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Radio Show: The Latest on Voltair

Steadman discusses recent upgrades and improvements to come

The makers of the Voltair watermark processor, 25-Seven Systems, steered clear of controversy at a packed session on the Radio Show floor Thursday afternoon. Speaking at “New Monitoring Capabilities for Measuring Watermark Quality,” Geoff Steadman, president of 25/Seven Systems, shared the latest developments in his processor with more than 100 engineers who jammed into the presentation.

Steadman didn’t take audience questions or discuss the ongoing Voltair/Nielsen dustup, instead sticking to an update on what’s new from his own side of the trenches. Last week, 25-Seven released version 2.0 of the Voltair firmware, with version 2.2 now in alpha test mode.

Steadman said the 2.2 version will include an analysis-only mode that will not affect Voltair’s audio output, but will allow stations to conduct ongoing analysis on how well Nielsen’s proprietary PPM encoders are succeeding at putting usable watermarks on a station’s audio. The new Voltair software will also include an enhanced ability to export encoding analysis data, a move Steadman says could enable larger groups to establish central monitoring facilities to ensure their encoding is working properly.

“We’re addressing two groups of listeners now with our audio,” Steadman noted, “humans and monitors” that are listening for PPM data. 25-Seven sister company Omnia is developing its own new presets for its .9 and .11 processors, Steadman said. They are designed to be “Voltair-aware” to provide the best possible audio environment in which encoding can function. Much of the crowd stayed put after Steadman’s noon session, awaiting a 1:30 p.m. encoding presentation from Nielsen.