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Calrec aims to give multi-console operations momentum with ImPulse

ImPulse is "probably the most powerful DSP you can buy," Calrec's Henry Goodman tells TVBEurope

At NAB 2022, Calrec is aiming to showcase how it is helping broadcasters to stay ahead as they switch to IP infrastructures.

At its stand, the company will be running three independent consoles from a fully redundant pair of ImPulse cores; a 48 dual fader Apollo console, a 40 fader Artemis console and a headless console running Calrec Assist on a PC.

ImPulse is the company’s audio digital signal processing and processing engine with AES67 and SMPTE ST2110 connectivity and support for NMOS discovery and connection management. It is described as “probably the most powerful DSP you can buy,” by Calrec’s director of product development, Henry Goodman.

“We can control over 4,000 channels of audio with this one device,” he tells TVBEurope. “One of the things that we’re showing at NAB is how you can divide that processing up into chunks so that you can run multiple consoles on the same hardware. Instead of running a single console with 4,000 channels, you can run four individual consoles, each with 1,000 channels, 1,500 paths on each console.”

ImPulse is aimed at broadcasters who have multiple studios within their facilities and are looking to increase the number of studios or consoles they want to use. “Our DSP licences allow them to buy another licence and add another console,” explains Goodman. “It’s a step towards virtualising that processing engine if you like.

On the stand at NAB, we will actually be running three of the consoles from the same DSP processing engine. In fact, it will be a pair of processing engines because we have this system of redundancy. So if you have one engine that detects a failure or whatever, it’ll automatically swap to the secondary, which is also quite critical because if you’ve got to put all your consoles into one device, you want some security in terms of what happens if that goes wrong.”

While the ImPulse core itself isn’t new, the software enabling multiple consoles on one core is new for NAB 2022.

It was developed as part of, excuse the pun, the core concept of the ImPulse core,” says Goodman. “We had to design the ImPulse core right from the very start with this in mind. So in a way it’s taken us as long as it took to design the ImPulse core, which is probably about three years.”

One of the key functionalities of ImPulse is its ability to be used remotely, and at NAB Calrec will be introducing a new application which runs on the Impulse core, called Assist. “It is an online application that lives in the core, and is web served from the core,” explains Goodman. “So if you want to remotely control your console, you just dial in through an IP address into the core and you use a standard Chrome browser and you can control the console from any computer anywhere.”

Remote production isn’t something that’s new to Calrec, in fact it’s been working with the technology for a number of years. “It’s amazing how remote production has moved on since those early days because back then we were talking to people like Pac-12 Network in the States and they were very much leading the way with remote production for more niche type sports, a lot of college sports, a lot of things like water polo and stuff that never really gets broadcast on the main channels,” explains Goodman. “We spent quite a lot of time talking with them about their requirements. Our RP1 remote production solution was very much designed around those smaller scale productions at the time, but now it’s getting used at the Olympics and Premier League football, all sorts of stuff that we hadn’t envisaged it would be used for. It’s been quite quite a success story for us.

“The pandemic has basically given broadcasters free rein to experiment, to try and keep things going and they have found ways of doing things that they probably wouldn’t have pushed along as quickly.”