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51. IP Codec Compatibility Test: Suprima & Tieline Merlin 4/3/14   by Dave Immer

The Tieline Merlin is an IP codec rich with features aimed at broadcasters and their particular work-flow. With some limitations, it will also play nice in the world of production audio.

But let’s back up and take a long view of the remote audio transmission landscape.

When you’re spending thousands of dollars on an audio codec, it’s not enough to have a device that provides good reliable performance if it only works well within it’s own brand. In the world of ISDN codecs this has been a critical consideration, and manufacturers recognized it as an important feature of their product and paid close attention to compatibility with other brands. This is not yet the case with the selection of IP codecs available. Compatibility between competing models is spotty and is often given little mention in product manuals.

A broadcast user will tend to be “in-network” (or “in-station”) and therefore likely to have the same brand as the far end. But production audio connections tend to be between autonomous studios or talent who will have made a choice of codecs based on their own requirements . So compatibility with other brands is key to usability in the production community.

Results of test: I am able to establish a stable MPEGL2 Stereo 384kbs connection between the Suprima and Tieline Merlin using the SIP protocol, dialing from either unit. The receive buffer was set at 100ms.

Recommendation: This type of connection will support an ADR session with program on the left channel and time-code on the right. Voiceover sessions will be excellent quality.

More to come.