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AES Section Meeting Reports

Los Angeles - January 30, 2012

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Summary

The Audio Engineering Society was pleased to have Ozzie Sutherland and Scott Wood of Avid to discuss the evolution of the modern audio console. Ozzie is a former AES-LA Committee Member (2006) and is
currently a Euphonix Specialist. Scott has been in the Audio Tech field for more than 25 years, and is currently the Senior Post Production Manager and Specialist at Avid. Together, they explained how Avid has gone from supplying consoles to specialty markets to now encompassing every major market.
Modern digital consoles are becoming increasingly versatile with an emphasis on user customization and streamlined controls. The large consoles of yesteryear have drastically changed under the control of Avid. The Avid console system utilizes two primary components - the controller work surface, and the console controller / DSP engine which act as the brains behind the system. Each console is managed by the DSP engine, and all fader, encoder and soft key actions are transmitted bi-directionally via the EUCON protocol to integrate with the DAW. Each console and console controller looks and operates similarly regardless of the market it serves; whether it is broadcast mixing, live sound or post production . This approach provides scalability and a reduced learning curve as one's needs change .
Avid consoles support SNMP [Simple Network Management Protocol] monitoring, which can be configured to allow support staff to see every move a mixer makes on the control surface. It can be setup to send an SMS to support staff, should the console have a large system error for example.
User definable soft keys on most consoles allow for control of just about anything in the DAW. This includes customizing applications and switching between one's favorite editing tools or even your email and chat applications. Soft keys work with any application that supports key commands & open I/O commands.
The presentation covered many advantages found in modern consoles that support the EUCON protocol. Disk caching between workstations. This allows up to 768 tracks to be shared between workstations while security protocols prevent simultaneous editing of the same track.
Audio fidelity is always paramount and early consoles were faulted for truncation errors and lost fidelity in their signal processing. The new consoles are equipped with 32-bit float processing. Each input is always represented with 24-bits regardless of their levels relative to each other insuring that no information is lost in processing.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society