Every vendor at the NAB Show has a niche – a specific customer market it’s aiming for – and yesterday I had the privilege of meeting with two companies that are going for quite different markets.
First I met with Kevin Emmott, marketing manager at Calrec. What they had to offer were some serious, high-end digital audio consoles, most notably the new Apollo console. Despite the shaky economic climate, Emmott had the utmost confidence in Calrec’s client base and equipment. And when asked if the economy had led to any changes as to the company’s presence at the NAB Show he responded casually that if anything their presence had grown – upward, that is, with the addition of a taller, more prominent branded marquis.
As to the Apollo, he said that it developed organically and in direct response to customer feedback, and it has features that provide the power professionals demand. The new console features an updated version of the company’s Bluefin technology – appropriately dubbed Bluefin2. Here’s the rundown, because I know it’s just want you’re looking for:
At 48kHz operation, Apollo provides up to 1020 channel-processing paths, 128 program busses, 96 IFB/track outputs and 48 auxiliaries. At 96kHz, it offers 510 channel-processing paths, 64 program busses, 48 IFB/track outputs and 24 auxiliaries. It also features OLED displays, touch screens and light-emitting knobs. In addition, Calrec has partnered with Riedel to integrate its Artist intercom system directly into the Apollo console.
Later, I had the pleasure of meeting with someone who, from what I could tell, was quite possibly the happiest guy at the show. Seriously, 360 Systems’ founder Robert Easton was all smiles. Why? Because he knows his customer and he knows his place in the market. He put the greatest emphasis on the fact that his company was specifically targeting midmarket broadcasters, colleges/universities, high schools, etc. And, according to Easton, he had so much foot traffic through his booth that he wasn’t able to talk to everyone.
The big fuss was all about the MAXX-1200HD and 2400HD broadcast video servers. Easton said that based on customer feedback, 360 released these cost-effective servers based on the response that customers were willing to pay a certain price per channel, and they didn’t want all the bells and whistles some larger-market competitors were offering, which obviously come with their price.
The 1200 system features one channel of video input and three out; HD-SDI and SMPTE292M I/O; three-channel composite video SD monitoring ouput; JPEG2000 video encoding to 125Mb/s; and eight-channels of SMPTE 299M-compliant HD embedded audio per video channel. As the bigger brother to this system, the 2400 offers two channels of video input and four channels of output; four simultaneous video streams; JPEG2000 encoding to 130Mb/s; and eight channels of SMPTE 299M SDI embedded audio.