The World's Finest Audio for Broadcast

Sporting IP at IMG

IMG Sports BenBlevins 300We have been told that some of the best moves in sports happen right inside the broadcast studio. IMG World, the ESPN of collegiate sports broadcasting, shows us a few. Incredibly, IMG delivers 40-plus games to up to 2,200 radio affiliates out of one studio complex on any given Saturday. 

Ben Blevins, the engineer in charge of collegiate sports network IMG World, tells us they’ve literally moved an entire sports broadcast into a different studio while it was live, on the air. And, not one fan noticed.  

That’s an impressive display of studio athleticism, and brave too, considering that sports fans can get rather vocal about even minor disruptions in the game.


IMG Sports BLADES 300

“We do all kinds of interesting things with IP audio,” says Blevins, who has one of the largest WheatNet-IP audio networks with more than 75 I/O BLADEs and dozens of IP audio surfaces for IMG’s 48-studio sports complex in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

IMG is transporting live sports as it happens and sending it across the ether or satellite to IMG’s centralized studio for final production – a model for producing large volumes of live content that television broadcasters are just now beginning to adopt.  

On any given Saturday, IMG produces 40-plus games, each with one or two sportscasters reporting in from different ball parks and fields anywhere in the nation -- all fed directly into IMG’s Winston-Salem’s studio complex, where it is all produced and redistributed to any number of its 2,200 affiliate radio stations.

Incredibly, says Blevins, “We haven’t missed a play in I don’t know how long.”

It’s not uncommon to find 30 board ops and producers with hands moving across Wheatstone E-6 boards like greased lightning as they segue between highlights, real plays and in-field announcers. They can be broadcasting a game live one minute and then pick up a highlight and drop it in for a halftime play the next. All of it is managed through the WheatNet-IP studio network, including all logic control for creating salvos and macros, starting and stopping contact relays and controlling faders.

Add to this a new “Red Zone” channel called IMG College Football Blitz that features highlights from any one of the football games, sometimes as they happen, and things can get positively electrifying. Producers now do all the above, plus cue up various game highlights in succession – panning from Los Angeles to South Bend in an instant, all while punching up post-game or coach comments and highlights from game to game.

To help producers navigate it all in real-time and on the fly, Blevins recently used a new WheatNet-IP audio network application called Screen Builder to build out a customized virtual interface that interfaces to the entire 48-studio network in order to grab the highlights, comments and plays for the Blitz channel. “We built it so that it’s touchscreen and they have their own little headphone mixer, where they can route around to different studios, listen to multiple games and decide where the game is going next,” he explains.

The Screen Builder app has faders, meters, labels, buttons, clocks, timers and other widgets connected to devices on the network that Blevins arranged on a PC screen to create a custom control panel.

IMG Sports Main Room 300With something like 35,000 hours of live sports production – and counting -- for 55 college sports networks including Norte Dame, UCLA and Duke University, Blevins is staying ahead of the game with every technological advantage he can find. IMG represents more than 200 college sports properties, including the NCAA and its 89 championships as well as college and university football, baseball, basketball and other sports teams for 2,200 radio affiliates.



IMG Sports ScreenBuilderApp 300

Screen Builder at IMG

This is the screen that Ben Blevins built using Screen Builder, a new app for WheatNet-IP. He designed this customized interface to help his producers navigate over a dozen sports games, often in real-time and on the fly, for a new “Red Zone” channel called IMG College Football Blitz that features highlights from college football coast to coast. “There’s a production assistant that moves around the building and coordinates with the producer to acquire post-game, post-coach comments or other highlights from any of the games being producted (anywhere in IMP’s 48-stsudio complex),” explains Blevins. “We built this little all-in-one access panel so they can have access to everybody at once as a sort of intercom, complete with their own headphone mix to monitor all that is going on and to drive the show where it’s going next.”

Wheatstone Acquires Audion Labs, VoxPro

VoxProCongratsSplashForWheatPageNEW BERN, NC, USA (October 5, 2015) – Representing once again the vision and now the voice of the broadcast industry, Wheatstone Corporation announces today the acquisition of Audion Labs and with it, the industry’s beloved VoxPro digital audio editor.

Wheatstone leads the industry in IP audio networking as the innovator of WheatNet-IP, a complete, end-to-end IP audio network comprising audio consoles, routing, mixing, processing, silence detection and logic control. Audion’s VoxPro is a staple in radio studios as one of the few broadcast-specific digital voice editors designed to record and quickly edit phone calls on the fly for on-air broadcast. Both dominate in the U.S. in their respective product categories, often as part of an integrated system.

“This is a terrific little company that with one product has made a big difference in the day-today operations of most radio stations today,” says Wheatstone CEO Gary Snow. Audion’s VoxPro is a PC based software program with optional control panel surface developed to facilitate rapid-fast audio editing. Its intuitive layout has endeared the VoxPro to on-air broadcast talent everywhere, significantly reducing a typical call-in editing session. “Other professional editors are like bringing a machine gun to a stick fight,” says Snow. Now as part of Wheatstone, VoxPro will benefit from the company’s 24/7 support and distribution channel that includes a worldwide footprint spanning the United States, France, UK, Germany, Scandinavia, Middle East, North Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, India, China, and Malaysia. “With VoxPro now in the Wheatstone fold, it can go global and continue to be the powerful, creative broadcast tool it was designed to be,” says Charlie Brown, who created the first VoxPro editor in the early 1990s while working as a Seattle morning radio personality and went on to found the Audion Labs company in 1994. “We couldn’t ask for a better team to take on the care and growth of the VoxPro brand,” he adds.

Wheatstone and Audion Labs have enjoyed a longstanding relationship over the years, resulting in the integration of the VoxPro editor into the WheatNet-IP audio network environment for online sharing, editing and archiving audio files. Audion Labs will remain a separate brand entity under Wheatstone. Rick Bidlack, Audion Labs’ Chief Technology Officer, will remain with the company and operate from his office in Seattle,Washington.

VoxPro adds to Wheatstone’s large family of broadcast studio lines that include Vorsis and Audioarts Engineering brand names, as well as IP audio networking, control surfaces, talent stations, audio processing, software applications, and other products developed and designed specifically for broadcast.

Visit Audion Labs' site and check out VoxPro!

Meet Vox Pro - Rick Bidlack & Jay Tyler Introduce You

VoxPro Video thumb 670

In this video, we'll introduce you to VoxPro, the de facto standard audio recorder/editor for live radio broadcast use. It’s hard to walk into any radio studio in the world today and not see VoxPro next to the console.

Rick Bidlack (the programmer behind VoxPro) and Wheatstone's Jay Tyler give you a quick overview of the product, and why it fits into radio studios so perfectly.

Clearing the Air on Loudness

Did we hear you say, “Let’s start an audio cleanliness war?”

BoxingAirAuraX3 2560sm“I want to start an audio cleanliness war…Who is with me?”

It was music to our ears when we saw these words posted on the Facebook “I Love Broadcast Audio Processing” discussion page recently.

If only!

In many ways, we at Wheatstone have been slowly working our way toward that day when ears no longer bleed and modulation monitors look like they’re glued to 100%.

So while we’ve built into our audio processors the tools you need for both a loud and an open and clear sound on the dial, so much more can be done. Even with so many AirAura’s, VP-8’s and FM-55’s in the field, it’s time to talk about what it takes to create clean audio on the radio -- something that can be applied no matter what type of processor you use.



  1. Make sure that your source material is linear. Storage is cheap. There’s no reason to use lossy audio codecs on the air. It’s said that cleaning up your source material can have the same impact as getting a new on-air processor.
  2. Set standards. Having a set of standards in place for production is paramount for a consistent sound. When people come in and record anything at any level they want, or add equalization while others don’t, this adds up to a poor overall sound on the air.
  3. Weed out unnecessary equipment. Your on-air signal could be passing through two or three devices in the air chain that are no longer needed, but no one took the time to remove or bypass. Go over your air chain and simplify it as much as possible. The less gear the on-air signal needs to pass through, the better.
  4. Optimize STL paths. It’s not always possible to have a linear path, but when you can, do so. Also, you will get better results almost every time when you use composite over discreet AES left and right. The stereo generator in a modern audio processor is almost always better than one built into an exciter. Of course, with Wheatstone processing and the right exciter, you can have both AES and composite!
  5. Maintain your transmitter. Transmitter site maintenance is key in making sure your station sounds good. Proof of performance, while no longer required, is still a good idea. The engineer and the transmitter building should not be strangers!

Your processor can do amazing things, but only when it’s fed amazing audio and feeding a linear path. If you haven’t had time to focus on your audio plant, make yourself an early New Year’s resolution to do so!


IBC 3 2000This year's IBC was a great show for Wheatstone. We made many new friends from more than 80 countries.

We came home with not one, but TWO Best of Show awards - one for our Network EDGE that is extending AoIP beyond the studio, and one for our Gibraltar IP Mix Engine that is opening up IP connectivity to TV broadcasters.

This recognition means so much to us because we know that the judges for NewBay’s IBC2015 Best of Show awards are industry experts and working engineers, like you.

IBC: Engineers Choose Wheatstone BEST OF SHOW!

At IBC, judges are comprised of engineers and industry experts who spend a great deal of time poring over every considered product before they choose a winner. So, it’s great news when they select your gear! This year, we are proud to have won TWO NewBay Media Best of Show Awards from Radio World International and TV Technology Europe!

This recognition means so much to us because we know that the judges for NewBay’s IBC2015 Best of Show awards are industry experts and working engineers, like you.

Only the best of the best are chosen – products that solve real problems, that can hold up to the demands of broadcasting, and that are innovative and cost effective. Congratulations to our engineers who worked so hard to bring these innovative solutions to fruition and thanks to the industry we serve for recognizing all of our hard work. 

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For Radio, the award goes to our Network EDGE, which lets you use IP wireless radios to establish STLs (and more)! 


TVT-Europe-award-photo 420BOS-TVTEFor Television, the award goes to our Gibraltar IP Mix Engine which sets new standards in IP audio networking.


Audio for Golf?

How IP audio networking can help make one of the toughest jobs in broadcast sports an easy 36 under par.

Golf Mic Shot 2560Golf is one of the toughest assignments in broadcast sports. Depending upon how much coverage you want to provide for an 18-hole course, you’re going to want to cover all the tees and all the holes – that’s 36 audio locations spread over as many as 200 or more acres! And each location is going to need several mics to cover the wide dynamic range of the sport, from the swoosh of the club to the crowd roaring. That’s a lot of coverage!

Then there’s possible fairway coverage or folks out with remotes, and before long you are up over 100 or more audio feeds from the course. Add the announcers, IFB, and different crowd mics, and we are talking some serious audio.


IP audio networking has greatly reduced the strain associated with such an event. For example, our WheatNet-IP audio networking makes grabbing audio and controlling audio at each point a lot easier. All you need is a BLADE-3 as your audio interface at each hole and other access points along with an Ethernet switch, which can connect to your truck or onsite studio console through fiber optic cable.

GolfCourseShot 2560We’ve been told it’s like dropping in a full studio at each hole!

Each BLADE-3 has built-in and programmable mix-minuses for full IFB support, and gives you control over everything you could possibly want to do with your audio, including integrating it into your overall IP network (now, or when you adopt one).

Because BLADEs have virtual mixers built-in, mixing and controlling audio at each hole is possible – in realtime from wherever you like, whether it’s from your remote truck or your studio.

No complication. No big boxes. No Bogeys (but some Mulligans if you need them).

Here’s what you’ll need, in addition to mics and headsets:

    GolfEquipmentShot 2560
  1. BLADE-3 Audio Interface. With the Mic BLADE, you’ve got audio I/O, eight mic preamps, two 8x2 virtual mixers, audio and control routing matrix, source and destination control, gigabit connectivity, 12 GPI/O ports, 128 software logic ports,
 full programmability, auto mono summing, full AES67 compatibility,
 signal splitting, ACI, and so much more - all controllable from the console at the truck or studio. It’s kinda like dropping in a full studio at each hole.
  2. Managed Gigabit 
Ethernet Switch.
You may already have one 
at some of the holes for 
cameras if you are up to speed on IP networking. If not, they are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by.
  3. Fiber Optic Cable. You’ll need some heavy duty cable - like OCC B04 tactical breakout - stuff that is really rugged AND lightweight. Setup and teardown is fast and easy.


Split-Surface LX-24 Shows at IBC

LX24 DUAL FRAME CONSOLE 670Shown at IBC in Amsterdam... It's a split-surface LX-24! Need more inputs? Want to arrange your workstation in exactly the intutive and efficient way you want to use it? Here you go. LX-24 – now in a table-top split format!