Len Dole, President of ISIS, performed the needs analysis and concept design for Sonarae. He explains, "I didn't begin this project with an audio monitor in mind. I was gathering user requirements for our next generation Digital Edit Suite Audio Mixer. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that audio engineers wanted something completely different! They need to monitor audio. NLE post-production operations have been cobbling together workarounds for years. Now, Sonarae brings elegance to the edit suite. It has one purpose: it lets the operator listen to the audio, without distortion and without changing it in the process".
Sonarae offers an input mode selector for up to eight AES/EBU data streams or 16 individual audio channels, which allows the user to switch from the main AES/EBU inputs to STEM recorder preview inputs or to an external tone generator. A set-up, learn, and clear function, along with 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 surround sound stereo mix-down selectors, allows the operator to store custom stereo mix-down formats that are available for recall at any time.
Options for monitoring include a master speaker level with two dim settings and a mute switch, and a headphone amplifier with separate level control. The system provides outputs of pre- and post-level AES/EBU audio in addition to optional pre- and post-level analog audio. Operator-selectable delay, adjustable from zero to 9.5 video frames in 0.5 frame steps, is built into the unit to allow for compensation of picture monitor latency.
ISIS will feature Sonarae in booth N1302 at NAB2008 in Las Vegas, offering audio engineers their first opportunity to get a hands-on experience with the unit. "Sonarae is different from anything currently on the market, and we're seeing incredible interest from post-production houses," says Dole. "We've produced a white paper that covers the features and explains how it fits into an edit suite. We'll distribute the white paper at NAB, and afterwards people can download it from the Graham-Patten website."