IBC: Calrec reveals broadcast automation system and more

At IBC2015 on stand 8.C61a, Calrec Audio has lifted the curtain on a range of new offerings, including a new transparent broadcast automation system, a new integrated Waves plugin solution and the adoption of its Hydra2 interface card into new third-party products.

Designed to record the movements of a console’s channel and bus controls in real time, Calrec’s new automation system for the Apollo and Artemis consoles operates entirely in the background during a live broadcast. 

"In principle, Calrec’s broadcast automation system is similar to traditional post-production and music automation systems, but that’s where the similarity stops. The fact that it is user-transparent is what makes it unique," said Karl Lynch, product manager at Calrec.

"The Calrec automation system has been designed for the highly stressful live-broadcast environment, where there is only one opportunity to get it right. Because it operates almost invisibly during the live broadcast, the system allows the user to concentrate on the task at hand without additional controls interfering with the console user interface."

That "user transparency" leaves the operator free to mix the show without the distraction of seeing automation controls on the surface. Once the live element is over and the "first pass" has been recorded, the automation controls can be made visible on the console surface with a single button press. The system provides an on-screen editor that can be operated from the mix position, allowing the user to quickly locate any part of the show, replay the recording, and make adjustments using the surface controls in combination with the comprehensive set of editing tools provided. This feature set greatly simplifies the task of producing an automated mixdown or repurposing the material for quick turnaround. The console setup and automation data can be saved for post-production at a later date. 

Calrec’s system comes as a 3U rackmount unit and is connected to the primary and secondary master controllers of the console, creating a redundant connection for peace of mind. The system provides video synchronisation and comprehensive machine control via 9-pin, LTC, MIDI, and GPIO; works alongside all major DAWs; and can interface with external machine control synchronisers if a full post-production environment is required.

Making Waves

The company is also showcasing an integrated Waves SoundGrid solution for its Hydra2 platform of consoles. This integration uses a new SoundGrid interface module on Calrec’s Hydra2 network. The module provides direct connection between Hydra2 and the Waves SoundGrid network, promising simple integration and fewer parts in the chain, meaning lower latency and greater reliability.

Calrec customers can control Waves software, such as MultiRack, from the integrated touch display in Apollo and Artemis surfaces, allowing direct control of Waves plugins from the mix position. This capability gives Calrec users access to range of Waves plugins and broadcast tools, such as the new UM225/226 stereo-to-surround upmixers, WNS noise reduction tools, and a variety of creative processors.

"Calrec is at the forefront of broadcast audio, and this partnership further develops Waves’ presence in the broadcast market," commented Mick Olesh, vice president of Waves. "Calrec’s adaptation is an integrated solution that includes many broadcast features associated with its Hydra2 networking system. The result is a very robust infrastructure."

Thanks to a direct Hydra2 connection, all Calrec/SoundGrid I/Os benefit from the Hydra2 feature set, which includes source and destination protection, Hydra Patchbays, aliases, access rights, and the inherent redundancy of the Hydra2 network. 

"Calrec’s integration builds on technology and knowledge developed by Allen & Heath and DiGiCo," added Henry Bourne, product manager at Calrec. "This uniquely integrated solution using Hydra2 is another example of how we have benefited from increased R&D collaboration across the Audiotonix group."

The module features two SoundGrid ports, allowing direct connection of two SoundGrid products, or expansion via a SoundGrid certified switch.