Avid at NAB 2019: Innovating a Definitive Immersive Audio Solution

By in Audio Post, Pro Mixing

In 2017, Avid announced a unique collaboration with Dolby that delivered native Atmos™ integration in Pro Tools | Ultimate. This deep integration was born out of an ongoing commitment between the two companies to deliver the best possible turnkey solution for mixing in Atmos.   

In recent years Dolby Atmos has become more than an emerging standard, it is the de facto standard for the next generation of film sound. Atmos-equipped theaters are now in cities across the world. And with the emergence of Atmos in theaters, it is also growing in popularity in home. Movies are now commonly mixed for immersive playback and popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime request 3D/object-based surround sound as their preferred deliverable.   

As immersive audio becomes ensconced, post facilities and professionals are challenged with staying ahead of the curveSession sizes are larger—by definition immersive formats require more tracks because there is a bigger soundscape to create. More I/O is needed—Atmos requires 128-channels into a Dolby renderer and then up to 64 channels to feed a canopy of speakers. As a result, many facilities need to monitor in multiple formats as well as scale to Atmos in rooms that are not purpose-built for immersive audiowhere acoustics and free space are a challenge.   

Integrations can easily become overcomplicated, infrastructure cumbersome, and systems difficult to maintain. But if you want to participate in the future of film and TV sound, you need pristine sound, unique flexibility, and lots of I/O. 

A more elegant solution

At NAB 2019, Avid will exhibit its fully integrated audio post solution for Dolby Atmos, comprised of Pro Tools | Ultimate, Pro Tools | S6, HDX, and MTRX. Together they form a complete, streamlined, end-to-end solution for delivering immersive audio mixes. 

 

The power of a single MTRX 

Pro Tools | MTRX is the essential centerpiece to the solution, with powerful all-in-one flexibility and 8 expansion card slots that augment its functionalityA completely maxed out MTRX enables an enormous amount of I/O in a single 2U rack space. And it can be configured with virtually any I/O format—from analog and digital I/O, to MADI, Dante, and DigiLink  

Its enormous capacity and customizability make it the perfect companion for audio post workflows that routinely require massive amounts of I/O for monitoring and rendering. Adding it to your system effectively streamlines what would have been a multi-device integration and delivers a flexible, EUCON-controllable routing solution entirely in the digital realm. 

 

Expand MTRX with option cards 

As post facilities are looking to adapt surround rooms for immersive mixing, precision room tuning is essential. The SPQ Speaker Processing option card, introduced last summer, enables precise control with 1,024 discrete filters across 128 channels per card—double the number needed to manage bass and EQ monitors in a 64 channel Atmos setup. Furthermore, it is the only speaker calibration solution that is fully integrated with an I/O device, eliminating the need for an additional I/O in your signal chain.

More recently the addition of the 128-Channel IP Audio Dante Card makes it possible to connect an HD System (or multiple systems) and any Dante networkWith the potential for up to 1,088 channels of Dante I/O on a single MTRX, you can interface with a myriad of Danteenabled devices, and leverage cost-effective Ethernet to connect multiple rooms together.   

 

A sneak peek at the DigiLink Option Card

MTRX’s base unit comes equipped with dual DigiLink ports, enabling 64 channels of I/O. With singlecard HDX systems, this is sufficient. However, multi-HDX and multi-workstation configurations require upwards of 64 channels of DigiLink I/O. Currently, these large systems must rely on multiple I/O devices to facilitate I/O for each HDX card.   

The 64-Channel DigiLink Option Card is a real game-changer, as Pro Tools can now properly access MTRX’s massive routing capability. It allows a single MTRX to interface with multiple HDX cards. Install up to 6 DigiLink option cards and you can connect multiple workstations to just one MTRX. The result is less hardware, less complication and lower costs. And it makes MTRX the workflow centerpiece and platform for all audio I/O, routing, monitoring, and speaker profile processing.

Where thDigiLink option card really shines, however, is in the application of Dolby AtmosCurrently, tget 128 channels from a multi-HDX system to a Dolby RMU, you’d need multiple MADI and/or Dante interfaces and MTRX to get signal to and from the RMU and to monitor speakers.   

But by making it possible to connect multiple Pro Tools systems to a single MTRX, a complex Atmos integration is instantly simpler, with fewer interfaces. 

To see our latest solutions for immersive audio and audio post workflows visit us at NAB 2019. 

Pro Tools | MTRX

Pro Tools | MTRX offers the superior sonic quality of DAD’s legendary AD/DA converters, plus extensive, flexible routing and monitor control when used standalone or with Avid Pro Mixing surfaces

As Pro Audio Market Solutions Manager I am focused on delivering the very best creative solutions for our customers working in music and audio post. I am passionate about creativity and technology - especially with regard to music, songwriting/storytelling, and the recording arts - and am fortunate to work closely with the products and people that define our industry.