NAB 2015 Sneak Peek: Audio


This year’s NAB is just around the corner, and I can assure you the halls here at B&H are hustlin’ and a bustlin’ in anticipation. There’s no doubt about the categories that are the stars of the show, but the audio geeks here know NAB is also a showcase for cool new audio gear. While it does not start until Monday the 13th, here’s a sneak peak at some of the gear that we’re looking forward to seeing.

iZotope is using this year’s NAB to stretch its legs further into the post-production and broadcast end of the audio plug-in world with the announcement of RX Loudness Control. Differentiating itself from a wealth of other loudness monitoring and measurement tools already on the market, RX Loudness Control analyzes your audio and renders a compliant filter along with accompanying .CSV-formatted loudness report, all in faster-than-real time.

The crew at Rycote never fails to disappoint, with innovative designs aimed at reducing microphone noise in the field. The company’s recently announced Cyclone windshield and shockmount system sees the company taking a new design approach. Its 3D-Tex material was created to reduce wind noise to a point that a fur cover is unnecessary. A magnetic locking system allows you to access your microphone one-handed, and it features a Mogami output cable fitted with a gold-pin Neutrik XX XLR connector. It provides acoustic transparency while reducing environmental noise.

Lectrosonics continues to pack its impressive wireless performance and technology into smaller packages, as is proven by the newly announced SSM (Super Slight Micro) bodypack transmitter. It is part of this company’s Digital Hybrid Wireless series, and as such is compatible with all current Lectronsonics receivers. Coming in at just 2.52 x 1.48 x 0.57", the transmitter has an all-metal housing and a LEMO 3-pin connector for compatibility with many lavalier and headset microphones.

Schoeps is one of the most respected names in microphones, both for studio and ENG/video production, so when this manufacturer releases something new, it is worth taking notice. The HSC 4VXS headset microphone will be displayed at this year’s NAB, and is likely to draw the attention of sportscasters and commentators alike. It features Schoeps’s CCM 4VXSLg microphone (tuned with a steep bass roll-off) on a gooseneck, which is attached to a pair of Ultrasone HFI 680 headphones. As you’d expect from Schoeps, the headset provides clear intelligibility with the added benefit of noise rejection, thanks to the microphone’s polar pattern.

Audio-Technica announced the BP40 large diaphragm dynamic broadcast microphone, which promises “condenser-like sound” along with a multistage windscreen. The company has also let the cat out of the bag that the popular AT2020USB microphone will be seeing an update, to the AT2020USBi, and will now include a Lightning connector for connecting directly to compatible iOS devices.

Sound Device’s 688 is lining itself up to be the company’s new flagship portable mixer and recorder and will, no doubt, be on many sound person’s list of things to see at NAB. Supplying you a whopping 12 analog inputs (six mic/line inputs, six line inputs) and four digital inputs, the mixer records to SD and CompactFlash cards in WAV files up to 192 kHz, as well as MP3s. Sound Device’s MixAssist auto-mixer program can be active on the 12 analog inputs, and the device boasts a two-second power-on to record time.

As cameras continue to get smaller and smaller, we are going to need smaller-framed shotgun mics that can still deliver. Azden’s SGM-250 is geared for just that, and is making its debut at the show. At only 250mm in length, the mic’s features are fairly straightforward, but Azden managed to squeeze in a selectable low-cut filter and provide enough room to house a AA battery for power (it can also by powered by 48V from a mixer). It includes a shockmount and windscreen, and is clearly aimed at the run-and-gun crowd.

Microphone stalwarts DPA will be unveiling a new d:facto handheld interview microphone. Details so far are on the light side, but it is reported to have a rubber shockmount that separates the capsule from the handle, along with a triple-stage pop filter. Like all DPA mics, it is tuned to deliver clean and uncolored audio. Be sure to check back at B&H during NAB for more details.

Stay tuned for videos right from the NAB floor with our very own Rob Rives, who will be getting his hands on this gear and more that is unveiled in Las Vegas.

Information contained within is subject to change without notice; please check in for our continuing coverage beginning April 13.