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). The ideas flooded in and Gary ended up giving out two cookies. Here are just a few of the entries that earned our Jay Tyler and Kelly Parker a coveted cookie.

They’re unstoppable, those BLADEs. By connecting a WheatNet-IP BLADE I/O unit to each end of an IP wireless audio STL, you can continue IP audio from the studio to the transmitter site. IP radios connect to the switches on each end, which can connect to BLADEs already in use for managing audio and any devices hanging off the network. What’s more, if the IP radio should lose connection, our new third-generation BLADE-3 I/O access unit will not only detect silence, it can trigger the startup of playback audio stored on the BLADE-3 I/O unit itself.


“Automagic” mix-minus for fast-paced talk shows. For shared resources like a codec, our third-generation BLADE-3 I/O access units will ‘automagically’ give the proper return feed to the codec based on its destination. So, if you pull up the codec in Studio One, the mix-minus from Studio One will automatically and magically be routed to the return feed. Then, minutes later, when someone else calls up the same codec in Studio Two, the Studio Two mix-minus will be routed to that codec. How useful is that for those fast-paced call-in and live talk shows? 


OnBoardProcessingRoutable audio processing. Each of our new BLADE-3 I/O units includes a multiband processor useful for processing incoming audio from callers, remotes, codecs, satellite feeds and microphones. You can also use it to process output audio for headphones, web streams, pre-processors, IFB, or for level protection for STL applications. This is a routable processor that includes 4-band parametric equalizer, 3-way crossover, 3 compressors, 3 limiters, and final look-ahead limiter.

Utility-Mixers-3Doing the automation mix-down: BLADEs have two stereo 8 x 2 mixers that can be used to mix down multiple channels to a single output. Shown is a BLADE utility mixer being used to mix down multiple RCS automation channels to a stereo output, which can then be programmed as the automatic failover source in an emergency. This is also useful as a way to bypass the studio, so that with the push of a button or a command from the automation system, this output can feed the transmitter and free up the on-air studio for production or voice tracking, for example.

UtilityMixers2Mixers for mic groupings, talkback. One of those two stereo 8 x 2 utility mixers embedded in the BLADE can become a source or input to the system. This is useful for grouping several mics to a single output. You can use the output of each mixer as a talkback source.

Mixers for panning mic and caller feeds. And because the two stereo 8 x 2 mixers in the BLADE are independent of each other, they can feed audio to each other or to another BLADE. The output of mixer #1 can be brought up on a fader in mixer #2, for example. With balance control on each fader, this can be useful for recording a telephone mix with the “callers” on the left channel and the “announcers” on the right channel. The output of the mixer feeds the recording device.

WheatCPU Inside_350Anything’s possible with CPU inside: You’ll probably never see it, but you’ll definitely know there’s a powerful CPU complete with operating system inside each BLADE I/O unit. Which is why there’s no PC running the show, and why these guys can think for themselves. Plug in a BLADE, and it knows exactly what to do, where it’s at in the network hierarchy, and what to do should a power failure occur.

SNMPOh, and don’t forget the SNMP: Each BLADE includes SNMP for centralized monitoring of all BLADEs in a large distributed network. You can configure alarms and set thresholds in order to be notified should a problem occur and therefore respond with quick corrective actions through e-mail, SMS, traps and executing custom scripts. SNMP is a standard defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and is useful for monitoring network-attached devices like BLADEs.

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