When it comes to producing high-quality, real-time audio, smartphone apps have a definite place in the toolbox. They don’t completely replace field codec hardware, mainly due to limitations like wireless-only operation, lack of stereo, and unwieldy audio connections. But for quick drop-ins and news reports, they can be effective in banishing the plague of “cellphone sound” in your on-air product.
Comrex ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs implement the VoIP protocol known as SIP (Session Initialization Protocol) and therefore can be made to interwork with several smartphone apps, some of which will deliver wideband audio to and from the studio codec.
Here are some apps we’ve found to be useful. Several of these are available at low or no cost and without user support, while some are full-featured professional products (with real support) that cost several hundred dollars.
LinPhone is available for free on Android and iTunes, and has been tested to work with Comrex codecs. LinPhone uses the Opus audio algorithm; a newer, high quality, low delay choice which has been included in Comrex codecs starting with firmware 3.0. It’s open source, and free to download; additionally, LinPhone doesn’t require registration and can dial directly to the IP address of your codec. It’s also very easy to set up and use.
See our Technote on LinPhone for details on how to set it up for Comrex compatibility.
Developed in The Netherlands, Luci Live is a professional mobile broadcast application that enables studio-quality reportage to be streamed via laptop or mobile phone from anywhere in the world. Luci Live has been specifically optimized for broadcast workflow. Its intuitive on-screen controls emulate console faders, while additional features such as audio capture, editing and ftp upload enable broadcast-ready content to reach its required destination in a matter of minutes.
When used with Comrex hardware codecs, Luci Live can deliver HE-AAC audio in both directions with moderate delay. Connections can be made via the industry-compatible N/ACIP protocol (which uses SIP), or the native Luci RTP mode. (RTP or N/ACIP connections require some setup on the Comrex side and this is outlined in the user manual.) Current Luci versions include Luci Live for iPhone and Android, priced at $349.99.
Luci Live Lite
Introduced at NAB 2013, a new, limited feature set version of Luci Live will be available at just $30. Luci Live Lite removes the record, edit and ftp functions from its big sister, and limits codec choice to the slightly lower quality G.722. But in all other ways, it echoes the pro interface of Luci Live, providing an extremely easy to use application for budget broadcasters who need simplicity in both setup and operation.
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