TFWM: Without giving away any magical secrets, can you explain a little bit about how your proprietary A-Net™ audio distribution technology operates?
Craig Sibley: While it all seems magic to me, Aviom’s protocol is optimized for audio distribution and was specifically developed with audio transmission in mind. The engineers and founders of Aviom set out to develop a new protocol and A-NET was born. While we built on the physical layer of Ethernet (which allowed us to use cheap, off the shelf CAT-5 cable), we were able to eliminate standard Ethernet setbacks. One of the big advantages we have over standard Ethernet is that A-NET “streams” info packets making it lightning fast. Also, we’ve eliminated unnecessary code for audio transmission (such as TCP-IP addressing and other “computer dude” stuff). PRO-16 is our first generation protocol and is still the best choice for simple “audio snake” applications.
Based on what we learned with PRO-16, we’ve developed a new ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit). We call this new protocol PRO-64 and our new products equipped with this chip allow full “networking”. Basically audio can now be accessed anywhere in a facility. This is accomplished by simply “tuning in” a channel slot… where audio can be received and output at any output module… regardless of the topology or where it originated from! Higher channel count, less latency, full duplex capabilities, extremely low clocking jitter/wander, the ability to lock to an external clock or act as a master clock, variable sample rate frequencies (44.1 to 192 kHz)… not to mention 14 slots of control over RS232, GPIO and MIDI (should I go on?!?!), I think you can see that PRO-64 seriously takes audio distribution up a notch!
TFWM: How does a church go about incorporating your personal monitoring systems; are there major technology upgrades necessary?
CS: That’s the beauty of an Aviom personal monitor solution… it works seamlessly with your current system! In the past, if you wanted to use “in ear headphones” you needed to buy a separate monitor console or put up with the limitations of your FOH console. All in all, it usually worked out to be a very frustrating experience. Unfortunately I’ve heard many folks say that they gave up with ear buds altogether because of these limitations. But now, with the simple addition of an input module or digital card, and an AN-16II mixer for band member is all that’s necessary. I like to say that Aviom is the “unifying technology”. Also, due to Aviom’s “Plug and Play” simplicity, a church can install a system in one day during the week, and use it the very next Sunday.
TFWM: Have you been receiving specific requests from church users that are driving new product development for the future?
CS: Churches have requested the ability to access more than 16 channels on their mixers. What most folks don’t know is that this can already be done by “sub-mixing” and is a very common expansion application with our products.
In addition, there are a number of Pro-64 products slated that unfortunately; I’m not at liberty to divulge at this point (ooooh… secret stuff!!!!)
One of the most exciting developments is that you‘ll see Aviom integrated on more and more products from other manufacturers soon. We’re selling the Pro-64 chip so that these manufacturers can have an A-Net port right on the back of their products (in a similar fashion that there are currently Aviom digital cards currently available for Yamaha, DigiCo and Innovason digital consoles). I understand that there are numerous companies already in dialog with us who are very excited about this potential integration!
Some of the other products you can look forward to are remote controlled mic pre’s and a handy little format converter that will allow you to use Pro-64 products completely and seamlessly with current Pro-16 products.
TFWM: Being that it’s Aviom’s fifth anniversary in 2007, what have some of the milestones been over the course of the company’s history?
CS: Some key milestones have been development of our Pro-16 ASIC, partnerships with companies like Yamaha, DigiCo and Innovason and, most recently, the shipping of the long-awaited Pro-64 platform, which is going to change the way audio is distributed and networked in a variety of markets. Aviom is an exciting place to be these days.