Wheatstone

The World's Finest Audio for Broadcast

Wheatstone: Audio Consoles, Processing, Networking

If it's audio broadcast, it's happening at Wheatstone. We manufacture broadcast audio products, from digital consoles, control surfaces and Audioarts mixers to fully integrated audio over IP (AoIP) and TDM routing systems as well as spectral audio processing for on air and over the internet, plus a wide variety of studio and broadcast wares for radio, television and commercial installations.

Installed in more broadcast facilities than any other console brand, Wheatstone and Audioarts provide complete  program access and control for your broadcast facility. Mission Critical. Failsafe. Bulletproof – just some of the words people use to describe our studio products. Friendly. Knowledgeable. Exceptionally cool – just some of the words used to describe our people.

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://wheatstone.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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Wheatstone BLADEFEST

Enhancing System Performance

September 2014: Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP Engineers get together to try and break a huge system assembled to be representative of all our control surfaces, many, many BLADES and processors, as they'd be used in a very large installation. In the process, they make the products faster, better, and stronger. We called it BLADEFEST. And the engineers who took part were our BLADE RUNNERS...

The above video documents the process. The article below (expanded here) appears in the Jan/Feb 2015 edition of Radio Guide Magazine. 

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Video: Setting Up the IP-12

Just how easy is it to set up a typical Wheatstone AoIP console? Wonder no more. In this series of videos, Jay Tyler takes you through the whole process of unboxing and setting up an IP-12 in surprisingly little time!

Here's part one: Unboxing.

SEE ADDITIONAL VIDEO SEGMENTS...


Part 2: Cabling Up and Powering Up


Part 3: Configuring and Getting Audio


Part 4: Interfacing Details

 

A Look at Leighton

Leighton-1-420Our Darrin Paley says he couldn’t recall a moment when someone wasn’t sitting in front of a microphone as he snapped these shots of the Leighton Broadcasting studios during his recent visit to St. Cloud. Designed by Rob Goldberg, who is well-known in the area for his signature studios, the control rooms and newsroom for four Leighton stations (KCLD-FM, WILD-FM, KCML-FM and KNSI-AM) are networked and controlled through the WheatNet-IP audio network.

Leighton Broadcasting also has stations in Detroit Lakes and Grand Forks. The group’s Director of Engineering, Tony Abfalter, says he has just about every one of our BLADE I/O access units, and a good many of our control surfaces, including E-1s, L-12s, IP-12s, LX-24s and SideBoards. The group was also one of the first to receive our new FM-55 audio processor, in addition to owning AirAura X3 and AM-10HD audio processors.

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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Hand it Over, Internet

WheatTie CLOUDS 420If you’re thinking about handing over program distribution to the public internet, Brian Kerkan of Crawford Broadcasting has some advice for you.

Do yourself a favor and oversubscribe on bandwidth if you’re not able to set up a guaranteed QoS network, he says. His group in Detroit is paying around $100 a month for 20 megabits/second upstream.

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Crawford Denver Upgrades with WheatNet-IP

hoppWriting in the October 8, 2014 issue of Radio World, Amanda Hopp of Crawford Broadcasting in Denver described her recent production studio upgrade using WheatNet-IP Audio-over-IP networking. You can download a reprint of the article below, courtesy of the publisher.

icon Building an AoIP Network with BLADEs (947.19 kB 2014-11-21 15:40:29)

LPFM and the Audio Arts

ARTxFM v2You know that good feeling you get when your significant other surprises you with tickets to a game or gets your Starbucks order right?

Well, here it is, in the form of a note from new LPFMer ARTxFM posted on our Facebook page:

We just LOVE our AudioArts Air 1 --- perfect starter board for our new LPFM - WXOX 97.1 FM Louisville!!!

Congratulations to Sharon Scott, Sean Selby, Tim Barnes and all the others at ARTxFM, on their new non-profit LPFM after three years of hard work and involvement in the Louisville, Kentucky, music community. We love your experimental music format, your shows and the fact that you’re out there in the community covering the music scene. We’re listening.

Wheatstone Holiday Video Greeting

HolidayVideoThumb

It's that time of year again, and with the winter chill comes the warmth of our now-traditional Wheatstone video greeting card. (I must say that Mike Harris and the surface-mount department have absolutely stolen the show this year!) From our Wheatstone family to yours, we'd like to wish you peace and joy this holiday season, and a very happy and prosperous 2015.

Mike Erickson is THAT Processing Guy

Mike Erickson_2012a_800

AirAuraX3 420NAB FM55 670Writing in the October 15 issue of Radio World, Wheatstone's Mike Erickson describes what it's like to be "that guy," the one who arrives in town with an audio processor under his arm and delivers on the promises.Here's a reprint, courtesy of Radio World.

 icon Mike Erickson is That Processing Guy (824.47 kB 2014-11-12 11:58:38)

Wheatstone In Moscow

Our Jay Tyler, John Terrey, and Karina Pogosian jetted off to Moscow last month to attend the broadcast conference there. Yes, Jay got a new hat.

JAY HAT 200

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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..

Quick Stop at WXXI

Web WXXI_FM_SCOTT_REGAN_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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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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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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