The Sonarae Audio Monitor Controller has been designed to simplify the task of monitoring multichannel audio in the nonlinear edit suite. Sonarae provides all of the key features needed to monitor all current surround sound formats as well as multichannel, multilingual soundtracks.
The Sonarae system is comprised of a 1RU audio processor and a desktop remote control panel. A software GUI is also available. The GUI may be used in lieu of, or in addition to the hardware control panel.
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The system has provisions for two sets of 16-channel (8 AES) inputs: main and preview. Typically, the main inputs are used for the nonlinear edit system. The preview inputs are used for a second device such as a stem recorder.
A third 2-channel (single AES) input is provided for test purposes. This input may be fed by an internally-generated 400Hz or 1kHz tone, or by an external test generator.Input selection is performed using a set of 3 pushbuttons.
Channel and Format Selection
The selected input is routed to a 16x2 channel selection and summing matrix. This matrix is controlled using a set of 32 pushbuttons. These are organized in two groups of 16 pushbuttons, each of which corresponds to one of the 16 channels in the selected input. The two groups of pushbuttons correspond to the system’s left and right output channels.
Using these pushbuttons, the operator may monitor individual channels or groups of channels as desired. Due to the unique design of the summing matrix, multiple channels may be selected to listen to a stereo downmix of surround sound material. Special summing algorithms ensure that the proper level is maintained at the output of the summing matrix.
For ease of use, the summing matrix includes a set of 3 pushbuttons that allow the operator to recall pre-configured matrix presets for 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 surround sound formats. Additional pushbuttons are provided to allow the user to set up, store, and recall his own custom preset.
A dedicated MONO pushbutton is provided to allow the operator to easily check any material for mono compatibility.
Level and Delay Adjustment
A large rotary control is provided to adjust the level of the main monitor outputs. This control is equipped with a unity calibration indicator that allows the operator to quickly return to a known monitor volume setting. The Sonarae instruction manual includes a procedure for calibrating the main monitor loudspeakers.
There are 3 pushbuttons associated with the main monitor level control: DIM 1, DIM 2, and MUTE. The DIM pushbuttons attenuate the main monitor output level by 6dB or 12dB, and the MUTE pushbutton completely mutes the main monitor output. The MUTE function may also be activated by an external contact closure such as a foot switch.
A separate rotary control is provided to adjust the level of the headphone output.
The Sonarae system includes built-in adjustable delay to compensate for picture monitor latency. Delay settings range from zero to 9.5 frames in half-frame increments.
The basic Sonarae processor has both AES and analog main monitor outputs. A pre-level AES output is also provided; this would typically be used to drive a set of level indicators. Optional plug-in submodules may be added to the basic processor to provide a set of pre-level analog outputs and a second set of post-level analog outputs.
An analog headphone output is provided on the Sonarae control panel.
Sonarae in the Edit Suite
Installing the Sonarae Audio Monitor Controller is simple and straightforward. The pictorial block diagram below illustrates a typical system configuration.
In this example, the audio metering device and the powered loudspeakers are being driven by analog outputs on the Sonarae system. Meters and powered loudspeakers that accept AES inputs may also be used.
The following examples illustrate how the Sonarae system may be used to simplify the task of monitoring multichannel audio in the nonlinear edit suite.
In the first example, the program that is being edited has stereo soundtracks for 3 different languages. These soundtracks are mapped as follows:
AES 1A/1B – Main Language
AES 2A/2B – Second Language
AES 3A/3B – Third Language
Using the pushbuttons that control the 16x2 summing matrix, the operator may quickly and easily select any of the 3 languages as illustrated below.
In the second example, the program that is being edited has a 5.1 channel surround soundtrack. The individual channels in this soundtrack are mapped as follows (per SMPTE 320M):
AES 1A – Left
AES 1B – Right
AES 2A – Center
AES 2B – LFE
AES 3A – Left Surround
AES 3B – Right Surround
In order to monitor this soundtrack using the stereo speakers in the edit suite, the operator simply selects the 5.1 preset on the Sonarae control panel. This will recall the pre-configured 16x2 summing matrix settings that are required to produce a stereo downmix of the 5.1 channel soundtrack.
The illustration below shows the appearance of the control panel and a simplified block diagram of the signal flow when the 5.1 preset is selected.
Since the 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 presets are user-configurable using the optional GUI software, channel mapping may be changed as required to support different standards or preferences. For example, the operator may choose to either include or exclude the LFE channel from the downmix.
The optional GUI is provided as a software package that is designed to run on a Windows-based PC. The GUI provides a virtual replica of the control panel, and it may be used in addition to or in lieu of a hardware control panel.
The GUI may be installed on a dedicated or networked PC. The software may be configured to access multiple Sonarae systems.
|Graham-Patten Systems, Inc.