Radio Consoles

IP Audio Networking

New For 2014

Wheatstone for radio

You know what they say about radio and silence. Right. So don’t even go there. At Wheatstone, we know you have one thing and one thing only that’s going to raise you above the din of today’s multimedia world. Your sound. If it’s just pictures you want, that’s not us. Wheatstone is all about audio. We process it, route it, and cue it up for you. We get it to do stuff that only radio can fully appreciate, starting with audio IP routing (AoIP) that thinks like you do and radio consoles that are the everyday workhorses of thousands of radio studios today. Cool consoles and mixers. Intelligent audio IP studio networking or TDM routing. AM and FM on-air processors that rock. It’s all right here.

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.

If we’ve done the math correctly, WXXI is generating 16 different media streams -- going from one AM, one FM and one TV station to six radio stations plus a multi-channel TV in the last decade. That’s not even including HD Radio channels and a PBS national program that WXXI started producing a while back. Oh, and did we mention that WXXI does a lot of live performances for its classical FM, including a seasonal gig with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra?

Web WXXI_FM_CLASSICAL_JULIA_FIGUERAS_2560_v2Web WXXI_FM_SCOTT_REGAN_2560-v2

We wanted to know how all that is even possible from one studio. Kent’s reply: “Too often stations build what they need, when they need it. But in our case, new demands have actually grown into our capabilities.”

In case you missed the stream on early radio with Scott Fybush and Peter King, broadcast from WXXI’s studios on October 7, here it is.

Outta Control!

AgileScreenBuilder 2560We’ve just started to ship our new Screen Builder app, and already the many uses for this software app that lets you create custom screens for the WheatNet-IP audio network are rolling in.

Our new Screen Builder app has faders, meters, labels, buttons, clocks, timers and other widgets that you can arrange on a PC screen and program to create your own custom control interface for level adjusting, monitoring and more.

Chris Penny from Agile Broadcast in Australia told us about this interesting application for Screen Builder. (Shown in the photo at left: click to zoom in.)

  

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"The screen I built for this studio is for a producer. It allows IFB in to the right channel of a host/guest headphone by simply pressing on their chair. The ‘dot’ in front of the chairs (on the desk) lights up to show the mic is switched ON. Buttons to the right give the producer full monitoring of all outside broadcast lines in the facility, and he can talk to any remote talent by pressing the IFB button for the desired line. Group talkback to all guests is available by pressing ‘talkback all guests;’ or to every headphone by pressing the ‘Roosevelt’ button (Roosevelt is the name of the studio). A source selector on the left side of the screen allows the producer to monitor a variety of program sources, and a PC button mixes in the producer’s Internet computer to the monitor mix. Additional controls include delay DUMP (which illuminates when delay is full) and Aircom, which sends the producer’s talkback microphone to the On Air mix via an AirAura processor (to colour the sound so it mimics an intercom/ and control dynamics)."

Other uses for Screen Builder include monitoring transmitter levels and logic at various sites, locating and controling all hardware in the audio network, and monitoring studios in different locations. Here's a quick video from Wheatstone's VP/Technology, Andy Calvanese, describing Screen Builder.

Let us know your ideas for Screen Builder. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Audio Performance Testing on the Cheap

AudioPerformanceOnTheCheap 420by Jeff Keith

There’s nothing like a little audio performance testing to cap off a hectic week at the station, especially if you don’t have to haul out the heavy (read “expensive”) equipment to do it.

There are two main things I like to test: the flatness of the frequency response and the distortion added by equipment in the air chain. For this, you’ll need clean test signals, and a way to measure those signals after they’ve passed through the air chain.

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3 Things You Need to Know About Network Switches

SwitchPlate 420You’re about to embark on a social experiment.

You’ve selected the perfect control surfaces and the audio network is almost laid out for your new studios. Everyone and everything speaks broadcast and, so far, you haven’t had to take up IT as a second language. But now you’re about to drop a couple of network switches into the middle of it all and you’re worried that things could erupt into a civil war between this newer IT world and the radio cavalry.

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It’s the Splits

LX24 SPLIT HEADONThis split frame LX-24 control surface arrived in Amsterdam in two pods, six modules on each side. With all the console action off to the side, announcers can work the show from their keyboard, monitor and mouse in the middle. There's no need for a backplane for the modules, and the motherboard is conveniently mounted under the table. We showed the LX-24 mixing desk along with talent stations and WheatNet-IP audio networking system at IBC 2014.

If you missed us, come see us at NATEXPO in Moscow. Russia, November 19-21; we'll be in booth A69.

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Sound Off

Radio GrupoOur friends south of the border sure know how to do radio. When we sent our audio processing specialist Mike Erickson packing to Radio Grupo in the Mexican city of Aguascalientes last month, we expected him to come back with tales of AM flamethrowers and hot tamales.

Instead, he wound up doing something he rarely gets to do at a Top 40 station: setting the sound for clarity first and loudness second. “They were going for long term listening and clean sound, which is a welcome change for guys like me who appreciate some dynamic range,” says Mike. “When processing for CHR, it’s usually loud and exaggerated. But they wanted open, clear and engaging!”

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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 Radio in an IT World

Joe SnelsonWe 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 something that has been on our minds for some time: the changing role of broadcast engineering in an IT world.

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KBEM Rethinks Facility with WheatNet-IP

KBEMHUDMichael Jamnick tells the story of revitalizing KBEM using WheatNet-IP AoIP networking technology. 

Writing in the August 2014 issue of Radio magazine, Jamnick tells of his challenges when taking over as engineer of the station as, along with station management, he began to rethink the technical plant. A reprint can be downloaded at this link, courtesy of Radio magazine.

icon RADIO: Revitalizing a Station, Reviving a School (4.1 MB 2014-09-08 16:28:56)

Cookies and I/O BLADEs

WheatNet Cookie_350It was game on for the Wheat guys when our ever-resourceful founder, Gary Snow, offered a cookie to anyone who could come up with the best uses for our BLADE I/O access units. (BLADEs are the network access units that make up the WheatNet-IP audio network).

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Radio That Can ... And Did

Prayz5 420Meet Prayz Network, the little Christian network that could. Prayz Network started in 2011 with WTPN-FM in Westby, Wisconsin. Soon, it added a translator to get into nearby La Crosse, and within a year, added WEQS-FM in Sparta, Wisconsin.

This month, the little network that began on little more than a wing and prayer added its fourth, network affiliate WWJC-FM licensed to Augusta, Wisconsin, and will be covering the I-94/I-90 corridor from Eau Claire to La Crosse.

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Miking Players on the Sports Field

Football 420Dan Daley, who covers sports and audio production for the industry, tipped us off to a new technique for capturing audio during live sporting events.

“They (NFL) experimented with placing wireless lavaliers on different player positions, so what you’re hearing now is the mic placed on the back of the center and that signal is sent to the console that is controlled by the NFL, which opens the fader on that microphone at a preset number of seconds before the snap and closes it a preset number of seconds after the snap. We’re getting some really great audio from the field as a result and I think the NFL experience is making everyone else look at it.”

Charlie Toner on SNMP

TonerIf you want to know about SNMP, Charlie Toner is your guy. Charlie has been using this network protocol for system monitoring and other purposes as part of the engineering team for Pineridge Media and Durham Radio, which have eight stations in four Ontario locations -- each with separate WheatNet-IP audio networks linked together through Tieline Genie STLs.

With SNMP, he says he can see data packets coming in or going out, by the port or by the link, and from his WheatNet-IP mic processors to the transmitter. We talked with him recently about his love of all things SNMP.

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Something New is in (on) the Air

FM55andCat 420If the station across town suddenly starts to blow everyone else off the dial, blame it on the new FM-55 audio processor. We let the cat out of the bag a few weeks ago, and there’s no putting it back.

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We've Got Talent

TS4 420So many stations these days have neither the space nor the budget for an announce booth for their talent, let alone for guests.

That’s where something smaller like our IP-networked TS-22 or TS-4 Talent Stations makes sense. These are small turrets that can fit just about anywhere, either on the countertop or mounted inside a countertop, and include mic, headphone, and other talent controls. The TS-4 and larger TS-22 plug into our WheatNet-IP audio network to extend all shared sources and destinations into the producer booth or guest, talent host or co-host positions.

For syndicated morning shows like Free Beer & Hot Wings, for example, the producers are able to access any source or destination that any other WheatNet-IP control surface can, plus check the satellite syndication feed at any time from their TS-22 turret panels.

The TS-22 has six programmable soft buttons, six source preselect buttons, microphone control, speaker and headphone level controls (w/built-in headphone amp and front panel jack), timer, and a source select knob with color OLED display that can access any signal on the network (source visibility software controlled).

Multimedia Madness

CameraLensWNIP 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. 

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Splitting Hairs and Consoles

SplitLX24 420Only in Switzerland would they think to split our flagship LX-24 control surface in two, build the two halves into slick looking furniture with LED illuminated edges, and electronically raise and lower the desk as needed. Read on.

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Sneaky Points of Failure

WheatNet IP Flowchart 420Let’s hope that your disaster recovery plans go a lot smoother than the evacuation plans we’ve seen for some cities. Here are a few sneaky single points of failure you could be overlooking.

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