Radio Consoles

IP Audio Networking

Why Wheatstone For Radio? Click to find out...


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.

Click to download our NEW RADIO PRODUCTS FOR 2015 Brochure

5 Surprising Places for IP Audio

It's getting late. Do you know where your audio network is?

BLADE TRUCK_2560Your audio network could be going places and doing things you might not be aware of, from remote sportscasts and for STLs to hanging out in malls, convention centers and auditoriums.

Modern audio networks are being used for a slew of new applications because of newer, smarter I/O units. For example, WheatNet-IP BLADE-3s combine integrated control with audio tools such as mixing and audio processing at every connection point in the network for a multitude of possible uses.

It’s almost like having a complete studio in 1RU wherever you need one.

And with AES67 now promising to interface your network to just about any audio device out there, there’s no telling where IP audio will be off to next.

Here are just a few ways you can use your WheatNet-IP BLADE-3s:


Audio in the Outfield: Quickly set up a small studio at any sports venue with routing, processing, mixing and logic controls of mics and other devices all in one rack unit. All you need is a BLADE at the press box as your audio interface into your mixing board and mics (16 mono channels) and an Internet or other link to the studio. To take advantage of 5.8 GHz unlicensed wireless IP radios as a line-of-sight link to the studio, simply add an EDGE unit. EDGE connects directly into the IP wireless radio through RJ-45 connectors, and because it’s all IP, that means you can carry audio, voice-over-IP, and data of all kinds back and forth between locations.


BLADE AS_AUDIO_SNAKEIP Audio Snake: Transport audio between the production studio and a nearby performance studio using BLADEs at each end. Carry mic and instrument feeds from the stage area to the network over CAT6, wireless or optical fiber link. Do separate mixes live using the BLADE’s 8x2 stereo mixers, or capture multitrack recordings for future mixing. No transformer splits required!


STL: Continue IP audio from the studio to the transmitter with BLADEs on both ends of an IP wireless or other STL. IP radios connect to the switch on each end, which are connected to the BLADE for managing audio and any devices hanging off the network. If the STL should lose connection, the new BLADE-3 will not only detect silence, it can trigger the startup of playback audio stored on the BLADE-3 itself.


Multi-stage venues. Place BLADE I/O units in the van, on stages or throughout the field, and connect them together over fiber and CAT6 via the network switch for audio transport between them. Great for music festivals that require real-time communication between multiple stages.


IFB. Talk to talent over your IP network. Any WheatNet-IP BLADE access unit that routes audio also can provide the IFB pathway, whether it’s on location or in the studio; simply change crosspoints to create routable IFB throughout the facility.


New Studio?

Heaven Forbid You Forget the Elevator!

StudioA 420It’s easy to lose track of the many details of a new studio project. Let us take a moment to remember Edificio Intempo, the 47-floor skyscraper built in Spain that was said to be missing one important detail. Elevators.

Heaven forbid you should forget the elevator.

Yet, we see it time and again, studios that are missing that very important something. It could be the way the facility is laid out or how it’s connected together. It could be the absence of some seemingly insignificant detail or a trend that has gone terribly wrong.


The good thing about being in the audio network and console business is that we get to tour more than our share of broadcast studios from around the world. Our Director of Sales Jay Tyler has been in no less than 3,000 broadcast studios in his 20+ years at Wheatstone, and he has seen it all. Here are a few things Jay, along with Studio Technology’s Vince Fiola, who builds broadcast studio furniture, has noticed lately.

Camera automation. More and more on-air studios have a camera or two to run show video out to YouTube or other social media. Jay tells us that many of the larger studios have fulltime video editors onsite at the studio, while others are taking advantage of automation software to run those cameras. For example, multiCAM automation is being integrated with the WheatNet-IP audio network to switch the camera to the host or guest position in the studio whenever a mic is turned on. If the announcer’s mic is on, WheatNet-IP tells multiCAM to point the camera at the announcer position and then when a guest mic turns on, the WheatNet-IP tells multiCAM to switch to the guest position.

Downsized space. Technology is getting smaller and smaller, and that goes for devices as well as studios. It’s not unusual to see studio facilities scaled down, some by as much as half. Gone are the racks and racks of DAs and relays, thanks to IP audio routing and control.

Talent on the move. Who knew that talent had legs? They’re no longer confined to one studio, or even the studio facility. Mix-minus, bus minuses, mic presets and even video follows talent and shows no matter where they are located on the audio network.

Signs of the times. Signage in studios is one of the biggest trends this year, according to Jay. He’s seeing more and more clocks with metering on the wall, video feeds of talent shown in the lobby, and music playout schedules from the automation showing up on the studio wall or elsewhere in the studios. All this visualization is made possible because of the easy IP routing of media and data throughout the facility. Tight integration of AoIP systems like WheatNet-IP with virtual clocks such as VClock by Voceware helps, too.

Showcase looks. With so many morning shows now syndicating with the local TV station, there’s a lot more attention being paid to how the studio looks. There’s way less clutter, more open space and less wiring everywhere. Broadcasters are recessing monitors, lowering mic booms and adding polish with better lighting – at least in one studio. “More is being put into the main studio as the showcase, and the rest of the facility is getting much, much smaller and less expensive,” says Vince.

Soundcards are out. “That soundcard that fit your 10-year-old computer doesn’t fit the newer computers,” says Jay. Broadcasters are going with audio drivers instead, which can save a couple thousand dollars per studio.

Production in a workstation. The production studio has seen the most changes. “Here, you’re likely to see a creative guy that sits at the computer all day,” says Vince. Production studios have become more computer workstation centric with more compact, more capable IP consoles or control surfaces. Our E-6 control surface, for example, has become more computer friendly by providing console control and programming on a display monitor, and newer Audioarts consoles like the Air-5 come with USB connectivity and/or Bluetooth compatibility for smaller production studios.

More control. The modern studio gives you far more control. One Ethernet cable is all it takes to bring up any source along with control commands. Jay says there is a lot of interest in our IP networked TS-22 talent station because in one small talent station sitting, you can control mic on/off, talkback, muting, source selection and headphone amp all through an Ethernet cable with POE.

Better workflow. IP audio network integration with editing systems such as VoxPro makes it so much easier to do live telephone editing, on the fly, all on one cable – audio and control. Plus AoIP integration with things like codecs means you don’t need analog inputs and outputs.

Software flexibility. Virtual console control and other software apps are making studios much more flexible. For example, says Jay, “With our new Screen Builder app, and a terminal, I can replace a whole intercom panel with a soft panel. I can build intercoms and talkbacks and mix minuses and on the fly mixes with a software application where I used to pay thousands of dollars in hardware.”

Energy efficiency. According to Jay, “You can plug in an electric space heater and it’s going to use more juice than a big pile of Wheaty gear.”

Really, really, really cool break rooms. We’re taking hammocks and bubble chairs, beer on tap, a wine rack maybe, and don’t forget the putting green, air hockey table and gaming workstation – all the necessities for improving productivity. Okay, so this isn’t exactly a trend we’ve seen in our travels, but we’ll keep looking.

View the embedded image gallery online at:


Split-Surface LX-24 Debuts at IBC

LX24 DUAL FRAME CONSOLE 670This split-surface LX-24 made its debut at IBC 2015! Need more inputs? Want to arrange your workstation in exactly the intutive and efficient way you want to use it? Here you go. All LX-24 now in a table-top split format!

Dan Slentz Sayz ‘Thanks’

LPFM advocate predicts new 100W will rank in ratings.

Dan-Slentz-Sayz-DNP102-3 2000We received this email from Dan Slentz, an engineering consultant who has become a tireless advocate and industry friend to LPFM. He recently flipped the on-air switch to new WDPE low-power, non-commercial, educational FM radio station licensed to Dover - New Philadelphia, Ohio. He had this to say about the Air-4 console and other gear he’s installed at the station.


“When engineering this little LPFM, I wanted it every single bit as competitive and feature laced as any commercial station ... just with a whole LOT less power and a far, far smaller budget!

WDPE is fully legal with limited peaks at 105% modulation. When dialing in the local commercial FM's, we're typically seeing 109% to 125+% modulation, yet (the LPFM) is perceived louder and far superior in audio quality.

I truly believe we can credit an incredibly solid air chain from all wave digital audio files (no compression at all… true PCM) in BSI's Simian, through an Audioarts Air-4 console, and into a Nautel VS300LP (via a DASDEC EAS system) with nothing in that line to trash up the audio quality (including any form of STL... since it's only a 30' run to the transmitter). And due to changes in technology, all analog audio is actually run over Cat6 cable with one end being an RJ45 from the output of the Air-4.

The Air-4 has a strong design and is transparently clean (as you've come to expect from Wheatstone).

Though a tiny little 100 watt LPFM station and on a single bay circular, plus at a height which is actually BELOW average terrain (in a valley), that signal BOOMS a solid 6 miles with very good reception up to 8 miles (even UP and over some of the hills)!

I wouldn't exaggerate again to say that this station has quickly garnered a ton of listeners very quickly. And though the station can't afford to pay for ratings, I would honestly predict the station will rank highly in the Nielsen book when it eventually comes out (there are 20+ rated stations in Tuscarawas County, Ohio).

Over and over we get Facebook posts, newspaper comments, and phone calls saying ‘the audio quality is phenomenal and the music incredible.’ Here's a typical post (from an hour ago on Facebook):

i listened to wdnp 102.3 in my van this morning and i was thrilled by the sound quality. jody, dan, steve or whoever else was involved,...HOT DAMN, ..great job…

So, thanks to each of you in manufacturing: Wheatstone, Inovonics, and Nautel, and thanks to BSW our dealer, thanks to my friends at BSI, and thanks to RW for all the info that helped us make the RIGHT decisions!”

Dan Slentz
Broadcast Consultant

AES67. Hear, There and Everywhere.

5 things you need to know about this audio standard.

AES67 INSIDE_BADGE_2560AES67 is everywhere. It’s in every major audio network, including our WheatNet-IP, which means that you’ll be able to transport audio between all these systems and other devices and peripheral gear that are connected to them. This IP audio transport standard was ratified in 2013 by the AES X-192 task force, of which Wheatstone was a member.

But, AES67 is by no means a complete interoperability standard. It doesn’t provide for discovery and control, both of which are needed for any kind of inter-functionality to take place. These standards are in the works, but in the meantime, turning devices on and off, controlling peripheral gear from the console, signaling when a source is ready for air play, and controlling the playout system with a fader – these are all functions of WheatNet-IP and similar audio networks. In the case of WheatNet-IP, for example, a single Ethernet cable carries the real-time audio stream as well as network and device control messages and other metadata. AES67 covers the audio streams only.


With all this in mind, here are straightforward answers to the more common questions our engineers receive on AES67.

Why do we need AES67?

IP networking is easily one of the most ubiquitous technologies found in the world today. IP audio network manufacturers are able to take advantage of, and share in, many, many proven standards as a result.

So, why do we need one more standard?

Because the rules of IP packet distribution are not friendly to real-time audio. Synchronizing large amounts of data is the biggest problem. In the IP network, packets aren’t necessarily routed based on which packets were created first. That works fine for a typical office network, but without some sort of deterministic routing for the heavy traffic loads of the audio network, packets can become jumbled and delayed. This can cause jitter and packet loss or dropout. Audio network makers have had to work around this problem with tools like buffering and QoS to assure continuous audio transport. No two manufacturers solve this problem the same way, which has made it difficult for them to exchange audio between them.

What does AES67 do?

Almost all audio networks use a standard IP protocol called RTP (Real-Time Protocol) to create the proper packet order. RTP provides identification in the packets about their creation time and order but, for all the reasons stated above, it has been up to the IP audio network manufacturer to extract this information and to recreate the audio data and timing. Each differs in the specific packet loading, timing and synchronization mechanisms within the protocol.

AES67 has come along to provide the common synchronization, clock identification, session description and other interoperability recommendations we can all share. AES67 adapted the PTPv2 (Precision Time Protocol - IEEE 1588-2008) standard as the master clock reference, so we can more easily transport audio between our various systems without jitter, delay and data dropout. Check out this AES link for a full description. 

Does AES67 provide for discovery?

No. AES67 does not provide for a standard way to find and add devices to a network. Discovery is left up to each individual manufacturer, although most of the major players take a similar approach to finding and labeling components in the network. Most designate extra packets on the network to communicate discovery data and display it seamlessly to all users with signal names and other information easily created and recognizable to broadcasters.

Does AES67 provide for control?

No. AES67 is an audio transport standard only. Another standard or other standards are needed for full interoperability of the control features of various audio networks. The AES-X210 task group, of which Wheatstone is a part, was formed for this reason. We recognize that gaining access to hundreds of channels of audio on a network is useless if you can’t route them, turn them on or off, fire their playback, or turn an ON AIR light on when needed. Currently, to accomplish this, IP audio network manufacturers use packets to communicate command and control. Each system is different, and sometimes an ancillary PC is used for this and sometimes the intelligence is built right into the network devices, as is the case for our WheatNet-IP system.

Control is built into each WheatNet-IP connection point that is shared with other IP connection points across the network, giving you access to all sources at once as well as the presets and any associated logic that go along with each feed for controlling mic ON/OFF, changing remote mic settings for IFB, and processing and other parameters. (There we go again!)

Does AES67 pay it forward?

Yes. AES67 is extensible, meaning that you will be able to add to it as situations change. Any standard that results from AES-X210 or a similar group will add on to, not replace, AES67.

Wheatstone Navigator How To Videos

In this video series, we show you how to easily acoomplish often-used tasks in Navigator.

Videos in this series (click to watch):

• Light A Spare Button LED With A Salvo v2

• Using a Spare Button to Fire a Salvo Tutorial

• Creating a Salvo Tutorial

• Machine Start Tutorial

• Crosspoint Indicators Tutorial

• Configuring Programmable Buttons and LEDs Tutorial

Your Cheat Sheet to Part 101 Wireless IP STLs

WNIP PART101_2560Part 101 frequencies have been used by businesses and others for some time. But not until 2011, when the FCC abolished the so-called “last link rule” precluding broadcasters from using these bands, did broadcasters have access to these frequencies for wireless IP STLs.

Licensed IP wireless systems (Part 101 6 GHz or 11 GHz) are useful as a main STL, such as when a station is moving and re-upping their STL in a market where 950 MHz frequencies are hard to get.


By putting up an IP link from the studio to the transmitter, your transmitter site immediately becomes part of your Ethernet network. “It’s almost like from an IP standpoint, that tower is sitting as part of your building now,” said Jeff Holdenrid, who specializes in wireless IP for broadcast and other emerging markets for DoubleRadius engineering firm. Jeff has installed dozens of wireless IP microwave systems with our WheatNet-IP audio network in the past five years, most averaging in the 20 to 25 mile range.

A WheatNet-IP IP88D BLADE into an IP wireless radio can run 8 stereo channels across a wireless IP link and still have enough bandwidth left over for video surveillance, VoIP, remote control and other periphery functions.

A licensed-frequency system is likely to be full duplex and its throughput consistent. A 100 Mbps IP wireless radio on a licensed frequency will operate at 100 Mbps whether its range is six miles or 20 miles.

One of the reasons licensed-frequency IP wireless radios are able to maintain throughput is because of adaptive modulation. “Whereas most Part 74 radios are on or off, they work or don’t, in the IP world they work at a slower speed. They’ll slow down to stay alive. That’s another advantage of what they do. If you have a 100 meg radio, and only need 50 megs, you have room to step down,” explains Jeff.

Planning for Throughput

But while greater output power doesn’t necessarily mean that you can go farther, it does often mean better signal strength and subsequently, being able to drop down in dish size to put less load on the tower. “If you’re renting space on a tower, and you can get away with a 4’ dish instead of a 6’, you’ve just saved thousands a month in rental fees for tower space,” says Jeff.

To determine how much throughput you’ll need for a licensed or unlicensed system, Jeff suggests you start with 100 Mbps per station and then add on current requirements such as whether or not you’ll need VoIP capability or video surveillance transmitted back from the transmitter site. He recommends planning for another 20 to 40 percent above that for any new requirements bound to pop up in the next several years.

Some of the unlicensed IP wireless radios and all of the licensed radios provide software upgrades that let you scale up in throughput, starting at 250 Mbps and scaling up to as much as 1 gigabit.

Licensing for Part 101

Applying for Part 101 licensed frequency for your wireless IP STL is fairly straightforward and quick. “We do a PCN – power coordination notice – just like they traditionally do with 7 gig, 13 or 950. We find channels available and issue a PCN. Once the PCN is clear, which usually takes two to four weeks, then you file. Once you file, as long as you’re not within 10 miles of a U.S. border, meaning Canada or Mexico, you have conditional approval to start operating,” comments Jeff, who says in most markets, frequencies are readily available.

Installing Part 101 Systems

For Part 101 systems, there are three different setups: all indoors, where 100 percent of the electronics and radio components are indoors and you run flexible waveguide cable up the tower to the antennas. These installs are a lot like traditional Part 74s, and can get somewhat pricey. A step down is the split system, where the radio is located up near the antenna, but the connections – Ethernet, fiber and T1 connections - are on the ground, which brings down your cost. All-outdoor installations are when 100 percent of the equipment is on the tower, which lowers costs even more.