Waves Audio Introduces SoundGrid Connect at 141st AES in Los Angeles

October 3 2016, 03:10
Digital signal processing solutions specialists, Waves Audio announced the introduction of SoundGrid Connect, a game-changing feature of its SoundGrid driver. With SoundGrid Connect, users can connect any ASIO/Core Audio-compatible audio interface to SoundGrid technology and dramatically boost the capacity of their system – run hundreds of plugins simultaneously, stream audio, record and mix from multiple computers and DAWs at the same time, and more.

SoundGrid Connect lets users add massive processing power to their system by connecting any ASIO/Core Audio interface to a SoundGrid DSP server and processing their SoundGrid-compatible Waves and third-party plugins on the server instead of their computer. By offloading their plugin processing to the server, users can smoothly run hundreds of plugins on their sessions and free up their computer’s CPU for other tasks.

SoundGrid Connect also allows users to connect any ASIO/Core Audio interface to the SoundGrid network, which lets them stream audio, record and mix from many different computers and DAWs simultaneously – all with incredibly simple Ethernet connections.

Waves SoundGrid technology is an innovative networking and processing platform for real-time professional audio applications, based on a proprietary Ethernet Layer 2 protocol and EtherType. Ideal for studios, live sound, broadcast, post-production and more, SoundGrid provides an extremely low-latency environment for high-precision audio processing. Together with a server, a Mac or PC host computer and an I/O system, SoundGrid allows running the company’s renowned reverbs, equalizers, compressors, and other mixing tools, as well as any other SoundGrid-compatible third-party plugins, all in real time,.

SoundGrid-compatible plugins run on standard Intel CPU computers and 1 Gbps Ethernet networks, switches and servers, integrating with analog and digital mixing consoles. The Audio-over-Ethernet networked solution provides a complete redundancy and recovery system with audio transported and routed between networked I/O devices and processed on plugin servers connected to the same network. The I/O device converts SoundGrid packets to standard and proprietary audio protocol schemes.

Audio is interfaced with SoundGrid by integrating a SoundGrid-programmed FPGA (Xilinx Spartan 3) into a mixing console’s I/O ports. The FPGA receives I2S or other audio signal formats and converts them to the SoundGrid format. The FPGA is also used to transfer control messages between control nodes external to the SoundGrid network and the SoundGrid control application. Control Software SoundGrid audio processing, connections, system configuration and monitoring are controlled by Waves’ SoundGrid Studio System software (the SoundGrid Studio Application, the SoundGrid ASIO/Core Audio driver, the eMotion ST mixer, and StudioRack for studio or MultiRack for live environments).

The SoundGrid infrastructure is open to third-party hardware and software developers alike. Waves works closely with additional plugin vendors and several hardware manufacturers in order to create a wide range of solutions and expand even further the family of SoundGrid-compatible tools.
Signal flow chart for Waves’ new SoundGrid Connect.

SoundGrid Connect now allows users to connect non-SoundGrid (ASIO/Core Audio) audio interfaces to a SoundGrid server and offload plugin processing to the server, as well as connect non-SoundGrid (ASIO/Core Audio) audio interfaces to the SoundGrid network for audio streaming, mixing and recording. This allows users to patch and mix from multiple computers, DAWs and I/Os in a SoundGrid network, collaborate on projects and move between studios with different systems. Any musician or engineer working with a host computer and ASIO/Core Audio drivers can now connect to other users’ SoundGrid network and vice versa.

Users who already have a SoundGrid I/O can also use SoundGrid Connect to expand their SoundGrid network and add to it any ASIO/Core Audio interface. SoundGrid Connect is available free of charge to any owner of at least one Waves software product.
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