How Does AES70 Fit in the Studio? Think MIDI
author is a spokesperson for Wheatstone, which was part of the AES X210 task
force responsible for developing AES70.
audio network manufacturers have gone all out to develop complete studio
environments, some of which include everything from control surfaces and talent
stations to button panels and widget GUIs to
specialty I/O devices and processors.
systems are the backbone of the broadcast operation today because they provide
complete control and access of networked audio and gear in one seamless environment.
By building upon their respective audio network environments, manufacturers
have been able to expand on AoIP capabilities and lower the cost of operation
in many cases.
Integrating other devices and
networks beyond their own network environment, however, typically called for
Then AES67 came along and
provided a transport standard that all audio network manufacturers could use to
bring audio in and out of their networks. It is now more than two years
since AES67 was ratified, and the standard is gaining traction. It is available
in most of the popular IP audio networks and just recently, AES67 was adopted
as part of the TR-03 recommendation for HD-SDI-to-IP transition by the Video
Services Forum (VSF).
Still, without a control
standard, audio network manufacturers have been limited in their ability to
offer inter-platform audio network interoperability.
Now another standard has come along: AES70, which was ratified into
existence earlier this year by the Audio Engineering Society Standards
Committee (AESSC) as a rudimentary control standard for audio IP networking.
AES70 defines a scalable control-protocol architecture in three parts: a
mechanism framework, a control class structure, and a protocol implementation
for TCP/IP networks. (For more information, check out the newly published AES70-2015 standard for audio
applications of networks - Open Control Architecture.)
It is based on
the Open Control Architecture (OCA), which is
essentially a library of specific control functions such as ON/OFF, level
control, and similar functions that can facilitate control between third-party
devices and an existing network environment.
Whereas AES67 gave us a means to move audio signals from point A to point
B regardless of audio network brand, AES70 now promises to give us a
standard that will allow interoperable control between third-party devices and
elements of existing audio networks.
So, what does this mean to the seamless audio network
environment broadcasters have come to rely on today?
First, AES70 will not be adopted overnight. As with all standards, it will
take some time before AES70 can be integrated into the studio environment as it
is implemented and tested in real world scenarios. And it won’t supplant existing
audio IP networks, which will continue to function as complete operating
environments into the future. AES70 doesn’t change that. What it does is
add the ability to connect certain devices to those systems and provides some
basic control between them.
Think of AES70 as the
MIDI of broadcasting. Just as MIDI was developed as a standard by the music
industry to communicate how electronic instruments such as sequencers,
keyboards, and processors can control each other, AES70 was developed by audio
professionals to communicate basic commands and logic among devices and digital
tools in a typical studio environment.
goal in bringing about this standard is to provide users the means to
facilitate control between third-party equipment and existing audio
networks, which, when coupled with AES67, should offer greater studio
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