Italy’s ARET has created the first OB van in the world to feature the new 8331 point source monitors from ‘The Ones’ series by Genelec, the world leader in professional audio monitoring. Recently previewed at the IBC 2017 exhibition in Amsterdam, the trailer is a showcase of high-end outside broadcast technologies and integration. At the heart of its audio mixing area is a 5.1 surround sound system including the 8331s – described by ARET’s Vice President of Sales, Alessandro Asti, as “the perfect choice” for the vehicle.
A leading systems integrator and world-renowned provider of OB vehicles for more than 40 years, ARET has built the trailer as a template for future vehicles serving top tier broadcast requirements, from sport to classical music. Featuring double expanding wings for a spacious working environment and innovative design features such as a partial glass interior to promote cross-truck collaboration, the vehicle is based upon a no-compromise specification.
“The idea behind the trailer is to demonstrate what is possible when we focus only on the highest-level technology and design, working in UHD with incredible sound to match,” explains Asti. “This OB van reflects the ARET philosophy of combining the best equipment with expert, turnkey integration. It offers a comfortable working environment for video and audio professionals, and it will deliver the best possible performance regardless of the climate, from the harshest cold weather to the most humid location. Everything inside the van is the result of ARET’s long experience, our engineering philosophy and our determination to choose the best.”
Two audio mix areas are located inside the trailer, the larger of which boasts a SAM 5.1 surround sound system comprising the three 8331A three-way coaxial monitors, plus two 8330A rears and a single 7360A subwoofer. The most compact of The Ones family, the 8331A offers the same precise imaging and wide sweet spot as its larger siblings, as well as allowing engineers to monitor at very close range and to work for longer without suffering listening fatigue. The smaller of the two mix areas offers a stereo set-up comprising two 8320A SAM two-way nearfield monitors.
Unlike many OB vans, the ARET trailer uses glass throughout much of its interior, improving collaboration between operators, but also creating a challenging acoustic environment. “The use of glass inside the van adds a lot of benefits, including insulating each compartment and allowing operators to communicate with one another visually,” reflects ARET Sales Engineer Alessandro Bechstein, “but of course it also creates acoustic challenges.”
“It is very difficult to create the perfect acoustic environment inside an OB van. Special acoustic treatment techniques, with particular attention to detail, have been used to insulate the audio room,” adds Asti. “Mixing has to take place in a space that’s very often affected by coachwork, by space being required for other equipment, and a whole range of external factors that do not allow you to create a space as you would in a fixed studio environment. As a result, Genelec’s GLM calibration software was very important.”
The use of GLM, and particularly AutoCal, has been crucial in ensuring that both mix areas are optimised to represent the best possible listening conditions. “The GLM software and AutoCal are very simple to use,” says Bechstein. “It’s a straightforward and quick solution with amazing results. In a relatively short amount of time you can calibrate the whole system and fully optimise it for your listening environment. Our knowledge of GLM and SAM, and our confidence in AutoCal made us comfortable with the use of glass and other design choices.”
He concludes, “The sound of The Ones is remarkable and even the appearance of the speakers is captivating, matching the high-class design of the trailer’s interior; everyone who has toured our OB van has been immediately struck by the outstanding quality of the sound system and the remarkable acoustics of the audio room. In the end, the real measure of a product is the final result of the project, and the final result is amazing.”