An Audio Technology Update
The audio industry has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, just like most other industries. However, there are indications that the industry is starting to pick up, and there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.
One of the challenges facing the audio industry is the availability of audio analog to digital conversion circuits. These circuits are essential for converting analog audio signals into digital signals that can be processed by computers and other digital devices. Fortunately, the supply of these circuits is starting to improve, which is good news for audio manufacturers.
Another important development in the audio industry is the availability of Dante Ultimo 3 Chips. These chips are used for audio networking and are essential for building high-quality audio systems. The good news is that the supply of these chips is also improving, which should help to increase production and reduce lead times.
Power circuits for amplifier supply are becoming available. There were only a couple of suppliers who went down during COVID, but new producers have been located, which is good news for audio manufacturers. With better power circuits, manufacturers can build more reliable and higher-quality amplifiers.
Wireless audio is still facing supply chain issues, and it can take 15 to 20 weeks to get products. And that’s for the companies who are shipping quickly. Others can be up to six months or more. Handheld microphones are in ample supply. So, if you don’t absolutely have to go wireless, don’t right now.
Entertainment and Live Events
One area of the audio industry that is experiencing a strong recovery is entertainment and live events. With events and spaces reopening, there is a growing demand for audio equipment. This is good news for manufacturers and suppliers in the audio industry. From boards to speakers to processors, everything in the audio signal chain is in high demand. Though, go back a paragraph about wireless and you’ll note an area of concern.
Unified communications and hybrid work continue to be areas of growth for audio manufacturers. With more people working remotely, there is a growing demand for high-quality audio equipment that can be used for video conferencing and other communication purposes.
“Professional AV has quickly moved from the category of “would like to have” into the one of “absolutely necessary”. Hybrid working and learning environments are now normal and expected,” says Ashely Smith from Biamp. “These hybrid systems are expected to perform at a very high level of performance, consistently.”
Audio matrix users are requiring more polished interfaces, and companies that are providing that are thriving. Audio matrices are essential components of audio systems, and manufacturers that can provide easy-to-use interfaces are likely to do well in the market.
“We’re certainly seeing a trend in the audio matrix space toward true multi-platform creation tools and a lean toward offering more of a graphically polished output for users”, Jeff Hawley of Allen & Heath added. “Going back a handful of years ago, most custom interface control design software tools were rather limited, requiring the interface designer to use Windows and offering up a limited range of display design options.”
Finally, audio manufacturers are slowly getting back online. While they are not yet at pre-COVID levels of production, their lead times have reduced from 12 months to just three. This is a positive sign for the industry, and it suggests that manufacturers are adapting to the new normal.
The audio part of the AV industry has faced some challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are reasons to be optimistic about the future. With improving supplies of essential components like audio analog to digital conversion circuits, Dante Ultimo 3 Chips, and power circuits for amplifiers, manufacturers are starting to pick up production. There is also a growing demand for audio equipment in entertainment and live events, unified communications, and hybrid work. As the industry continues to adapt to the new normal, there is reason to believe that it will come out of the pandemic a bit more nimble than when it began.
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