Some Say AES67 Doesn't Go Far Enough

AES67 ImageWe knew we'd get the question and we did, just hours after AES67 was ratified. A few of our more astute broadcast customers asked the obvious: Why should they be concerned about interoperability standards when their WheatNet-IP audio-over-IP system is a virtual ecosystem extending from one end of his studio facility to the other, including all elements, I/O, automation and studio control?

Our response is simply this: We can build an entire ecosystem from the microphone on out to the processing with WheatNet-IP, but there are some peripherals out there that are using traditional AES and analog to get in and out of the system. We think it would be nice to be able to integrate those into the WheatNet-IP ecosystem if desired.

That's why Wheatstone engineers were involved in the AES-X192 group that developed the new AES67 standard, which was ratified in September as an important first step toward a totally integrated studio environment. And, that's why we are pushing for additional interoperability control and discovery standards that will make it possible not only to move audio signals around, but also to get logic control across the network so broadcasters can continue to control their studio gear as they've done all along through WheatNet-IP.

As it is, the AES67 standard addresses the audio transport mechanism and mainly the clocking scheme needed for interoperability to happen; it defines how audio is going to get from one box to another box in the network. But as our astute broadcasters already observed, WheatNet-IP broadcasters are going to need more, a lot more in order to incorporate all studio equipment into that control layer for which the WheatNet-IP system is known. They need interoperability standards that will also bring along routing control, the logic necessary to turn sources on or off, set processing parameters and gain, or for any number of other controls that our WheatNet-IP ecosystem now offers broadcasters.

We're working on it. AES67 in its current form is just the first of what we envision as a complete body of interoperability protocols to bring automation, satellite, codecs and mics to the console as well as to control devices, sources and destinations.

"Ultimately, in the long run, having AoIP standards is an advantage [because] just as when you buy a car for instance, you're buying a system of transportation. You get in it, you drive it, it's got a motor and it's got a transmission and it's got a differential and wheel bearings and all the parts that it needs to get you where you want to go. But mainly you interact with it as one thing, your car, and you don't need to worry about how to make all the pieces work together," explained Andrew Calvanese, Wheatstone VP of Engineering.

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