different tasks needed in education. The studio has a ProTools HD system with a full size ProControl user interface, a Sony digital mixing console and a Sonic DVD-A authoring system. High end outboard equipment such as Lexicon 960 surround reverb and (of course?!) s.p.l. microphone preamps completes the setup. Also a nice setup of vintage equipment, such as EMT reverberation plate or a 2" Studer multitrack machine, is available. - The adjacent recording room is acoustically flexible in a high degree. So more "acoustic sounding" recordings as well as "dry" takes can be performed. Also a self-playing grand piano was exposed, which is a very valuable tool for teaching microphone techniques. - In one more demonstration, an impressive sound work was made audible on a multichannel sound system. The production called "Auditive Zeitreise" describes the development of sound technology over more than 100 years. The project will be brought to a broad audience in the "Deutsches Rock- und Popmuseum" in a few months.
Prof. Völker thanked Prof. Braun and the former student representatives for their work in favor of the big family of audio engineering experts which form a great society all over the world. Prof. Braun seized this opportunity to invite the participants to see his installations with a reflection free test-chamber as well as a reverberation room.