NAB 2002 The show in review

Publish date:

NAB 2002 The show in review

Jun 1, 2002 12:00 PM, By the BE Radio Reporters

While the NAB2002 convention evidenced a decrease in attendees, the exhibitors were no less busy in unveiling new products. There were some new ideas and approaches represented in the products shown, but many were refinements or enhancements to existing products or technologies.

The BE Radio NAB2002 review is extensively covered in this issue. Our pool of reporters supplemented the BE Radio editorial staff to cover the entire show floor and bring you this all-inclusive coverage.

Also, be sure to review the recipients of radio's most prestigious, longest-lived and original technology award. The BE Radio Pick Hits can found here.

Chriss Scherer, editor

Audio mixers

Arrakis Systems introduced the Nova-10C, a 10-channel digital mixing console.

Professional Sound unveiled the M3, a three-input, portable audio mixer for ENG and field production.

Logitek showed the Remora control surface. Also introduced was the redesigned Numix digital console as well as updates to the Logitek Audio Engine digital audio router.

Wheatstone's D-4000 is the latest addition to the company's Digital Series console line. It is based on the architecture of the D-5000. Also unveiled was the D-8000, which includes Bus-Minus, four mix buses and 24-bit A/D inputs. The D-700 has also expanded to store as many as 99 presets for recalling settings.

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Tamura showed the Qolle AMX Series portable mixer product line, which includes four analog models ranging from four to 20 channels.

Sound Devices displayed its 442 portable mixer, which offers features for field mixing applications.

Harris Pacific is now shipping the Legacy console.

AEQ showed the BC 2000 Digital, which consists of a rack unit with inputs, outputs and processing, and a control surface.

Denon introduced a DJ mixer, the DN-X400, which includes two digital outputs.

Dan Dugan showed the D-2 automatic mixing controller, which adds digital signal processing, a separate control panel and three processing groups for multichannel mixing.

Audio processing

Omnia Audio had several product introductions and demonstrations. The Omnia A/X is a software-only processer useful for Webcasting. It runs on Windows. The Omnia 6 CD is a studio mastering processor designed for audio mastering applications. The Omnia 4.5 AM and Omnia 4.5 FM are new and offer 96kHz processing with 24-bit dynamic range and a five-band limiter.

Orban added several products to its audio processing line. Version 2.0 software for the Optimod-FM 8400 (a BE Radio Pick Hit) reduces the system audio delay and offers improved DSP algorithms. The Optimod-FM 8400PD is an 8400 repackaged with no front-panel user interface. It is programmed via a PC software interface. Also announced was the Optimod-FM 8400IBOC processor.

AEV S.p.A. of Italy showed the Xtreme, a five-band digital audio processor with a built-in sample rate converter, daypart automation, remote control via an RS-232 port and the optional RBDS module for the Xtreme FM, providing RBDS generation within the audio processor.

CRL Systems introduced the Amigo Grande processor set that reduces the unit count of devices from four to three.

Aphex released its latest on-air processor, the 2020 MKIII. This is a digitally-controlled analog processor with computer GUI control.

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Waves displayed its bundled DSP software plug-in packages that provide editing tools, sweetening and mastering processors, and sound design effects.

CTE International introduced the Condor 50AES digital audio processor. It features five-band processing in a 1RU package, with 10 programmable settings.

IDT has enhanced its Digital Virtual Processor with the Evolution II, which offers 10 times the processing power of the original DVP.

Audio recording, storage, playback and editing

Audion Labs again showed the Voxpro PC, which can now be configured to link multiple machines together across a network to share audio files.

Mackie's SDR24/96 is a 24-channel hard-disk recorder. Also shown was the redesigned Soundscape software.

The Mayah Flashman (a BE Radio Pick Hit) is a portable flash card audio recorder with variable sampling rates.

Telos showed the Profiler logging software that allows a station to automatically log its program audio.

Microboards Technology showed its line of CD replicators including the Copy Writer Live, a dual-drive CD recorder that spans multiple CDs to produce a never-ending recording. Also shown was the Orbit Pro, a two-drive, stand-alone 24� CD duplicator.

The Sonifex Net-Log network audio logger can provide as much as 42 days of two-channel audio. Audio can be played back through any PC on the network.

Denon introduced the DN-C550R dual-disc CD/CD-R/CD-RW recorder/player.

The Arrakis Digilink+ Plus is an upgrade to the Digilink Free that supports multiple sound cards and has advanced scheduling features.

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Dalet demonstrated the Dalet Plus, a digital broadcast platform that includes a true client/server architecture, TCP/IP operation, new user interfaces and asset management that allows association of data and audio for Web publishing and a new mix editor with voice tracking.

CartWorks/dbm Systems announced enhancements to the CartWorks digital audio system including one-button operation, instant access for frequently played carts, live assist cart replacement, voice tracking and Web updating.

OMT/Media Touch demonstrated the Imediaexpress Encoder, which facilitates the use of a 100 CD jukebox player to convert all audio tracks to sound files in a variety of formats.

360 Systems had three introductions. The Ethernet Audio family of products uses central audio servers networking directly with as many as 24 dedicated Digicart/E units over CAT5 Ethernet networks. The Short/cut has received some enhancements for faster processing, expanded storage capacity and optional Zip drives. The Instant Replay has also been enhanced with trim, fade and level-editing capabilities.

Computer Concepts announced enhancements to the Maestro system, which includes equalization.

The HHB 8-Track Portadrive combines 24-bit/96kHz multichannel recording with flexible on-board mixing facilities in a compact, portable package. HHB also announced an expansion and performance upgrade for HHB professional recording media and a new Burnit CD recorder.

Scott Studios displayed the Distant-City Voice Tracker, which automatically collects and compresses the beginning and end of the songs and spots adjacent to the voice tracks in the log. Also shown was new SS Flex software, which is based on the Scott Studios SS32 system. The Lazer Blade phone recorder/editor also made its debut.

Prophet Systems Innovations (PSI) promoted the Nexgen Digital NS, an entry-level computer automation system that is fully scalable and offers most of the features found in the company's larger system. Prophet also introduced the Phone Trac, which allows remote recording and scheduling of audio feeds through a telephone line.

Tascam showed the SX1 DAW/mixer, whose features include motorized faders, configurable mixing layers and a built-in CD-RW drive.

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Syntrillium Software demonstrated the latest release of Cool Edit Pro, version 2.

Mackie showed the SDR 24/96, a moderately priced, 24-track hard disk recorder/editor.

Digigram released version 4.3 of the Xtrack editing software. The new version supports FTP file import and export.

Pristine has updated Rapidfire to include Quickpicks for instant audio-to-air playback, Timewarp for audio time shifting and a production application for voice tracking.

Sonic Foundry released Sound Forge 6.0, which now features non-destructive audio editing, large file size support and enhanced time zoom.

Sadie released revision 4.2.0 of its DAW software. The new software is available for download for all existing users of Sadie Radia, 24/96 and Artemis work-stations.

Audio routing, distribution and conversion

Logitek has enhanced its Audio Engine and added additional I/O capability, a network card for 1Gb connection between Engines, a multi-DSP card for EQ and dynamics processing and supervisory software.

Fast Channel introduced Freedom 4.0, a software update to the company's audio distribution software and services.

Radio Systems exhibited the D-A+A-D, a 1RU D/A-A/D converter with a 24-bit variable sampling rate up to 96kHz and auto sample rate sensing.

Liquid Audio demonstrated the Distra, a system for distributing and moving audio via the Web.

Arrakis has added a 4x6 routing switcher that talks to the Digilink+Plus software.

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Sierra Audio Systems added the RIO Link to its 32KD Digital Audio Network. The 2RU RIO Link allows a remote terminal to be linked to the 32KD mainframe by fiber or CAT5 cable, and provides as many as 32 channels of audio in and out, plus additional data channels, including 16 RS-485 remote control ports.

Aphex demonstrated the Model 212 A/D-D/A converter. It has a drift-stabilized circuit to reduce dc drift.

Computer Concepts demonstrated enhancements to the Epicenter, which can interface to the Telos Smart Surface and Logitek controllers.

Audioarts Engineering showed a new 32�32 audio router that combines audio quality and flexibility.

The Wheatstone Bridge 2001 router has added a logic I/O card to route data and a machine's status info, and an event scheduler to automatically change crosspoints or salvos.

Gepco had several new product introductions for AES-3 audio applications including the 552624GFC 24-pair cable.

Auditronics is now shipping the ALM-12d console that was introduced last year.

Gibson Labs introduced Magic (media-accelerated global information carrier) a replacement to long, heavy and bulky microphone snake cables by using A/D converters to multiplex as much as 200 inputs onto one cable.

Broadcast Tools unveiled the new SS16.4 16�4 switcher and the ACS 8.2 8�2 switcher. Both can mix and overlap audio sources and can be controlled via contact closures, RS-232 or RS-485 serial connections. The NSS-3 can be used to send serial strings from an Ethernet connection.

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The AEQ Impact/Caddy is an audio converter/router system that uses various rack-mount modules to provide as much as a 60�60 matrix. Optional control software is available.

Computers and peripherals

Ergo 2000 showed the CSD1-17, CSD-1 and S2-17 rack-mount LCD monitors with integrated keyboard and trackball, which fold into a 1RU drawer for storage while not in use.

Dbm Systems has added to the Audio Surge line of transient-voltage protectors for most major-brand digital audio cards.

AudioScience unveiled the ASI6114 digital audio with four stereo streams. The company is also adding MRX technology, the ability to mix multiple sampling rates and formats within a sound card, and SoundGuard, transient-voltage protection, to the ASI6122, ASI6114, ASI6118 and ASI6244 sound cards.

Monitors, microphones and headphones

The Shure ULX wire mic systems now have additional frequencies available.

MB Quart displayed the MBK 948 ACS headphone/mic, which features four-mic elements and a closed-cup design.

Mackie unveiled the HR624, a two-way active nearfield monitor with a six-inch woofer.

Lightwave Audio Systems displayed the Minimount all-purpose isolation shockmount for short- and medium-length mics.

Schoeps has repackaged its mics into sets with various amplifier and capsule combinations with accessories.

Genelec displayed the Sub LSE, a series of laminar, spiral enclosure sub-woofers providing high SPL with low turbulence noise.

A-audio (Audio) displayed the Envoy series of UHF wireless mic products.

Sabine showed a 2.4GHz spread-spectrum wireless mic system that is frequency agile and contains Sabine's FBX Feedback Exterminator, a compressor/limiter and an intelligent de-esser.

LPB has added the Tri-Mount silent boom mic to its offerings. It sits in the standard mounting flange.

PMI Audio Group exhibited the line of inexpensive studio condenser mics from Studio Projects.

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The Mackie SP 400Cmonitor is designed to be concealed in a ceiling for tight studio configurations.

ATI showed the HDA400 and HDA600 headphone distribution systems with four and six outputs. Both can drive as much as 100nW into a 32-ohm to 600-ohm load.

Audio-Technica unveiled the studio condenser AT4040 mic, the Artist Elite series of handheld mics, the 30 series of mics and headphones and the UHF Yagi Antenna System for wireless mic applications.

AKG Acoustics debuted the K 240 Studio and K 141 Studio headphones. These feature Varimotion XXL drivers.

DPA Microphones introduced the Type 4071 omnidirectional miniature condenser mic.

Microwave, RPU, fiber optic and telco

Moseley debuted the Digital Composite Link. The Starlink Composite STL uses 16-bit sampling with a SNR of more than 85dB with more than 70dB of stereo separation. Options include an IBOC transport channel as well as MPEG LIII auxiliary audio channels.

Marti showed the SRPT-40A transmitter. The Digital Cellcas, which also make an appearance, is designed to use the various digital cellphone networks found worldwide and the STL-20C composite STL transmitter and the STL-20M mono STL transmitter.

Mayah showed the Centauri 3000, a T-1 bi-directional STL with 15kHz uncompressed audio and an IP addressable Ethernet data link. Also shown was the Centauri 3001 ISDN Codec, which is compatible with all the major-brand ISDN codecs. The Centauri Webserver is a plug-and-play audio server for use on the Internet or on an intranet.

Broadcast Richardson showed the Swedish portable IP Satellite Terminal, a suitcase-sized portable audio uplink that uses MPG2 for live two-way communications or MPG4 for higher-quality non-real time feeds.

Audio Processing Technology demonstrated the Program Channel Access Unit (PCAU), an encoder/decoder card using Apt-X encoding for 20Hz to 20kHz audio over a 128kb/s ISDN link.

DB Elettronica introduced the TD/16 and RD/16, a set of codecs that are compatible with any analog FM Aural STL, that provide a digital upgrade to existing equipment.

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The Telos Zephyr Xport (a BE Radio Pick Hit) is a portable, POTS codec that connects to an ISDN codec.

Ireland-based ILD Networks showed the Surroundnet, a mutichannel MPEG-2 codec for transmitting 5.1 channel audio, SMPTE time code, IFB and RS-232 data over bonded ISDN lines.

BandNet-64 is a low-delay audio codec for transmitting two-channel audio over ISDN for audio conferencing and remote music collaboration.

Tieline Technology unveiled the Patriot, a new POTS codec that has the company's latest proprietary algorithms to produce 15kHz mono audio at bit rates as low as 24kb/s with minimal delay.

Energy-Onix introduced a remote pick-up transmitter/receiver system called the Roadcaster, available in UHF and VHF versions. Also shown was the Tele-Link Internet STL package that provides 22kHz stereo audio through a broadband Internet connection or Ethernet network.

Musicam USA showed the Liberty POTS codec, which delivers 15kHz bi-directional audio at connection rates as low as 24kb/s.

AEV S.p.A introduced the Millennium 2 audio codec, which automatically recognizes the codec at the other end of the line and is software remote controllable via Windows. It is available in two models, one with an LCD display and hardware user interface, and one designed strictly for remote PC control.

Orban's Opticodec 7200 has been added to the Opticodec line with a 1RU unit without a display, which is designed for remote control use.

Bext unveiled the LKT/LKR aural studio-transmitter link, a 2RU 940 to 970MHz transmitter/receiver set that accepts a stereo composite input.

OMT/Media Touch showed the Imediamultistream, a streaming audio package allowing simultaneous streaming with as many as four audio inputs and as many as 16 streaming outputs from a single PC.

Comrex introduced the Blue Box, which works with POTS lines or GSM wireless services.

JK Audio demonstrated the Celltap, Daptor Two and Compack. All three offer interface methods for POTS or cellphones.

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AETA demonstrated the Scoop EZ for POTS, ISDN, wireless and Inmarsat use. It includes a built-in two-channel mixer and a selectable compressor/limiter.

AEQ introduced the Course ISDN codec rack-mount system. As many as 10 codecs can be mounted in a 4RU space.

Wil-burt showed the D-Tec ac field detection and object proximity detection for pneumatic masts.

Sigalarm displayed the High Voltage Power Line Proximity Warning System.

Power products

Superior Electric now offers a line of UPS products that are rack-mounted and available in various capacities.

Catalyst Power displayed the Pinnacle Plus system that combines a natural gas-powered generator, UPS and Smartgate, which is Catalyst Power's proprietary Internet-based remote power management technology.

Videoquip Research Limited showed the UVM-6 universal ac line voltage monitor, which can monitor and log voltage spikes and anomalies on as many as six circuits simultaneously.

Studio and facility support

Stardraw introduced Stardraw Radio, an easy-to-use CAD package for designing radio studios that includes a library of more than 10,000 pieces of equipment from most major suppliers.

Dataworld brought several new services including License Tracker, which provides e-mail notification of upcoming license expiration dates and renewal application deadlines; Apptracker, which provides e-mail notification of activity on a specific application submitted to the FCC; and an improvement to the Flag service, a Web-based management page allowing users to set activity flag points using a control panel interface to monitor the status of pending FCC applications.

Masterclock showed its expanding line of master clock systems, displays and time generators.

Radio Systems has upgraded its timers so each one can act as a clock, timer or slave display. An infrared remote control is also available on some models.

Symetrix is developing its Airtools line with the 6100 Broadcast Audio Delay, which offers as long as a 20-second delay and 20kHz stereo bandwidth.

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EDX demonstrated the Microcell/Indoor design tool to help determine interference and coverage problems of a wireless network. It maps all transmit and receive links.

Sonifex has added more devices to its Red Box line including the RB-HD1 stereo headphone amplifier and RB-DMA2 dual digital mic amplifier that converts mic level signals to AES3 or S/PDIF.

Gorgy Timing showed its complete line of clocks, timing systems, displays and time-sync generators and readers.

Henry Engineering showed the Moniswitch, which eliminates the headphone echo caused by digital processor delays. Also shown was the Patchbox, a passive DA that creates 11 stereo outputs from a single, balanced stereo input.

Radio Design Labs (RDL) showed the Accessory Mounting System for jacks, indicators, switches and controls that allows users to create custom projects with a completely finished look when used in conjunction with RDL modules and enclosures. Also exhibited were a series of audio isolation transformers called the Audio Format Converters. The Stick-on line has a new addition: The STM-LDA3 is a mic preamplifier with distributed line-level outputs.

Burli introduced its Virtual Newsroom software that manages all newsroom text and audio needs from a desktop computer.

Eventide displayed the BD960, a profanity delay featuring an eight-second maximum delay with built-in substitute audio, which is stored digitally, uncompressed in nonvolatile memory.

Penny & Giles presented its Flexipatch Patchbay, a dipswitch-configurable patchbay with a compact design suited for portable applications.

RCS demonstrated Selector XV, which has a new Windows interface.

Industrial Acoustics introduced a veneer finish to its steel doors to give the look of wood to the door. The company also introduced Track Walls, a method of moving wall partitions.

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ATI added to the Nanoamp series with the AMM200, an audio monitor and metering device. Also added was the DM200, which can check the integrity of a digital line. It supports multiple sampling rates and has a headphone output.

Athens Technology Center introduced the News Asset system, an integrated approach to handling text, audio and other media files for news storage and delivery.

Acoustics First unveiled the Transfusor 2'�2' acoustic ceiling light cover.

Wireready showed the Sales System for managing contacts and client calls.

Gangverk, an Icelandic company, displayed its Majones radio system that allows listeners to view a station's playlist and select songs from it through a mobile telephone interface.

System integrators and services

Mager Systems introduced the Sound Choice Furniture (a BE Radio Pick Hit), a line of studio furniture featuring solid-composition countertops.

Harris displayed the Quickline studio furniture and the new Smoothline series. One interesting addition was the Studioflex hydraulic lift furniture, which can change from stand-up to sit-down operation as needed.

Forecast Consoles exhibited the Imagemaster Edit Consoles, which are pre-engineered, modular edit stations that feature the Master Rail Dynamic Device Management System for quick reconfiguration of workstations.

Test and measurement

The Audemat AM Fieldstar automatically takes AM field strength measurements while driving. It includes an antenna that automatically nulls to the transmitter site, speeding measurement and data collection.

RDL (Radio Design Labs) showed the PT-ASG1 audio oscillator and the PT-AMG2 portable test instrument. The PT-AMG2 contains an oscillator and audio monitoring section with metering and a speaker.

Belar featured a new addition to the Wizard monitors, the AMMA-2 AM Digital Modulation Monitor/Analyzer (a BE Radio Pick Hit). It includes filters for IBOC compatibility and DSP processing allows IM distortion of less than 0.1 percent with as much as 99 percent modulation.

Potomac featured its line of AM antenna monitors and field-strength measuring equipment. Its antenna monitors are compatible with IBOC tests.

The Audio Precision ATS-2 is a PC-based audio test and measurement system. Capabilities include harmonic distortion, FFT and multi-tone analyzers.

Inovonics debuted the Model 531 FM modulation analyzer, which includes digitally synthesized tuning, subcarrier measurement, AM noise measurement and an extended meter range.

Terrasonde demonstrated the Digital Audio Toolbox multifunction audio test set.

Aztec Radiomedia introduced the FMTEL5, an FM monitoring and supervision system built on a DSP architecture that provides an FM tuner and RDS decoder for remote monitoring of multiple stations.

Transmission and tower equipment

In addition to demonstrating the Digital Radio Mondiale system, Continental Electronics announced that its 35kW FM transmitter will begin using a 4CX20000E.

Electronics Research Inc. (ERI) showed the IBOX, a hybrid digital/analog combiner with a nominal 10dB coupling level at medium- and high-power levels. Also shown was the S.A.M. hardware/software monitoring system for master antenna systems that monitors power, pressure, temperature, moisture and antenna icing at multiple points in the system.

Armstrong introduced the LCD series of FM transmitters with power ranges from 500W to 10kW.

Kintronic Labs released a new microwave isocoupler for PCS digital cellphones, wireless Internet or other spread-spectrum applications on AM broadcast towers.

Unimar displayed its ALTR tower lighting control that alternates between each lamp in a double obstruction-light assembly. Each time the unit is energized by the photo control, it switches lamps, ensuring equal usage of both lamps in the double assembly.

Bext displayed the HS series of solid-state FM transmitters, a line of low- to medium-power units featuring hot-swappable amplifier modules. The XPT FM transmitter series has AES3 digital inputs and onboard digital processing and are available in 50W, 100W, 250W and 500W power levels.

Dielectric introduced the 1400 series FM Filter: a compact, 10kW FM filter designed for bandpass, notch and constant impedance filter configurations.

Burk Technology displayed the Arcplus remote control. Auto-pilot version 2 is the new release of the remote control software, which has been completely rewritten. The ARC-16 has a new firmware upgrade to version 5.4 that allows adjustable alarm delays and command durations. An auto-load feature allows editing of all user-defined labels on a PC.

Broadcast Electronics showed its IBOC development progress with the FMI solid-state IBOC compatible transmitter line. This technology uses linearization techniques that allow the transmitters to be used in a high-level combined system or a common amplifier system. The Fxi60 and Fxi250 digital exciters can be configured with an optional IBOC input card and work with the Fsi-10 and Asi-10 FM and AM IBOC signal generators.

Shively Labs debuted the Interleaved Analog-Digital (IAD) antenna (a BE Radio Pick Hit) for IBOC conversion for low- and medium-power stations, as well as the IBOC filter-injector.

Nautel showed its digital AM products. The ND, XL and NA line of transmitters are fully compatible with IBOC and DRM. Power levels are available from 1kW to 1MW. Also shown was the NE 50 IBOC exciter.

Presented by Flash Technologies, the Remote Telemetry System can monitor lights, door entry, generator fuel level and room temperature.

Harris exhibited several IBOC offerings. The Dexstar exciter (a BE Radio Pick Hit) is an exciter for AM or FM. The Z series transmitters are also being offered as the Z-IBIC series for IBOC applications.

Kintronics labs showed remotely controlled ATUs that are used over water, at significant heights or in hard-to-reach areas.

Crown Broadcast displayed the FMX series of 30W, 100W and 300W transmitters, which offer the DMS-enhanced front panel control and RMS remote interface system. Also shown was the RF Sentinel, a packaged system with a built-in, automatic backup system.

CTE International offered the VL 1000 1kW FM MOSFT amplifier, which occupies 5RU with RS-232/RS-485 remote control.

Seratel Technology unveiled the ST 501 FM exciter, a 50W 2RU exciter with a front-panel LCD for control of all functions.

Bird Electronic introduced the BPM series of RF wattmeters. These systems combine accuracy of a calorimeter with the ease and price of a directional coupler.

Econco, known for its power tube rebuilding service, has added original manufacturing capabilities to its product offerings.