WheatNews October 2020

WHEAT:NEWS OCTOBER 2020  Volume 11, Number 10

Our Emmy

Covershot

This showed up at our door earlier this month with our name on it and we’ve been pinching ourselves ever since. 

The Television Academy gave us this Emmy Award for our contribution to the “development of synchronized multichannel uncompressed audio transport over IP networks!” 

Wheatstone’s earliest AoIP device was a plug-in card for our TDM network. That was the first blush of what was to come − using Ethernet instead of soundcards. Now, of course, AoIP is the backbone of just about every modern broadcast plant today. 

Because of the AES task force, we now have an important AoIP standard: AES67. 

Congratulations to all our developers at Wheatstone, to the Audio Engineering Society, and to our industry friends for this shared recognition of our work and others' work on AoIP.

Our Vice President Andrew Calvanese will be accepting this prestigious award on behalf of Wheatstone during the 71st Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards Ceremony taking place on Wednesday, Oct 21st at 4 p.m. as part of the NAB NY Show. You can view the ceremony by going to Watch.TheEmmys.TV.

When Zetta and WheatNet-IP Talk

Bonneville SF 007What you’re looking at is an LXE console and the upcoming playlist for KFOX, San Francisco. What you can’t see here is Bonneville Bay Area’s RCS G Selector and Zetta automation system talking to the LXE console through WheatNet-IP’s ACI protocol. 

ACI is what makes it possible for automation systems and other devices to talk back and forth with any hardware or software element in the WheatNet-IP network. ACI operates over the network via TCP/IP and because of it, operators at KFOX and elsewhere can fully automate their Zetta commands and functions as part of the studio AoIP. 

Bonneville Bay Area’s new facility is one for the history books as not only having been built during a pandemic, but also for its open concept AoIP design

KING TOUR DSC 0389

Click on the thumbnail above for a gallery of images from Bonneville Bay Area's studios

SNMP. It’s In the BLADE.

Bonneville SF 007

Just about anything that hangs off an IP network can be monitored using Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

SNMP can tell you if a particular port is dropping packets or if a device is heating up and in danger of thermal shutdown. It can show you data packets coming in or going out, by the port, from mic processors on out to the transmitter.

Not all network devices, or even IP audio networks, have SNMP monitoring capability. They need to generate MIB, or Management Information Base, files. For example, the BLADE I/O access units that make up our WheatNet-IP network each have a unique MIB file with hundreds of data points, and each BLADE has a unique object address in the network for SNMP monitoring and alert purposes.

This data can be useful for notifying you by email or text if silence is detected by a critical BLADE in the network, for example.

The MIB file tells about the operation of the BLADE or group of BLADEs, such as packet rates, changing bitrates or operating temperatures and overall health of the BLADE. (For security reasons, we’ve set some of these data points as read-only, while others are set as read-and-write and therefore can be manipulated and controlled.) Other MIB files for servers and switches contain relevant data pertinent to the operation of those units. MIB data can be organized by the device or grouped in tables for viewing, say, a particular stream of data running across the network.

Individual sensor

This is an example of the kind of data SNMP can show you. This shows all the data associated with a single sensor monitoring traffic on a fiber link. Viewed in PRTG (Paessler Router Traffic Grapher).

To view MIB files, you will need a MIB browser, which can tell you things like if the fan speed in a particular server is inadequate and needs replacement. But if you want to do more with SNMP, you’ll need an SNMP management tool that lets you manipulate MIB data using basic SNMP commands such as GET, SET and TRAP. By sending a TRAP message, for example, the client device can alert the SNMP manager to conditions like a CPU that’s overheating, if a router port is no longer responding or if a hard drive is approaching full status. If you don’t already have an SNMP manager, there are several decent freeware suites like this one and several like this one by Paessler that you can download on a free trial.

Our field engineers work regularly with SNMP, and can answer most of your questions about setting up an SNMP monitoring and alerting system for your WheatNet-IP network that will work for your purposes.

 

Audio Matters and Methods

REAR v3 flat

George Lucas once said that sound is 50 percent of the movie-going experience. 

That certainly leaves little doubt to the importance of audio for those of you in broadcasting who don’t have CGI and visual theatrics at your beck and call. 

The key building blocks of great audio for broadcast involves sound engineering techniques. Here are a few we developed for our full line of audio processors for miking, streaming, AM, FM and TV. 

LimitLess clipper: High frequency pre-emphasis has always been the bane of the FM processor’s existence; one of the main reasons why processors can’t push the clipper harder is because of the pre-emphasized higher end frequencies. So we re-thought the relationship between peak control and HF pre-emphasis! Our LimitLess clipper for the X5 FM/HD audio processor uses proprietary high-frequency distortion cancelling technology to pass the highs, without the associated “spittiness,” pops or other IM distortion from clipping. 

Adaptive multiband AGC: You’ll find iAGC in most of our processors as it’s an effective first line of defense for the wide level variations found in today’s source music. We call this our intelligent AGC because to be truly effective today, an AGC needs to make decisions about both the amplitude and dynamics of source material. If a particular cut is too dense, the iAGC knows to relax the processing so that dense material doesn’t sound “double processed.” If a song needs more punch, the iAGC knows to make real time adjustments to “program match” it to yield a consistent audio signature. Furthermore, by coupling the iAGC with compression or limiting, we are able to produce a much more consistent, spectrally-balanced sound regardless of density variations. Read on. 

Multiband spectral compression: Since the dawn of the multiband AGC/Compressor/Limiter, the goal has been to improve tonal consistency and increase loudness by making algorithms smarter and, in turn, making the effects of multiband control less audible. Our iAGC is the first stage in this process. The iAGC uses a very smart  algorithm and we collect a lot of data from it, as we mentioned above. With this, we can modify the processing behavior based on the dynamics and amplitude characteristics of the incoming program. But what if we could also use that data to affect compression and limiting down the chain? In fact, we do. We use the data from the iAGC to dynamically adjust multiband compression to yield a much better tonal balance, cut to cut, without it sounding over-equalized, artificial or “boxed in.” 

Unified processing: For many of our later model processors, functions in the processing chain interact closely with each other so they can be informed by and react according to what each is doing. Sharing information between the various stages of audio processing reduces ‘over-processing.’ 

Specific tools for streaming: Streaming lives by a different set of processing rules. Codecs used for streaming content can multiply the byproducts of aggressive clipping and limiting, which is why we use a special AGC and limiter in our StreamBlade to get a fuller sound through encoders. 

Bass you can feel: We love deep, bottomless bass. But we also love crisp, clear highs, and we have found a way to get both. The result is increased depth, feel, and clarity of bass, without affecting mid and high frequencies. 

Watermark tip-in, for inserting the ratings encoder after the processing chain instead of before it. This increases the likelihood of ratings meters picking up the signal without audibly interfering with the listener experience. 

Total Linear Phase Chain: Our X5 FM/HD audio processor uses linear phase filtering exclusively throughout the chain to increase energy and dynamics without adding the ugly coloration of phase distortion that fatigues listeners. With coloration no longer a byproduct of filtering, dynamics and depth are increased for a more natural sounding program. 

Super Quiet preamps for mic processing: For our mic processing line, we use Super Quiet preamplifiers that have an extremely low noise floor, very wide dynamic range, faithfully accurate transient response, and ruler flat frequency response. 

Baseband 192: Our FM audio processors include baseband192 technology for direct AES/EBU output into any FM transmitter equipped with a digital baseband input. Baseband192 digitizes the entire multiplex spectrum, including RDS and SCAs, clearing the last obstacle to a 100% digital air chain.

HD/FM alignment: Integrated HD and FM analog signal alignment keeps listeners and people meters tuned in to your station even during extreme HD/FM blending conditions.

Multipath mitigation: We use adaptive stereo width management to reduce the multipath blending in car stereos and to give the listener a predictable soundstage.

AoIP connectivity/routing: Many of our audio processing products have a WheatNet-IP interface. In addition, our WheatNet-IP audio network I/O BLADEs have AGC, limiting and EQ dynamics built in, making these processing tools available at every I/O connection point in the AoIP network. 

Wheatstone has a full audio processing line, each product uniquely designed for miking, streaming, AM or FM. We even have audio processing tools built into our AoIP I/O units. 

GSX. The Console that 2020 Built.

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GSX Remote Labels ms 091020

GSX GUI Screens
Here is the console that 2020 built. The GSX console surface is the first fully reprogrammable console to come out of 2020 that addresses the broadcast workflows deeply affected by the events of the past year. 

Based on our LXE console surface, the 24-channel GSX has reprogrammable soft buttons and touchscreen control. It has tap-through menuing, onboard OLED displays, and optional Remote GSX client software that can be set up at home or elsewhere to mirror and remotely control the GSX physical console at the station studio. 

GSX integrates with existing WheatNet-IP audio networks and the new Blade 4, our fourth generation WheatNet-IP I/O unit and another new product to come out of 2020 that includes new AoIP tools such as integrated encoding, interoperability and redundancy.

Check out the video below – Jay Tyler talks to Paul McLane about the new GSX.

Wheatstone on Radio World Fall Product Preview • Jay Tyler Previews GSX

Paul McLane interviewed Jay Tyler for Radio World's Fall Product Preview, and Jay introduced Wheatstone's new GSX Console.

Compare All of Wheatstone's Remote Solutions

REMIXWe've got remote solutions for virtually every networkable console we've built in the last 20 years or so. For basic volume, on/off, bus assign, logic, it's as easy as running an app either locally with a good VPN, or back at the studio, using a remote-access app such as Teambuilder to run.

Check out the chart below, and/or click here to learn more on our Remote Solutions web page.

Remote Solutions Video Demonstrations

Jay Tyler recently completed a series of videos demonstrating the various solutions Wheatstone offers for remote broadcasting.

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Click for a Comparison Chart of All Wheatstone Remote Software Solutions

The Wheatstone online parts store is now open! You can purchase spare cards, subassemblies, modules and other discontinued or out-of-production components for Wheatstone, Audioarts, PR&E and VoxPro products online, or call Wheatstone customer support at 252-638-7000 or contact the Wheatstone technical support team online as usual. 

The store is another convenience at wheatstone.com, where you can access product manuals, white papers and tutorials as well as technical and discussion forums such as its AoIP Scripters Forum

 

Featured Demo Gear In The Wheatstone Store Right Now:

PR&E Oasis
Console

OASIS

$5,995.00
$1,250.00

PR&E Netwave
Console

RMX

$8,995.00
$1,500.00

PR&E Impulse 20
Console

RMX

$8,995.00
$1,450.00

Wheatstone
FM-531HD Processor

RMX

$7,995.00
$2,000.00

Wheatstone AirAura X3 Processor

RMX

$13,995.00
$5,000.00

MAKING SENSE OF THE VIRTUAL STUDIO COVERMaking Sense of the Virtual Studio
SMART STRATEGIES AND VIRTUAL TOOLS FOR ADAPTING TO CHANGE

Curious about how the modern studio has evolved in an IP world? Virtualization of the studio is WAY more than tossing a control surface on a touch screen. With today's tools, you can virtualize control over almost ANYTHING you want to do with your audio network. This free e-book illustrates what real-world engineers and radio studios are doing. Pretty amazing stuff.

AdvancingAOIP E BookCoverAdvancing AOIP for Broadcast
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF EMERGING STANDARDS SUCH AS AES67 VIA AUDIO OVER IP TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR BROADCAST FACILITY

Putting together a new studio? Updating an existing studio? This collection of articles, white papers, and brand new material can help you get the most out of your venture. Best of all, it's FREE to download!

IP TV EBOOK COVER

IP Audio for TV Production and Beyond

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MANAGING MORE CHANNELS, MORE MIXES, AND MORE REMOTE VENUES

For this FREE e-book download, we've put together this e-book with fresh info and some of the articles that we've authored for our website, white papers, and news that dives into some of the cool stuff you can do with a modern AoIP network like Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP. 

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-- Uncle Wheat, Editor

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