Axia Livewire - The Telos Alliance

Axia Livewire - The Telos Alliance
First Look
Axia Livewire
xia’s Livewire is the latest in the
growing trend of networked audio.
Made to work on an existing
LAN/WAN or a private network,
Livewire comes in a variety of processing and
breakout boxes designed to provide maximum
flexibility in networked distributed audio.
The system is comprised of seven components (‘interface nodes’); an analog 8 x 8
terminal, router selector, AES/EBU terminal, microphone terminal, GPIO terminal,
mixed signal terminal and studio mix engine
as a first offering. The product ships with a
CD-ROM with over one hundred pages of
comprehensive information stemming from
audio specifications, to implementation, settings and a FAQ section.
Moving audio further along the Ethernet
evolutionary trail, Livewire aspires to leverage a facilities’ current network investment
using existing or inexpensive routers,
switches and hubs to achieve a flexible
facility–wide audio system, negating the
need for proprietary audio only hardware.
Along with audio, the Livewire system
employs XML for remote control and operation of equipment. And any PC-based
audio has the ability to connect directly to
the network allowing limitless possibilities
for multichannel broadcast and file manipulation. The system uses uncompressed audio
48 kHz/24-bit PCM encoding, and Axia
reports that their interface nodes have more
than a 100 dB dynamic range with a
<0.005% THD and a headroom of 24 dBu.
Using a system-wide synchronization clock,
the system provides input-to-output latency
of less than 3ms, including conversion time.
The system offers two data streams; Live
streams and Standard streams. The Live
streams are the small, fast packets and
require dedicated hardware to allow low
latency “live” monitoring of sources while
the standard streams using RTP/IP are used
to communicate with PC based audio applications where delay does not create a problem. By installing the PC application PC
Audio and Direct Connects Audio, and
deploying a few nodes, one can create a PCbased router control package which can be
centrally managed or in a wireless LAN,
from anywhere in the facility.
Let’s take a closer look at the nodes…
Each of the nodes is housed in a 1RU silverfaced box with I/O metering, status LEDs
and stepped control buttons.
The analog 8 x 8 node has eight balanced
inputs and outputs with more than 100dB
dynamic range, <0.005% distortion, headroom to +24 dBu. Software-controlled gain
lets you trim-adjust to accommodate different levels and provides front panel LED
audio level metering. The AES/EBU Node
has eight AES3 inputs and outputs. An input
can be used to sync your Livewire network
to your house AES clock, if desired. The
Microphone Node has eight microphone
inputs with high-grade preamps, phantom
power, and eight balanced line outputs. This
unit is intended mainly for on-air studios.
The Router Selector Node emulates the
function of traditional x-y audio router controller, but includes onboard input and output in both analog and AES3 digital forms.
The LCD presents a list of active audio
channels, which are selected with the adja-
cent knob. Programmable “radio buttons”
offer immediate access to often-used channels. This unit is intended for use of equipment room monitoring and production studio or newsroom audio interface. It can
also be used as a test instrument to check
and generate audio streams. The General
Purpose Input/Output Node (GPIO) is an
interface for parallel closures and has eight
DB-15 connectors, each with five inputs
and five outputs. It can be used to interface
to the control of CD players, delivery systems, on-air lights, or anything that uses a
simple parallel control. The SmartSurface
power supply also offers identical GPIO
The Studio Engine is a 2RU rackmounted processor designed to add console functions to a Livewire audio system. The processor performs all the mixing and signal
processing functions that are typically performed by an audio console. Axia is quick
Copyright 2004 JRS Publishing, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
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First Look
to point out that although the Livewirebased routing system can be used with any
traditional console, integration with the
Studio Engine brings many advantages and
is made to interface with the Telos
SmartSurface or any other Studio Engine
compatible control surface.
The Livewire Windows Suite is the software that is used to interface your PC audio
applications and the Livewire network.
There is an 8in/8 out driver that interfaces
8 inputs and 8 outputs and provides audio
transmit and receive and control functions.
The PC Router Selector application is an
interface that displays and selects Livewire
streams, a software version of the Router
Selector. The selected audio is sent to any
audio application that works with standard
Windows sound cards. The Preview function lets you listen directly without another
application. The Pathfinder PC router con- Livewire’s routing diagram
trol application developed in cooperation
As if this isn’t enough, the system’s
with Software Authority, is used to control a channel and name feature allows you to
distributed Livewire audio system as if you identify and name streams on as many as
were using a traditional centralized audio 32,767 channels. Text names can be up to 24
router. It’s a client-server type application in characters and will be the name that will
which the server communicates with all of appear on the Router Selector’s LCD.
the nodes The GUI looks easy to navigate Although many devices cannot show all the
and has the ability to create presets that can characters, most will truncate the name for
be easily stored and recalled.
display purposes. Although a number of
Copyright 2004 JRS Publishing, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
items can be programmed from the front
panel of the hardware nodes, the nodes’
detailed configuration tables are accessed
using a simple web browser. The node’s
webpages provide a point and click access
to parameters and setup information.
There have been many offerings lately
for networked audio, most of which work
on a closed network. Axia’s attempt at
using the existing LAN is something that
other systems such as telephone and security are already doing. We have already
raised the bar of high-definition audio with
192 kHz/24-bit converters. I would have
liked to see this resolution available on the
Axia product especially for studio use.
Hopefully we will continue to see a trend
in networked audio towards higher definition for increased resolution.
For more information contact Axia
Audio at 216-241-7225, www.axiaaudio.
Wayne Becker is vice president of sales
for Communication Systems, Inc. and has
worked in the pro audio and systems integration business for 23 years. He also owns
Westwires Digital USA, a music production
and consulting company based in
Allentown, Penn. He can be contacted at
[email protected]
Reprinted from Pro Audio Review
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