Axon Partners with TSL Professional Products’ Newly Acquired SoundField

Innovative solution to HD audio up-mixing: New module takes guess work out of stereo-to-5.1 up and down conversion Synapse DSF66

Netherlands–based Axon Digital Design has announced a new addition to its Synapse modular AV signal processing system. Developed in co-operation with SoundField, which was recently acquired by TSL Professional Products Ltd; the latest Synapse addition takes the form of a dual digital audio up-mixer and down-mixer based on SoundField algorithms.

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Designated DSF66, the device is a dual hardware stereo-to-5.1 up-mix and down-mix processor, designed for HD broadcasters who use archived stereo material and wish to generate high quality 5.1 broadcast mixes from stereo soundtracks.

This compact and highly energy efficient module offers a new and radically different solution to a long standing archived audio challenge. Software and hardware up-mixing tools have existed for some years, but most create material for the extra three channels in a 5.1 mix by employing processing. For example, they might add reverb or apply phase-shifts to the stereo material to create information for the rear surround channels. Instead, the DSF66 generates the material for the extra channels by closely analyzing the source stereo signal over time. Using a unique SoundField algorithm developed for the purpose, the DSF66 can detect reverberant content in the stereo signal, differentiate it from the direct sounds in the mix, and separate it out.

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“Axon’s design team has worked closely with our engineers in developing the DSF66,” commented Chris Exelby, Managing Director, TSL Professional Products Ltd.. “This product benefits from the specialist skills and experience of both teams and brings customers a completely new and innovative solution to the stereo-to-5.1up-mixing challenge.”

Users can adjust the details of the processing directly from the DSF66 GUI in Axon’s software-based monitoring and control platform, Cortex. This offers control over a variety of different parameters including the level of the direct and ambient components in the front and rear channels, and the divergence of the centre channel in the generated 5.1 mix, with options from a discrete centre channel at one extreme to a phantom centre at the other. Output level controls are also offered for each of the channels in the final 5.1 mix.

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The I/O configuration of the DSF66 can be changed to allow for convenient connection of external inputs, outputs or a combination. In standalone mode the DSF66 has 4 AES/EBU inputs and 4 AES/EBU outputs (8 mono in and 8 mono out). In (quad speed) ADD-ON mode the unit can be configured as 8in (16 mono in) or 8 out (16 mono out) to connect either 16 mono external source channels listen to 16 external channels in 8-out mode. If processing of embedded audio from a master card is required the unit can be used without physical I/O and all channels are routed from and to the Quad Speed Audio bus.

“This is our first co-development with SoundField and we are delighted with the end result,” commented Peter Schut, Chief Technology Officer at Axon. “Through a close working relationship we have created significant new functionality for our customers, and evolved a product that will extend our market reach. We look forward to our continuing close relationship with the team at SoundField and TSL Professional Products Ltd.”

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