In Broadcast - April 2013 - 70

I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 18 - APRIL 2013

N E W S

InSOUND

Audio Post – II: Workstations & Plug-ins
Expertise and knowledge play an integral role in audio production
but software and hardware has a key part to play…

By Kevin Hilton
Contributing Editor

T

70

he tape recorder was a vital
piece of post-production
equipment because not only could
it record but tracks could also be
edited and put in a specific order.
Despite this tape machines were
still apparently secondary to the
then centrepiece of the studio, the
audio console, because they did not
have mixing capability.
The arrival of a digital tapeless
recorder did not immediately
change the balance of power. The
first hard disk-based recorders did
have the edge over their quarterinch ancestors because material
could be accessed in a non-linear
way – instead of spooling from
different parts of a tape – and edited
non-destructively, allowing cuts
to be undone and retried almost
instantaneously. But recording
times were very short compared
to today, a mere few minutes in
the case of the first machines, and
there was either only basic mixing
or none at all.
This meant the console retained
its central position in the audio suite,
both physically and operationally.
By the late 1990s processing power
and memory had improved to give
longer recording times but even then
not quite enough to do a mix on its
own without a console.
This state of affairs has changed
dramatically in the last ten years.

The sound desk is still an important
piece of kit but it is more an equal
partner with what is now commonly
known as the digital audio
workstation (DAW).

Digital Post
The fi rst professional hard disk
recorder, editor and playback
s y s t e m
appeared
in 19 8 4.
The British
designed
a
n
d
built AMS (Advanced Music
Systems) AudioFile was taken up
by a number of studios at the
time, notably Chicago Recording
Company and London-based
Videosonics, a music facility
that moved into audio for picture
post-production.
As recording times and processing
power increased the AudioFile
became a ubiquitous presence in
audio suites, particularly in Soho,
although it did not have the market
all to itself. Among competitors
who found favour with facilities
that did not think AudioFile offered
everything they needed were the
Lexicon Opus, DAR (Digital Audio
Research) SoundStation and two
systems developed from musical
synthesisers, the New England
Digital Synclavier and Fairlight.

Goldcrest Post Production’s Theatre 2 at its London facilities, used for both
ADRZ and mixing, featuring Pro Tools HD1 and 16-fader AMS Neve Gemini

Avid Pro Tools HDX hardware rack

In 1992 AMS was
bought by German
conglomerate Siemens and merged
with another British audio company
it owned, console manufacturer
Neve Electronics. Neve was
renowned for its analogue music
recording desks, in particular the
equalisation strips, which were later
marketed as standalone units, but
it became a digital pioneer in 1980
with the release of the DSP desk.
AMS Neve, now owned by the
School of Audio Engineering (SAE),
is still a player in the post market,
largely through the DFC Gemini
console. It still produces a DAW in
the shape of the AudioFile SC/X,
which offers full editing capability
with StarNet networking and AMS
Neve plug-ins for processing, but
lost ground over the last ten to 15
years to the non-linear recording,
editing and mixing system that is
now regarded as almost standard
by many facilities.
Like AMS and Neve, Pro Tools has
its roots in the music sector. It was
created in 1984 by a company called
Digidrums (later Digidesign) as a
sound editor for sampling keyboards.
Pro Tools itself was launched in
1991 and was quickly adopted by
musicians and producers. It soon
crossed over into post-production
and was bought by Avid in 1995.
In its current incarnation – Pro
Tools HDX (hardware) with version
10 software – the system offers four
times more tracks than previous
versions (up to 768 ‘voices’) and
can double the number of inputs
and outputs with up to 64 channels
of I/O on each card, making for a
maximum of 192.
The editing and playback
functions of DAWs are now well

established and accepted. A postproduction veteran remarked a few
years ago that no one in their right
mind would want to go back to
quarter-inch tape, the EMI cutting
block, chinagraph pencil and
adhesive strips of analogue days
but added that people should still
edit using their ears rather than the
on-screen waveform.
With non-linear editing that’s
much faster, plus the ability to work
with more tracks and simultaneously
transfer material from one to another,
attention has shifted in recent years
to what DAWs can offer in the way of
mixing. “About ten years ago some
professional mixers discovered the
benefits of mixing in the box but
were hesitant of talking about it
for fear of being ridiculed by their
peers,” comments Tom Graham,
Segment Marketing Manager for
Pro Audio at Avid. “The situation is
different today, with people routinely
preparing pre-dubs and 5.1 premixes in DAWs, ready for the final
mix on a console or control surface.”
The DAW landscape has changed
dramatically in the last 15 years.
Older systems like Opus, Synclavier
and DAR has faded away and others
have taken their places. Merging
Technologies, with its Pyramix
system, is now a leading rival to Pro
Tools. Software Products Manager
Johan Wadsten comments that
Merging has also seen a dramatic
uptake of in the box mixing, often
for practical and financial reasons:
“In the last three to four years users
have realised they are able to have
ultra-high track counts, up to 384
channels, all within the DAW. That
means they don’t have to buy
another expensive console like a
CONTINUED ON PAGE 72


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In Broadcast - April 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - April 2013

In Broadcast - April 2013
Contents
InNEWS: Chyron to Merge With Hego Group
InNEWS: Studiovision Lebanon HD OB Truck
InPREVIEW: Nab Show 2013 Keynote Address: Disruptive Media
InREPLY: Harmonic Answers on MPEG DASH
InGEAR: Camp Digital Hits the Road
InVIEW: Hyper-Local TV Channels
InMEDIA: Digital Nirvana’s Cloud Based Anystream IQ
InMEDIA: Keeping One Step Ahead With on Demand Video Streaming Technology
InMEDIA: Understanding Media Asset Management
InTEST: Oversight via Monitoring & Logging
In Broadcast - April 2013 - In Broadcast - April 2013
In Broadcast - April 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - April 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InNEWS: Chyron to Merge With Hego Group
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InNEWS: Studiovision Lebanon HD OB Truck
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 15
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 16
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 18
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In Broadcast - April 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 21
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In Broadcast - April 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 26
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 28
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InPREVIEW: Nab Show 2013 Keynote Address: Disruptive Media
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 32
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InREPLY: Harmonic Answers on MPEG DASH
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 36
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InGEAR: Camp Digital Hits the Road
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 40
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InVIEW: Hyper-Local TV Channels
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 44
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 46
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 47
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 48
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 49
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 50
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 51
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 52
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 53
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 54
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 55
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InMEDIA: Digital Nirvana’s Cloud Based Anystream IQ
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 58
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InMEDIA: Keeping One Step Ahead With on Demand Video Streaming Technology
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 60
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 61
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 62
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 64
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 65
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 66
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InMEDIA: Understanding Media Asset Management
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 68
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 69
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 70
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In Broadcast - April 2013 - 85
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 86
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 87
In Broadcast - April 2013 - InTEST: Oversight via Monitoring & Logging
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 89
In Broadcast - April 2013 - 90
In Broadcast - April 2013 - Cover4
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