Winston Churchill is supposed have once said – ‘the more unions the better’ – presumably on a kind of divide and rule basis. And the audio world has pretty much followed his advice when it comes to multichannel audio standards. At SoundPRO most of the action of course was in the Dante camp – I was thrilled to see Glensound at the show and the veteran broadcast specialists had a slew of Dante gear – alongside Studer, Calrec and a bunch of others. HHB had alongside the Studer Micro mixer gear some very interesting comms units from Studio Technologies running over, Dante.
I was at the show with Soundkit showing off Audio’s new A10 digital dual channel radio system, we were next door to Calrec showing their very jolly Brio console – which of course has a slot for a Dante card. Next to them was a nice rack of DirectOut gear, including a format converter with obligatory Dante but also some classic MADI functionality – there’s life in the old dog yet!
And over on the Synthax stand DirectOut were getting some stiff competition from Swiss outfit Appsys – who make an all singing dancing format converter the MVR-64 which includes… Dante. Dante everywhere it seemed. But it was on the Synthax stand that I learned (somewhat late in the day!) that RME had put together an AVB to USB3 interface the Digiface AVB. Now some time has passed since the box was previewed and there is as yet no sign of a product but certainly AVB users on Windows everywhere would I’m sure rejoice at the opportunity to get themselves a slice of AVB pie. Because currently you can plug an AVB device into your average Mack (as long as it has Thunderbolt) and all the AVB goodness appears as if by magic. And as if by dark magic – you can’t do that on a Windows machine – you need an interface of some sort.
But I hear you ask, ‘Would they really rejoice? What will they plug into an AVB interface anyway?’ Good question – well the first answer is of course a nice AVB interface from MOTU but how about one of Presonus’s brand spanking new StudioLive rack mixers. So now two of the biggest players in audio interfaces have AVB product and RME have an interest. And how about getting some of the world’s best mic amps hooked up direct to your laptop?
Swiss location company Sonosax have an eight channel mic amp for their SX-R4+ recorder that has an optional AVB interface board. Now Sonosax have a reputation for making some of the best mic amps on the planet, many many major film projects are recorded with Sonosax mic amps. And it would seem that MacOS users can enjoy blockbuster sound at an appropriately Top Gun price. But if you want the best you have to pay for it. And if RME come through with a Digiface AVB then Windows machine can tap into the same range of products.
I know one swallow doesn’t make a summer but I can’t help rooting for an underdog. AVB!