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Leading the world of audio into the 21st century

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Published: 24 Sep 1999

First real-time multichannel audio Internet demo uses software developed at McGill by members of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Technical Committee on Network Audio Systems. NYU dancers will perform to live music by the McGill Swing Band acquired as a 5-channel audio signal and streamed across a high-performance network.

First real-time Multichannel Audio Internet demo, organized by NYU/McGill University, set for the 107TH AES Convention in NY City, NY.

On Sunday, September 26, NYU dance students will perform to music played by a McGill University band. This, however, will be no ordinary performance. From New York City, the NYU dancers will dance to live music by the McGill University Swing Band, direct from McGill University’s Redpath Hall in Montreal, Canada. The two performing groups will be brought together for the first real-time multichannel audio Internet transmission demonstration thanks to the technical wizardry of software developed at McGill University by a team comprised of several members of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Technical Committee on Network Audio Systems.

"This technology opens the way for people in entertainment, business, education, or research to collaborate live on line," said AES Technical Council Chair Wieslaw Woszczyk, a professor in McGill University’s Faculty of Music. "It will be much more appealing than the current teleconferencing telephone model because it will offer an experience more like a movie theatre. For collaborative musical performances and compositions over the Internet, it will be like a virtual classroom."

From a commercial standpoint, the software promises a world of possibilities. For instance, recording studios would be able to transmit recorded material from one side of the continent for mastering on the other side, or around the world. Universities might very well become the conduit for these high performance, high bandwidth transfers.

"The advanced university networks could provide an express train for data," said Professor Woszczyk. "The significant investment of time and research by both NYU and McGill University clearly illustrate the importance of advanced networking. We’re working on enhancing the continuity of data streams, something that’s very crucial to streaming and broadcasting information over the Internet."

The two real-time demonstrations will take place during the 107th AES Convention, September 24-27 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The Convention’s theme is "Advancing the Art of Sound - Leading the World of Audio Into the 21st Century." Professor Woszczyk and a team of colleagues from the Technical Committee on Network Audio Systems developed the demonstrations for an Advanced Networking Workshop, featuring the NYU dance students and the McGill University Swing Band, under the direction of McGill Professor Gordon Foote. The music will be acquired as a 5-channel audio signal and streamed to NYU across a high-performance network. Sound reproduction will be in the 300-seat cinema of the Cantor Film Center using its 5-channel sound system.

Both demonstrations will be identical, and each will feature two modes of multichannel transmission. Level 1 transmission of 48kHz, 16bit, AC-3 compressed (448kbs) audio will make use of existing encoding and decoding hardware provided by Dolby Labs. Level 2 transmission of 96kHz, 24bit, uncompressed (13Mbs) PCM audio will utilize encoding and decoding hardware currently in development by dCS, Ltd. (UK). The underlying software for the demos was developed at McGill University by a team comprised of several members of the AES Technical Committee on Network Audio Systems led by McGill Professor Jeremy Cooperstock. The collaboration of two national networking groups, CANARIE Inc. in Canada and Internet 2 Corporation in the U.S.A, was essential in creating this first international multichannel live audio transmission over the Internet.

DEMONSTRATIONS OF MULTICHANNEL AUDIO OVER THE INTERNET

Workshop: W13: ADVANCED NETWORKING

Demonstration 1) 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Demonstration 2) 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Cantor Film Center, New York University
36 East 8th St. (off University Street)
New York City

By invitation only. AES will provide transportation to and from the Cantor Film Center. Buses will be located outside the Javits Convention Center at 5:00 pm. Buses returning to the Javits Center will leave at 7:40 pm. Please note: AES will not provide transportation for Demonstration 2 at 7:30 pm.

McGill University Personnel:

Jeremy Cooperstock, Center for Intelligent Machines; Quan Nguyen, McGill Computing Center; Bruce Pennycook, Information Systems; Zack Settel, Music Technology; Wieslaw Woszczyk, Graduate Program in Sound Recording Staff, Multichannel Audio Research Laboratory (MARLab)

NYU Personnel:

Philip Galanter, Jeff Bary, and Sarah Drury, Art Technology Group, Academic Computing Facility; Robert Rowe, Music Technology Program; Bill Russell, Network Operations Center

Other participants:

Ted Hanss, Internet 2 Corp., Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA Peter Marshall, CANARIE Inc., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Mike Story and Duncan Mcleod, dCS Ltd., Great Chesterford, Saffron, UK Steve Vernon and David Watts, Dolby Laboratories, San Francisco, CA, USA

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