The Audio Engineering Society's work can seem dry but the importance of standards in audio is just as important as it has ever been and I for one have used the word “standard” incorrectly in the past.
In my work on Audio Over IP I have changed my mind a few times on exactly which word to use as a catch-all term for Dante, RAVENNA, AVB/TSN etc. A “standard” is agreed by specific, cross-industry bodies like the IEEE or the AES and shouldn’t be applied to proprietary products or even to open source projects. “protocol” is better but I’ve settled on “technology” as it doesn’t imply any official status like protocol does.
As you can see I’ve been worrying about some pretty niche things but along the way I have gained a better understanding of exactly what these “proper” standards actually mean. Standards organisations like the AES, the EBU and the IEEE exist to promote interoperability to ensure their respective fields can meet future demands. While achieving market dominance with a proprietary technology is very desirable for individual companies, it can’t be said that that is good for an industry overall.
I decided to compile a list of AES standards, some of them very common, some less relevant to our community. This was driven in part by the fact that I found I knew some of these by alternative names. A possible source of confusion.
- AES 3 - Stereo Digital, also known as AES/EBU
- AES10 - Multichannel (64 Ch), also known as MADI
- AES 11 - Clocking signal over AES 3
- AES 47 - Standardised Audio over ATM (telecoms)
- AES 50 - 24 channel, bi-directional audio transport format
- AES 59 - “Tascam” standard for DB25 wiring
- AES 67 - The standard for Audio over IP interoperability
- AES 70 - Control standard for media networks
- AES -X192 - Interoperability project, developed AES 67
Given my preoccupation with all things AoIP it seems appropriate to mention the other really significant body which defines standards - The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Of particular relevance would be:
- IEEE 1588-2008 - Precision Time Protocol
- IEEE 802 - A whole set of standards which define Local Area Networks (i.e. Ethernet)
I can think of lots of other standards which have helped the audio industry become what it is today. Are there any in particular that you think deserve a mention (and are you sure they are a proper "standard")?