TV Audio Consoles

IP & TDM Networking

Wheatstone for TV

We get it. You don’t want to mess around with all those channels of audio that need to be routed, mixed, edited and made to sound natural and seamless with what’s happening on video. All of which can be especially frustrating now that 5.1 surround is added to the mix. That’s why we have eliminated all the inefficiency and bloat from TV audio production. Wheatstone has a Network First approach that you’ll like – a lot. We’ve moved everything routing and logic related to the network and replaced that gargantuan console with a much more efficient, compact network console. We’re talking unrestricted routing and unrestricted access just below the surface, but with everything you need above the surface to do it all, and do it fast.

Checking in with iHeartMedia Portland

iHeartRadio A_2560-MC
We dropped in on iHeartMedia in Portland recently to revisit a WheatNet-IP audio network that has been in operation since the seven-station cluster moved to Tigard, Oregon, in September 2012. Director of Engineering Chris Weiss showed us around the 17-studio, 25,000-square-foot facility and talked about life with audio over IP.

He recalled a recent remote at the Rose Quarter stadium for the Portland Trail Blazers (basketball sportscast) that involved all seven stations at the same time – an impossible feat before IP audio networking. “It was more a staffing issue; could we have enough promotion and programming staff to handle all this? But from an equipment standpoint, it was easy,” he said.

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At the center of the operation are the audio network’s core Cisco switches, which are bonded together on a backplane in the TOC, with gigabit/second connections to every other switch and element in the network. “Everything works better at a gig, especially NexGen (automation),” commented Weiss, who monitors network traffic on a regular basis. Normal NexGen traffic hovers around the 100 Mbps mark, whereas on the fiber connection to the hub point for all the cluster’s transmitter sites, Weiss routinely sees steady traffic at about 150 Mbps. “150 megabits. That freaked me out at first because you never see that kind of bandwidth solid on a circuit. But that’s what it takes because it’s running all this AoIP back and forth, and we run a video feed for the Trail Blazers over that,” he said.

The operation includes 56 WheatNet-IP I/O BLADEs, 49 audio drivers, 23 Wheatstone M2 dual-channel mic processors to handle 46 microphones, and 13 control surfaces all connected through a WheatNet-IP audio network.

Look for details in the recent issue of Radio magazine, which features the iHeartMedia Portland facility as its cover story in the February issue.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.wheatstone-tv.com/#sigProGalleria3d99162483

Loudness Control: 3 Things to Watch

DimensionThreeLoudnessHere are three critical things to watch on the mixing desk and what you need to know about them for effective loudness control.

1. VU indicator. The VU meter (now in digital bar graph form) has been around for 80 years for a reason. It’s predictable, with predictable integration times and predictable release times so you can predictably read volume units. Remember it is an averaging meter and the peaks are far higher than indicated. For this reason you can expect to have about 20dB of audio headroom above 0dBVU to encompass them.

 

 

 

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Beyond 4K at CES. The Internet of Things.

CES LasVegasWhat at CES 2015 could possibly interest a couple of audio network nerds?

Well, yes, gadgets of course. But there was also this: the Internet of Things (IoT). One analyst counted 900 exhibitors with IoT products there. Thermostats, coffee makers, watches, jewelry, dog collars, ovens, smart sports apparel … baby bottles. All connected to the Internet of Things.

It’s a great concept, this idea of connecting appliances (not to mention, that new 4K TV) to the internet and controlling them through your smartphone or laptop.

 

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The Scoop on Codecs for IP Audio

CodecIllustrationUsing the Internet for audio distribution makes sense, but the problem is a little like the holiday rush at the Post Office.

There are simply too many packets of data for the pipeline.

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Live and Vocal Part One: First, Get It Sounding Right

by Steve Dove
Wheatstone Minister of Algorithms

Steve DoveThere's a big difference between what it takes to get live voice straight to air, and what the sound engineer needs to do for audio that will be post-produced. In the latter case, it’s always a good idea to just concentrate on getting it all down cleanly with good consistent levels and minimal processing. The boys in post-production will definitely not thank you if they have to try and unwind heavy EQ you wound in, or deal with irreversible deep compression.

First, go into the studio and hear what they actually sound like, both their normal conversational voices and their "on" persona. This is your target, not some arbitrary notion of what they ought to sound like.

Microphone techniques in TV are, charitably, non-optimal and driven by the visuals. Now, tie-clip mics actually sound a lot better than we have a right to expect but they are (usually) omnidirectional, poorly located on the chest, tend to hear a lot we rather they didn't, and what they do hear is colored. Over the years the mic manufacturers have attempted to mitigate their shortcomings, but there's still work you can do with tools to hand. A modern digital TV audio console such as a Wheatstone console has all the necessary audio tools on board, equal to or superior to those found in the best recording plug-ins and the like. They're there for good reason, so let’s get started.

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Live and Vocal Part Two: Now, Get It Sounding Great

by Steve Dove
Wheatstone Minister of Algorithms

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The most basic, and arguably the most powerful, tool for getting vocals to sound good is equalization. It has two primary uses, to correct for errors or for artistic effect. Compression and limiting also can be useful for adjusting vocals, as I cover in some detail below.

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It’s a MAD, MAD, MADI World

MADI MADI MADI WORLD 350Among its many uses, MADI can act as a common transport mechanism between two systems that use different native formats. We have a MADI interface that seamlessly integrates the WheatNet-IP audio network into an existing Wheatstone TDM router system so you can have the best of all worlds!

Who can tell us what MADI stands for? Anyone?

We hear crickets...

But, don’t lose track of how useful MADI can be to broadcasters. The list is fairly long, and getting longer. After all, there are very few alternatives for sending up to 64 channels of digital audio (48kHz sample) over one 75-ohm coaxial cable. Not only does this digital audio routing standard by AES make it possible to send a lot of channels through hundreds of feet of cable, it delivers lossless audio through all those channels. That lends itself to some practical applications.

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Quick Stop at WXXI

Web WXXI_TV_SUB_PRODUCTION_ROOM_2560-v2From time to time we check in with our customers to see how things are going. This month, we found the folks at WXXI AM/FM/TV in good spirits and busier than ever.

Kent Hatfield in charge of audio operations for WXXI television and radio showed us around the facility, which has clearly seen a lot of changes since the Rochester, New York, pubcaster set up shop with ten Wheatstone D-9 and G series consoles networked into a Wheatstone TDM system 12 years ago.

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Dimension 3 Wins News Technology Award

DimensionThreeOperatorView 420

NEWS TECH_AWARD_LOGOWheatstone Corporation has been named a winner of NewBay Media's "News Technology Award" for our Dimension Three television audio console. The ten winners of this year's award were announced on October 9, 2014 at the News Technology Summit in Baltimore, Maryland, presented by TV Technology and Broadcasting and Cable magazines.

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Finally, Audio Syncs In

GerritWell, look at that. Just when you thought audio and video couldn’t be more out of sync, you meet someone like Gerrit Bulten of Burst Video, The Netherlands.

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What the #@& is Cable Certification?

Fluke And CableWe often use the term “certification testing” when referring to cable used in audio networks. But if a person didn’t know better, they’d think we were talking about guys in white lab coats running around with clipboards.

Hardly.

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SBE’s Snelson on TV in an IT World

JoeSnelsonCropWe called up Joe Snelson to congratulate him on his recent re-election as the president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and to talk about 4K, file-based IP video, and the state of broadcasting in general. In addition to his role as president of SBE, Joe is the Vice President of Engineering for Meredith. 

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POWERHOUSE! Gibraltar Network Rocks!

GibraltarNetworkCageFront 420Plug into the most prolific studio routing and audio infrastructure out there. More ultra-professional installations are done in broadcast radio and television using Wheatstone’s Gibraltar Network than any other. And, for good reason. It’s absolutely rock-solid with minimum fuss. Choose from Gibraltar Network’s family of television audio and radio control surfaces and mix and match I/O cards for a custom system that includes all routing in one cage or several remote satellite cages connected via CAT6 or fiber-optic links.

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COMPACT I/O DYNAMO! SR-8...

SR8-FRONT-420The SR-8 is the answer to your Gibraltar Network access needs in places where a Gibraltar I/O frame won't fit or isn't needed. Providing local I/O on XLR connectors in a single rack space configuration, the SR-8 is ideal for studio, booth, or stage.

Multimedia Madness

FreeBeerAndWIngsphoto 420If you wanted to mess with cameras all day you wouldn’t have gone into radio, right?

It’s not just YouTube, either. Or the website that needs a continual stream of video and audio, or the photo bombs that are going off all day, every day. Or even that the morning guys are running all over town with a microphone and a camera.

It’s that multimedia is such a huge production now, and it’s beginning to get in the way of that other major production: radio. “We’ve got cameras and streaming wares and everybody (in the studio) has something in front of them, laptops and tablets and iPads. Multimedia doesn’t even begin to describe it,” says Mike Maciejewski, who is the engineer in charge of Townsquare’s five-station cluster in Grand Rapids, Michigan, home of nationally syndicated morning show Free Beer & Hot Wings.

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The Wheatstone Development Process

WheatIdeaFactoryVideoSplash 6 9 IP

Hardware engineer Dave Breithaupt kicks off a discussion with Jay Tyler and Andy Calvanese about the development process. It takes surprisingly little time for an idea to become a product at Wheatstone, thanks to the "tool box" we've developed over our 35+ years in the audio business.

Watch This Video

We asked some of our folks to go on camera and simply talk to each other. We think you'll like what they had to say... unrehearsed and unscripted.

To see more videos from this series, feel free to visit here:

Wheatstone Inside The Idea Factory Videos

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