Close ☰
Menu ☰

Rob Speight – the speed of sound

Posted on: Thursday 23rd of July 2020

If I was to say to you US Robotics, would you think of a killer autonomous dog or something that squealed more like a cat being put through a mincer? Or if I was to mention an acoustic coupler would it bring to mind someone who shouts; “Switch!” at a speed dating event or something that looks more like a cosy place to rest your old school analogue phone?


How much data did you chuck around last month? For me personally it was over 500GB up and down, and I’m just talking about audio work. That doesn’t include Playstation, streaming or on demand video. Can you imagine doing that on a 56k modem? (Kids… Google it). Well you don’t have to because I am going to tell you. It would have taken 22,885 hours, 35 minutes and 14 seconds or 955 days plus change — so just time for another bath, then.


How lucky we are that we were locked-down in 2020, as even in 1999 broadband wasn’t available in the UK, the first install being a year later in Basildon, Essex. In 1999 the UK still only had a mean download speed of 22.37Mbps, which would mean my 500Gb would still take over 50 hours to receive… uploading – don’t even go there!


Basically, we have lots to be thankful for, and even more so with the raft of software that, although some of it may have been around for a while, is now really coming into its own.


Global data connections

Many of us have used or been aware of Source Element’s Source Connect with the software practically become an industry IP replacement for ISDN. With its Remote Transport Sync and automatic dropout replacement, AAX, RTAS, AU and VST support, audio engine and codec sample rates of up to 192kHz and 48kHz respectively, up to 7.1 surround and the ability to tunnel through VPN it is easy to see why it has been widely accepted. Of course, all this comes at a price, but Source Elements have recently introduced a subscription model to all of its products on a month-to-month basis.

Another less well-known ISDN replacement, with extra bells and whistles, include SessionLinkPro, which is very similar but supports sync video or bi-directional webcam broadcast. However, in the true sense of the word, neither of the two aforementioned packages are true ISDN replacements in so much as they don’t allow you to connect to a standard hardware-based ISDN box. ipDTL from In:Quality however does. Supporting all the ISDN hits including MPEG LII, G722, AAC LD, AAC 128 and MPEG L3 128 it also provides IP codecs including OPUS, & iLBC. It is a reasonably priced subscription model and requires no hardware. In addition, it is also possible to get a dedicated ‘phone number’ so your clients can call you.


If IP codecs are your thing, and you need to connect to existing hardware boxes the SIP Audio also from In:Quality offers a multitude of options. Connect to Comrex, Tieline, Prodys, Luci Live, ipDTL, Digigram, AETA… the list goes on. You can buy their hardware for a couple of hundred dollars or for the more adventurous build your own with a Raspberry Pi!


Move your audio

Another tool I have found extremely useful, especially for getting sign-offs or versioning is from Audiomovers in the form of Listento. This Mac/Windows plugin also comes in all desirable flavours and allows you to stream your DAW session in real-time and with extremely low latency up to 32-bit PCM or AAC320. As part of the deal, Audiomovers also give you a Listento Receiver which suddenly makes the software extremely flexible. Now you can put multiple receivers into a session and have multiple people connect to you on individual tracks. Setup some mix minuses, if you’re feeling fancy some talkback, and the sky is the limit. If you need a non-audio person to listen to your stream all you need to do is to generate a link within the plugin, hit Start Transmission and send them the link. It will open in a browser and receive the same high quality audio as if you were using the plugin.

I recently reached out to Thomas Dalton in Brighton, England, whose audio post production company, Brown Bear Audio, has built its reputation on remote audio post since its inception in 2012. I asked Dalton how the global lockdown has affected the amount of work the company has received: “We’ve had an increase in inquiries and actual bookings from it. Straight away voiceover and ADR sessions began getting booked in for talent that usually travels to London. The artists can no longer travel, or don’t want to travel, and so production companies are scrambling around trying to find local studios to get this work done.”


After using Source Connect for some time Brown Bear has recently migrated to Evercast: “It’s a professional streaming platform for video editors and sound people who need to stream their timeline and audio – 1080p HD image and up to 320Kbps audio,” Dalton explained. The system also provides simultaneous video conferencing (on a separate stream) and latency of only 200ms. “It’s pretty revolutionary, but it’s not cheap at all. It’s incredibly expensive. But it’s about trying to give clients the best experience,” Dalton said.


So other than a virulent disease rampaging across the planet what have you got to complain about? Working from home has never been easier and you never have to deal with another human face to face again, except for maybe your partner, but life is never perfect…–bt–openreach-and-other-major-milestones.html

Latest News & Blog articles

  • DPA have announced the 4055 Kick Drum Microphone, a new condenser microphone designed specifically for use on… kick drums. Recording engineers finally get a quality (and affordable) condenser alternative to their old-school dynamics! Rigorously tested to perform in a variety of applications and suited for use both live and in the studio, the company have […]
  • Previously available only on the Mac, CEDAR Audio is extending the use of its CEDAR Studio 9 to the PC. This is the latest version of the company’s audio processing and restoration suite for AAX Native, VST2, VST3 and AU formats, and includes the latest version of Retouch with its machine-learning Matching and AI-driven Repair capabilities. Pension-off […]
  • Genelec have released version 4.2 of their GLM loudspeaker management software, also introducing a new 9301B multi-channel AES/EBU interface. Aimed at making the configuration and management of Genelec’s Smart Active Monitoring systems even more comprehensive, the manufacturer says these two new additions provide a scaleable and cost effective approach to creating immersive monitoring systems with […]
  • Neve has launched the 88M, their first Dual Mic Preamp and USB Audio Interface, at the NAMM show 2022. Using the same transformer-balanced technology as Neve’s flagship large-format 88RS, the Burnley-based AMS Neve says the 88M “brings the legendary sound of AIR, Abbey Road and Capitol Studios into your home and portable studio setup”. Chief […]
  • The Solo6 and Twin6 are new versions of the powered speakers that made their debuts some 15 years ago, with the new models designed to offer more detail and greater transparency. These improvements have been enabled by improved transducer designs, new amplifiers, and a structurally enhanced cabinet, with the monitors also incorporating features from Focal’s Trio11 […]
  • Spatial Mic Dante is a completely new 360 microphone that opens up applications like broadcast, live sound, theatre production, house of worship and anywhere Dante audio networking can streamline workflows. “Since the release of Spatial Mic USB in 2019, spatial audio pioneers have enjoyed the flexibility of single wire connectivity, highly configurable output and light […]
  • The first in-person TEC Awards since 2020 saw winners announced across 21 technical excellence and seven creative excellence categories. Yes… there was Californian wine and song, extravagant hairstyles (Dorian – but certainly not Gray) and creative awards for musicians who won Grammys before you were born. For only the second time in TEC history, three […]
  • Five-time GRAMMY-winning mix engineer Chris Lord-Alge has upgraded Studio A at his MIX L.A. complex for Dolby Atmos work, facilitated by an interface and converter infrastructure based on Focusrite RedNet components. The Dante-networked RedNet setup helps interconnect two Avid Pro Tools workstations and a new 9.1.4 Ocean Way Audio speaker system with Lord-Alge’s beloved Solid […]
Translate »