Cardinal Peak Team Member Honored With Technology & Engineering Emmy Award

With technological advances propelling the development of state-of-the-art audio equipment, so many innovations are coming to the commercial audio industry that it can be difficult to determine which new methods and devices actually matter and what is just a trendy flash in the pan.

Enter Cardinal Peak’s audio expertise.

Earlier this year, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced the recipients of the 71st Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy® Awards, with Cardinal Peak consultant Kevin Gross earning recognition for his efforts that ultimately produced the AES67 standard in 2013.

“It’s exciting,” Gross said. “Everybody knows what an Emmy is, I assume they know I’m not a TV star.”

An audio engineer his entire career, Gross began focusing on audio networking in the mid-1990s. From Disney theme parks to Super Bowl halftime shows, it’s important that audio streams are synchronized and high quality so that they can be mixed together in real time to create the final program output that, well, sounds clean and beautiful.

While audio transport improved with the advent of digital technology and the ability to fit 64 channels onto a pair of wires, many different, noninteroperable ecosystems for audio transport eventually imposed themselves on the market — until the development of synchronized multichannel uncompressed audio transport over IP networks.

Despite the fact that many companies eventually created — and users adopted — individual high-performing and synchronized systems that leveraged IP for transport, those proprietary solutions struggled to communicate with one another. To remedy this, Gross reached out to contact all these disparate companies on the cutting edge to gauge their collective interest in a standard that allows easy communication between various ecosystems.

From these discussions, Gross pioneered the effort to create the AES67 standard and was the editor of what was eventually published in 2013. AES67 is a technical standard that defines an interoperability mode for transport of high-performance audio over networks based on the internet protocol (IP).

Developed within the Audio Engineering Society (AES), with important contributions from co-winners ALC NetworX, Audinate, QSC, Telos Alliance and Wheatstone and others, the standard provides comprehensive interoperability recommendations in the areas of synchronization, media clock identification, network transport, encoding and streaming, session description and connection management. Compliance with the standard allows audio content interoperability between proprietary IP-based audio networking protocols.

Thanks to Gross’ contributions to this Emmy-winning technology, broadcast facilities today expect to be able to set up a network and just plug all of their audio devices into it — and they expect these devices to work with one another on a basic level. AES67 enables smooth audio exchange between existing ecosystems, such as Dante, Livewire, RAVENNA and Q-LAN, with as little performance penalty as possible. So, instead of moving wires around, the network switch just communicates:

  • which individual device(s) to listen to
  • which device(s) to talk to over the network in order to make audio connections

Today, all major ecosystems provide at least some degree of AES67 interoperability, which directly benefits end users because they can choose a device from almost any vendor of IP-based audio and connect it to their network using AES67. Seeing wide adoption and its use as the basis for other standards, AES67 is delivering the open audio-networking experience of the future.

Earning this Emmy award is a wonderful recognition and reinforces Gross’ belief that having networked things talk to each other is valuable to all parties involved.

“Making a great system that works standalone is wonderful,” he said. “But it’s even better to have a more open system that can work with other systems so that people building TV studios and other infrastructure have more choices in how they put the pieces together to solve their problems.”

While the Emmy is focused on audio interoperability, Gross, Cardinal Peak and the rest of the industry have turned its focus to similar video applications. Networks continue to become more capable, and technology has been extended, also in an interoperable way, to deliver very high-quality video.

The fact that video has progressed down a similar path further reinforces the technical viability of the Emmy-winning technology, cementing the notion that that networking is the future for these types of systems.

If you have questions about how to convert from older systems to the new networked way of incorporating high-quality audio and video, connect with us! Experts in commercial and consumer audio applications, as well as digital video, you can trust Cardinal Peak to bring your innovations to market quickly.