WheatNews July 2019

WHEAT:NEWS JULY 2019  Volume 10, Number 7

5 AoIP Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do

Wheatstone WNIP Chart Horizontal 7 17 19

Under the heading of Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do are a slew of AoIP capabilities, some new and others that have been around for some time but haven’t made the list until now.   

Here are five AoIP uses you should know about according to our Jay Tyler, who has been involved in hundreds of studio projects.

He starts with extending native audio IP beyond the studio’s four walls. You’re probably already doing some of this for remotes and other smaller scale applications given today’s AoIP systems and IP audio codecs. You might even be thinking of pushing native IP out farther to reap some cost savings, such as consolidating several station operations into one large regional studio complex or as an ISDN replacement. 

 

SWITCHBLADE FRONT VIEW FULRES

Go Farther 

What you might not know is that you don’t have to wait to go the full distance. For example, a new AoIP appliance for our WheatNet-IP audio network called SwitchBlade combines AoIP logic and control with audio codecs controlled by SIP, so you can send and receive program streams complete with the logic needed to turn mics on or off, set levels and adjust EQ dynamics from the studio end to the far end. This can be especially helpful for sharing VOs and bumpers between sister stations and sports venues or for putting everything operation related into one centralized studio for several stations scattered across a region. 

“We don’t care where music lives. We can pull it in or we can control it remotely. We can mix it remotely, send it to your transmitter site, bypass the studios, whatever you want us to do, we can now do it using a combination of AoIP logic controls, codecs and connectivity,” explained Jay. 

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Go Virtual 

No doubt you know about virtual mixers. You might even have one or two in your studio, thanks to AoIP. But did you know that you can now set up UIs into the WheatNet-IP audio network for just about any purpose? UIs can be simple, like a screen for switching over to a remote codec feed. Or they can be more complex, such as a browser-like interface for monitoring and switching signals across multiple stations and remote sites in a complicated signal chain. They can sit on desktops, as in the case of an entire news workstation on a flatscreen, and they can monitor, switch, trigger, mix, and segue between feeds independently from anywhere, without you ever having to touch a single physical fader. 

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Go SNMP 

Just about anything that hangs off an IP network can be monitored by SNMP, which can be exceptionally useful for issuing warning alerts like 'a particular port is dropping packets' or 'a device is heating up and about to fail.' Servers, switches, and hubs are all SNMP capable, as are many transmitters and remote broadcast gear as well as IP audio networks like WheatNet-IP. All SNMP capable devices have a Management Information Base (MIB) file with relevant data that can tell you if a CPU is overheating, a router port is not responding or a hard drive is approaching full status. In the case of the WheatNet-IP audio network, it can tell you traffic and component temperature information and can text or email you if silence is detected. 

PHONEBLADE BOX HEADONFlat

Go Ahead and Phone In

PhoneBladeControllerThe phone is in on it, too. You used to have to go through analog-digital conversions to bring a telephone line into the studio, but these days there’s VoIP and with VoIP you get native IP into the AoIP network. For example, our PhoneBlade connects VoIP phone systems directly into the WheatNet-IP audio network without telephone hybrids or other interfaces. PhoneBlade lines show up as sources/destinations in the WheatNet-IP NAVIGATOR software, and are therefore available on every WheatNet-IP console surface and monitor selector in the system. Indication of each line is available throughout the WheatNet-IP audio network and answer/hang up can be done by direct software logic (SLIO) control. All this means that you can split feeds, set up multiple sends, customize talkbacks, routing and conference feeds – all possible now that VoIP phones can connect directly into the native IP audio environment, said Jay. 

Go AES67

AES67 is no longer an afterthought. This audio transport standard is becoming an important part of the AoIP landscape as we move more and more audio between network systems. For example, WheatNet-IP handles native analog, microphone, AES/EBU, SPDIF, AoIP, MADI, SDI and AES67. Ingest just about any audio format into the WheatNet-IP audio network, and convert to just about any audio output – analog to digital, AES to IP, microphone to AoIP or MADI to AES67.

Also up and coming are complementary standards based on NMOS and AES70, which promise to add discovery, control and connection management to the interoperability mix. 

Audio Processing Tip from the Lab

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HD/FM Delay 

A significant delay between HD and FM audio signals is trouble. When your station blends from analog FM to HD and the signals are misaligned, whole parts of the broadcast could be missing or your listener might hear some of the broadcast repeated. (Read about one experience in this Wheat News article, A Bad Trip With Diversity Delay). It’s noticeable enough that you could lose a listener or two as a result. 

This can happen in the fringe areas as well as in the city where there’s multipath. Mod monitors include real-time diversity delay measurements that they hand off to the audio processor in order to correct this problem. We believe perfect HD/FM signal alignment is so critical to the viability of FM going forward that we’ve included both the real-time diversity delay measurement and correction in our X5 FM/HD audio processor. 

New Intercom? AES67 Hooks ‘Em Up.

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Something wonderful happened to Justin Strauber on his way to getting a new intercom system for ABC News 4 in Charleston, South Carolina. 

AES67.

image001Rather than go the usual route of converting to analog out of the AoIP system and then converting back to digital audio for the intercom, the CE plans to use AES67 to transport IP audio from the WheatNet-IP audio network in the studio to the station’s new intercom system. 

When we spoke with him, he hadn’t yet settled on an intercom system - but he had plenty of choices. RTS, Clear-Com and a number of other IP intercoms now have AES67, the audio transport standard that is supported by SMTPE-2110 and included in all major AoIP systems, our WheatNet-IP audio network among them.  

With native IP audio streaming between WheatNet-IP to the intercom, AES67 opens up a gateway into the ABC News 4 studio for transporting voice communications as well as other data. 

ABC News 4 has an E-6 mixing surface with WheatNet-IP audio networking, which Strauber recently rebooted for the first time since installing the system almost two years ago. He rebooted the system to establish the PTP v2 master clock in preparation of AES67 and a new intercom system coming soon.  

With SMPTE 2110 and ATSC 3.0 moving in, he says, “There’s a big push to move away from analog, and AES67 is a good step in that direction.”

Sound Check: Part 2, Dan Patrick’s Mancave

DanPartick 1Click the above image for a gallery.

By Dee McVicker

If you follow Dan Patrick in this studio tour of his new, 18,000-square-foot Mancave in Milford, Connecticut, you will notice that he starts out in the field house where the sound has that echo-y, big stadium feel. By the time he makes his way into the studio at the center of the facility, it sounds more like he’s talking to you from his living room. (One important note here: Dan is talking into a wireless mic that’s not part of the studio's usual processing). You’ll see square construction throughout, with outer courts serving as a natural sound barrier. 

You will also see a whole lot of wood, glass, fan art and toys – lots of toys. 

I think we can all agree that this isn’t your usual studio set, but then Jim Hibbard of Studio Builders isn’t your usual studio integrator. His background is in live recording and acoustic engineering, which is probably why he took a much different approach to sound design for Dan Patrick’s new Mancave. 

Working the Mic

Close-mike at six-inches to a foot away from talent, so goes the conventional wisdom for bringing warmth to vocals. Dan Patrick’s AKG 4000 certainly conforms to that norm, but that’s where conventional mike techniques end. I was surprised to learn that Jim almost never uses the mic bass roll off feature, which many audio engineers tell me is important to raise vocals above those bassy bass frequencies.

“The only time I roll off the low end is when I’m doing a remote,” he said. 

In fact, as mentioned last month, he adds low end (a “boatload”) and rolls off at 30 cycles. As for proximity effect and low frequency bass overpowering the vocal range, he relies on our M4IP-USB mic processor to handle all that.  “The downward expansion in the M4IP-USBs is how I get away with a lot of what I get away with,” he says. 

You can read more about how Jim’s techniques using our M4IP-USB mic processor and how he arrived at those techniques in the first part of our series Sound Check: Dan Patrick’s Mancave.   

Working the Acoustics 

Hibbard also took a unique approach to acoustic treatment. The common practice is to use a combination of sound absorption and diffusion for acoustic treatment. Reflection points are typically covered first, such as the sides of a room and the ceiling and floor. Big rooms might require added diffusion to the sides and the back. “Bass traps” are commonly used to absorb lower frequencies that might interfere with vocals. Placing these panels at 45 degrees across each corner, where boundaries are typically parallel to each other and sound build up generally pools, can significantly reduce low frequency interference. 

But, of course, Hibbard did none of the above for the Dan Patrick Mancave. Not that he didn’t try. “These radio/television combinations are all about the looks and all that wood paneling and all the toys left very little room for acoustic treatment.” He installed some vertical panels in the studio ceiling above the lights, but for overall acoustic treatment of the facility, it was all mainly dense wall and airspace. 

If you’ll look closely at the YouTube studio tour mentioned earlier, past all the fan art and toys, you’ll see a dense wall to the outside of the building and another between the two studios.  These are massively thick, solid walls similar to what you’d see on a sound stage. Hibbard constructed these massive walls out of Acoustiblok and dense MDF particle board. The large window that you see between the studios is made of heavy laminated glass that is essentially floating in the window frame at a 6-degree angle and lined with rubber all the way around and completely airtight. For insulation, he set in dense Rockwool instead of fiber glass.

Then again, if you haven’t made it past the fan art and toys in this video, we can certainly understand. Dan Patrick’s Mancave is a most unusual facility.  

You can read about techniques Jim Hibbard used to get that signature sound Dan Patrick is known for in Part I, Sound Check: Dan Patrick’s Mancave. Jim has an extensive background in live recording. He started Pacific Mobile Recorders, a 48-track mobile recording rig, more than 30 years ago. He’s built more than his share of recording studios and broadcast studios over the years, more recently as the owner of Studio Builders in Carmichael, California. He stopped counting studio builds at 700. Jim can be reached at Jim@studiobuilders.com. 

See Wheatstone at IBC 2019

IBC SHOW D1 FIBC is coming right up and as always, Wheatstone will be there with our latest and greatest gear. See us in  Hall 8, Stand C91 from 13 to 17 September, 2019. 

Click here for FREE registration to IBC 2019 exhibits - but do it before 16 August!

SCOTTIE RICE CREATES A NEW X5 PRESET

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So, what's the first thing that happens when you put a new X5 processor in front of someone who lives, breathes, and eats great audio? He tosses headphones on and goes to work. Here is KSDS' Scottie Rice dialing up a sound that made not just him, but all of San Diego and beyond whoop and hollar! 

Jeff Keith and Mike Erickson stopped in to visit this week, and sent us this shot of Scottie ignoring them, but clearly in processing bliss.

Video Spotlight: Cool Things You Can Do With VoxPro 7

Wheatstone's Rick Bidlack, VoxPro 7's guru and programmer, takes you through some of the really cool things you can do with VoxPro 7.

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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