Show Report: Live Sound Surprises from NAB 2017

by George Petersen
in Features
The NAB show was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in late April.
The NAB show was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in late April.

Clearly, the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention, held April 22-27, 2017 in Las Vegas, is not a sound reinforcement show. There wasn’t a line array or power amplifier in sight anywhere among the 1,806 exhibitors spanning more than a million square feet of exhibit space. But there was a whole lot of technology on display, under NAB’s M.E.T. (Media. Entertainment. Technology.) theme, and a certain proportion of that — especially in terms of consoles and wireless gear — were aimed specifically at the live audio user. Given that premise, we waded through the masses of 103,443 or so registered attendees and uncovered some real gems for sound reinforcement pros.

‡‡         Consoles? Big News!

Allen & Heath expands the options for its dLive series with new superMADI and of AES3 I/O cards.

Allen & Heath (allen-heath.com) expands the interface options for its dLive mixing system with superMADI and a range of AES3 I/O cards. The superMADI card’s connectivity includes eight BNC connectors and four SFP slots for fiber optic transceivers — for up to 128 I/O at 96k Hz each, and redundancy and sample rate are switchable per link pair, with a choice of Smux or High-Speed 96k Hz mode. The four AES3 cards’ I/O formats are 2-in/8-out, 4x6, 6x4 and 10-out. The new cards can be fitted to any dLive S Class or dLive C Class Surface or MixRack.

Digico SD12

DiGiCo (digico.biz) and Waves (waves.com) showed a new method of integration allowing SD console users to easily integrate with a Waves Multirack system, running on an external PC. Users can continue using the low-latency Waves I/O interface built into SD consoles for audio routing and the existing session, snapshot and plug-in control for advance, faster and smooth show control and automation. DiGiCo was also showing its new SD12 console and demoing new, 8-channel 32-bit mic preamp cards designed by John Stadius.

Lawo's mc2 96 Grand Audio Production Console

Lawo’s (lawo.com) new mc2 96 Grand Audio Production Console is available in frame sizes with 24 to 200 faders, with native support of SMPTE 2110, AES67, Ravenna and Dante. The mc2 96 has 21.5” full-HD touch screens as well as multiple TFTs in channel strips and touch-sensitive color-coded encoders, providing fast, user-friendly operation. In addition to standard channel labeling via channel numbers, individual text labels and static pictures or icons, the mc2 96 can display real-time video thumbnails right at the fader’s mini TFTs.

Solid State Logic L200

Solid State Logic (solidstatelogic.com) is now shipping the new L200 entry in its Live console range, which features an ergonomic inverted-T chassis design to keep all essential console controls within easy reach and brings spring arm-mounted external screens/devices closer to the center of the console. The L200 offers 144 full processing audio paths, configurable as up to 96 input channels, with up to 48 aux sends, up to 24 stems and six masters.

Stage Tec Avatus

Stage Tec’s (stagetec.com) new Avatus is a fully IP-based large mixing console with 21-inch multi-touch displays. Control elements and interfaces are connected through standard Ethernet. The console control surface and other elements communicate via IP networks. The console interface can be split, as the displays can be relocated as required. The Avatus console concept provides more than 800 input channels and 128 sum buses.

Yamaha CS-R10-S control surface

Yamaha (yamahaca.com) showed the new CS-R10-S control surface for its flagship PM-10 RIVAGE system, which is approximately two-thirds the size of the existing CS-R10, yet with the same operability. Also on the horizon is a Dual Console function update allowing two CS-R10 and/or CS-R10-S control surfaces to be connected to a single DSP-R10 DSP engine, so separate CS-R10-S control surfaces can be used at both front of house and monitor mix positions — or a CS-R10-S could to be used as a sidecar for a CS-R10. Yamaha also announced its V1.5 firmware update will includes an Eventide “H3000 Live” Ultra-Harmonizer plug-in, a new analog delay and the Dan Dugan Sound Design automatic mixer plug-in. All are due is Q3 2017.

Dan Dugan speech option for Waves' LV1 console

Waves (waves.com) Dugan Speech plug-in option is an official software version of the famed Dugan automixer for Waves eMotion LV1 console. It controls the gain of multiple microphones automatically in real-time, dramatically reducing noise, feedback and comb filtering from adjacent mics.

‡‡         Wireless World

Digital wireless was hot, especially with all the talk about just-completed FCC frequency auctions. Fortunately there we plenty of new systems that bypass those concerns.

Audio-Technica's 6000 Series

Audio-Technica (audio-technica.com) debuted its new 6000 Series High Density Wireless System, a spectrum-efficient solution that lets users pack 31 channels in 4 MHz of bandwidth and operates in the non-TV 944 to 952 MHz band. The FCC has expanded license eligibility for this band beyond broadcasters and content creators to include sound companies and venues that routinely operate 50 or more wireless mics. The 6000 Series system consists of the ATW-R6200 receiver, ATW-T6001 body-pack transmitters, an optional ATW-DA410 antenna distribution system and a various Audio-Technica lavalier and headworn mics.

Lectrosonic Duet IEM system

Lectrosonics (lectrosonics.com) previewed its Duet digital wireless IEM system, with a M2T dual-stereo half-rack transmitter and M2R diversity belt pack receivers that operate in the 470 to 608 MHz UHF range. The M2T houses two independent stereo transmitters, for up to four stereo or dual-mono transmissions in a single rack space. Audio inputs can be individually configured to be analog or Dante compatible. Availability is Q3 2017.

Riedel Bolero intercom

Riedel (riedel.net) showed Bolero, an expandable, full-roaming, DECT-based wireless intercom system in the license-free 1.9 GHz range. Fully integrated into its Artist digital matrix intercom platform, it can operate three ways: wireless beltpack, wireless keypanel, and as a walkie-talkie radio — an industry first.

Sennheiser System 6000

Sennheiser (sennheiser.com) is now shipping its two-channel Digital 6000 wireless system, which features the Long Range transmission mode and proprietary audio codec from its flagship Digital 9000 series. Bodypack and handheld transmitters are available and it operates in the 470 to 718 MHz range. Up to eight receiver units can be daisy-chained without the need for an additional antenna splitter.

Shure Axient Digital Wireless

Shure (shure.com) unveiled its Axient Digital wireless system, which builds on the benefits of its UHF-R, ULX-D and Axient wireless systems. The Axient Digital receiver is compatible with two transmitter offerings, the AD Series and ADX Series and features a Quadversity mode, Dante and AES3 audio interfacing and full Wireless Workbench as well as the ShurePlus Channels app compatibility.

Photo by Robb Cohen

‡‡         More to Come

There were cool technologies for sound pros at NAB, and we will present more of these online at foh.online.com and in our upcoming print issues. Meanwhile, NAB returns to lovely Las Vegas next year from April 7 to 12, dates that overlap the Prolight+Sound show in Frankfurt, which will run April 10 to 13, 2018.