DTVAG/SVG Advanced Audio Symposium Focuses on Tech for Sports Broadcasts

Presentations cover IP networking, immersive audio, production infrastructure

Attracting attendees and presenters from across North America and Europe to Detroit last week, the inaugural Advanced Audio Symposium, presented by the DTV Audio Group and SVG, provided an opportunity for mixers, sound designers, and production engineers to become familiar with emerging audio-production and -distribution trends and technologies for sports broadcasts.

The one-day event offered representatives of major broadcast and cable networks, remote-production-services providers, equipment manufacturers, and broadcast-audio professionals in presentations and panels. The symposium was made possible by Dolby Laboratories and co-sponsors Audio-Technica, Calrec/DiGiCo, Dale Pro Audio, JBL by Harman, and Lawo.

The morning session focused on IP networking, reviewing the standards-development work for AES67 and SMPTE ST 2110 and the importance of metadata in networked distribution and production streams to address personalization, virtualization, and consistent cross-platform loudness control. There was also discussion of the potential for future IP-networked “smart” microphone products.

Presenters offered an update on the FCC’s latest rulemaking for wireless microphones and recommended strategies and best practices for operation now that the telecom companies have acquired significant frequency spectrum in the 600 MHz band and are ready to begin operations.

Dolby Atmos was launched as an immersive audio format for presentation in the movie theater and at home. More recently, it has been deployed for streaming of premium content and is being adopted for next-gen broadcast services. Dolby Labs outfitted a Dolby Atmos demo room and showed highlights from live broadcasts of soccer and boxing in the UK. Members of the production and facility-services teams behind those broadcasts provided insights into the creative and technological challenges of delivering object-based immersive-audio mixes for live sports broadcasts.

Presentations throughout the day covered equipment and emerging technologies suitable for sports-broadcast applications: Sennheiser’s digital, ambisonic, and beam-forming array mic products; Lawo’s KICK automated close-ball–tracking mix-control system; Waves’ plug-ins and SoundGrid platforms; and JBL Pro’s Series 7 monitor system, which was also used for 9.1.4 playback in the Dolby Atmos demo room.

The day closed with a series of panel discussions on the related topics of evolving production infrastructures and in-house remote production (also known as at-home or REMI production), as well as the challenges of modern audio production facing mixers for live sports broadcasts.

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