Side by Side: Apps for Field Contribution

November 1, 2012


Sending audio from the field back to the studio has evolved from leased lines and RPUs to ISDN and now to IP. At the same time, the power of the handheld devices we carry has been put to good use in radio as well. There are many apps to record quality audio from the field. There are also hardware add-ons to improve the recording functions. But there's another use for that smartphone when you need to get audio back to the studio.

A typical telephone call is still the simplest method to deliver audio, and with so many people carrying phones, it's easy to connect from anywhere. But a standard phone call is limited in audio bandwidth, and is hardly comparable to the high-quality audio available through other means. Bad audio is bad radio.

So why not take advantage of the digital connection of the smartphone to deliver better audio via 3G, 4G or Wi-fi? That's what some apps now do.

Using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), a handheld device app can communicate with another device, like an IP codec at the station. The app connects to the receiver's IP address. The EBU working group for Network Audio Contribution Over IP (N/ACIP) adopted SIP for codec interoperability and included it in the Tech 3326 standard. Devices can connect directly or through a proxy server.

The handheld apps provide a signal path with a higher bandwidth than a typical POTS telephone call. The ubiquitous G.722 encoding provides a 7kHz connection, and other encoding algorithms provide quality up to 15kHz.

Some apps can also record audio for later transmission, which adds to their flexibility.

Model
Luci Live
Media5 Fone Pro
Tieline - ReportIT Live Enterprise
License Type
single user
single user
up to 10 devices
Minimum Bit-rate
24Kb/s
not stated
14.4Kb/s
OS
iOS, Android
iOS, Android
iOS, Android
Minimum Coding Delay at 24kb/s
128ms-HE-AAC v.1
not stated
20ms-Tieline Music
Maximum Live Audio Quality @ 24kb/s
12kHz bidirectional
not stated
15kHz bidirectional
Maximum Recorded Audio Quality
20kHz
not stated
20kHz
Audio Sample Rate
44.1 to 384kHz
not stated
16, 22, 32, 44.1, 48kHz
Encoding
G.711, G.722, ULCC, MP2, AAC, AAC-HE, AAC-HEV2
G.711, Enhanced G.711, G.722, iLBC, iSAC, G.729
Tieline Music, AAC-LC, WAV
Connection Types
3G, 4G, Wi-fi
3G, Wi-fi
3G, 4G, Wi-fi
Transport Protocol
RTP, UDP
TCP, UDP
TCP/UDP
N/ACIP Compatible?
yes
yes
yes
Offline Recording
yes
no
yes
Recorded Playback
single recording
-
multiple recordings
On-board Editing
top and tail
-
top and tail
Audio Recording Formats
AAC-HE, MP2, WAV
-
WAV, AAC-LC
FTP recordings
yes
-
yes
Auto FTP on disconnect
-
-
yes
Integration with automation systems
-
-
yes
Notes
-
free edition available
single license available
MSRP
$400
$325
$399
URL
luci.eu
media5corp.com
tieline.com



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