It’s a MAD, MAD, MADI World

It’s a MAD, MAD, MADI World

MADI MADI_MADI_WORLD_2560Who can tell us what MADI stands for? Anyone?

We hear crickets.

MADI’s been around for a long time, so it’s understandable if you have forgotten what this acronym actually stands for (which is, Multichannel Audio Digital Interface, also known as AES10).

But, don’t lose track of how useful MADI can be to broadcasters. The list is fairly long, and getting longer. After all, there are very few alternatives for sending up to 64 channels of digital audio (48kHz sample) over one 75-ohm coaxial cable. Not only does this digital audio routing standard by AES make it possible to send a lot of channels through hundreds of feet of cable, it delivers lossless audio through all those channels. That lends itself to some practical applications.

For example, you can interface your console system to a DAW using MADI. This would allow you to send 32 channel direct outputs to a MADI equipped PC interface for record inputs and send 32 playback channels from the DAW back to your console for mixdown, all over one MADI send/receive pair.

Most major intercom manufacturers are now including a MADI port on their systems. This means that sending multiple mix minuses from your console system to the intercom for IFB just got a whole lot easier. Again, one MADI connection replaces what used to be multiple tielines.

MADI is essentially a serial digital audio interface for transmitting 32, 56 or 64 channels of uncompressed digital audio at a sampling frequency between 32 kHz and 96 kHz, at a resolution of up to 24 bits per channel and at a basic data rate of 100 Mbps.

Not only does MADI make it possible to send several audio channels serially down one cable, it can act as a common transport mechanism between two systems that use different native formats.

For example, a lot of the first generation pro audio mixers and some routers were built based on TDM, and MADI gives the users of these systems a convenient, reliable way of crossing over into IP audio networking. Broadcasters who have our Wheatstone TDM router system and want to seamlessly add on our IP audio network do so through a MADI I/O BLADE, which is an IP access unit for our WheatNet-IP audio network. They hook into BNC connectors in the MADI BLADE for the coaxial format. An SFP transceiver slot is for fiber optic connectivity, which is generally used for longer runs (say, up to 2000 feet).

We also know broadcasters who use MADI to interface their Wheatstone console/router system to their existing Evertz or Grass Valley routing system.

We see a lot of TDM-MADI-IP audio integration in facilities that share studios and sources between their television and radio stations, and also in broadcast facilities that are consolidating stations or purchasing new stations and bringing them into their facility. The transition to IP based audio systems has been very prevalent in radio facilities, while TV infrastructure has been largely HD/SDI based. MADI can provide a convenient interface between newer IP systems and the TV oriented TDM /HD/SDI based systems.

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