Can you go camping in your RV and still get over 100 Megabit Internet? Bryan Jones can, and he joins us to show us how. Plus studio pics from hit107 and TripleM in Adelaide, Australia. And Chris Tobin reveals exactly what’s in his “Go Kit.”
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Kirk Harnack: This Week in Radio Tech, Episode 267, is brought to you by Lawo and the crystalCLEAR virtual radio console. CrystalCLEAR is the console with the multi-touch touchscreen interface. By the new Omnia.7 FM, HD, and Streaming audio processor with Undo technology. Omnia.7 is a mid-priced processor with the sound and features you love. And by the Axia Fusion AoIP mixing console. Fusion, where design and technology become one.
Hey, can you go camping in your RV and still get over 100 MB Internet? Bryan Jones can, and he joins us to show us how. Plus studio pics from hit107 and Triple M in Adelaide, Australia. And Chris Tobin reveals exactly what's in his "Go Kit."
Kirk: Hey, welcome in, it's time for This Week in Radio Tech. I'm Kirk Harnack, your host, along with Chris Tobin, and we've got a great show for you. It's kind of a show-and-tell show, but we've also got an interview with Bryan Jones that you're going to find very interesting. It was done a couple of weeks ago, and I'm excited to show you this interview.
I'm in my usual Nashville office, back from my trip to Australia, around the world. Thanks for all the help that people gave to us on the show while I was gone. It was very much appreciated.
So back here and ready to hit the ground running here. I guess, yeah, I was back last week, but we had a Harnack family reunion in the intervening days between last week's show and this week's show, so I feel like I'm back in the office.
All right. Hey, so let's bring in our usual co-host. He's not in Manhattan today, but he still is the best-dressed engineer in radio. It's Chris Tobin. Hey, welcome in, Chris.
Chris: Hello, yes, I'm not high atop of a building or a tower or anything of that sort, so here at the studios at GFQ.
Kirk: And Chris Tobin, you are the head chief cook, and bottle washer at IPCodecs.com. You help people figure out how to get connected from here to there.
Chris: Absolutely. And that's what we did last week with the wireless connection I did for the show.
Kirk: Yeah, in fact, last week I said, "Would you bring your Go Kit?" and this week you brought it.
Chris: I have it, I have my bag.
Kirk: We'll have some show-and-tell with the Go Kit in just a few minutes. Also today, we're going to look at, yes, it's going to be a slide show of my trip to Australia. So we'll look at a few studio pictures. I guess some people call that...
Chris: They're all upside-down.
Kirk: Yeah. People call that studio porn, so we're going to look at studio porn during the show today, and Chris and I will be talking about that. Andrew Zarian may chime in with some tips on getting things to work in Windows 10, specifically the Axia IP audio driver, all unofficial, but maybe he'll post his findings in the Axia forum. So we've got the Go Kit, the pictures, and the interview with Bryan Jones, all coming up.
Our show is brought to you in part by my friends at Lawo, L-A-W-O, German company pronounced "Lavo" at Lawo.com. There's the website right there. Take note of that if you're interested in the technology that they offer. What I'm talking about here is the crystalCLEAR virtual radio mixing console.
Folks, this thing is so cool. It's a touchscreen audio console. It's totally run by a touchscreen. Now, the touchscreen doesn't do the mixing. It's just a screen. It's an application that runs on a multi-touch touchscreen monitor in Windows. It takes over the whole screen, you don't even know Windows is in the background, and the thing just runs.
It's got eight faders right there for your hands to touch and feel, and buttons you can push, indicators like "on air," what you see on the screen, on the website.
If you go to the website, Lawo, Lawo.com, and look for radio consoles, and then look for the crystalCLEAR console, you'll find that website right there.
Look in the upper right corner. There's a thumbnail of Mike Dosch. He is the Director of Virtual Radio Products. He's showing and demonstrating how this console works, and because this is such a new concept... or at least it was brand new a year ago, but the word hadn't gotten out to everybody yet.
If you just want to see how this thing works, click on that and have a look at the little video that Mike does, where he takes you through how the console works and what it can do for you, because it's designed on a touchscreen. There's a look at the video right there, and Mike does a terrific job of explaining how this console works.
In the meantime, I'll tell you that this console has a one rack-unit box that goes into your rack. It could go in your rack room, it could go in the studio. This box has all of your local inputs and outputs. So it's got microphone inputs and line level inputs and outputs. It's got some AES inputs and outputs. And if you're getting into the world of Audio over IP, like either via RAVENNA, that AoIP standard, or via AES67, it's got that built into it. Just plug an Ethernet connection into there and you can talk to other devices that also speak RAVENNA or AES67.
Plus it's got the option for two power supplies in the unit, so you can have dual redundant power going on there if you want that. Oh, it's got some GPIO on the back of it as well. So there's all the IO that you're going to need and use is on the back of this simple-looking one RU box.
Inside the box is the whole DSP engine, the whole DSP architecture for mixing all the things you tell it to mix, for providing Mix-minuses and backfeeds, back to sources, automatically. Also the outputs for your control room monitors, for your preview speakers, or mix those together if you want to. And also all the EQ and the dynamics compression.
And something that's fairly cool and exclusive to the crystalCLEAR console, and that is a function that lets you do a smart AutoMix and AutoGain. Well, let me tell you about that. Like all Crystal consoles, the crystalCLEAR offers integrated AutoMix and AutoGain.
Now, the AutoMix function adjusts the levels of active and inactive microphones, giving you a constant ambiance that lets an interview be conducted without technical operation, without somebody riding the gain all the time. The console manages that microphone mix, while the talent can just conduct the interview.
The AutoMix works perfectly with automated voiceovers that are live to air, while AutoGain provides more simplification. This feature calibrates all the microphone signals at the press of a button. You get people to talk and press the button, their gain is set properly.
The operators don't have to understand dB values or overloads or headroom. AutoGain level, it matches the microphone gains automatically, within seconds, while the talent or the guests talk. If this technology is interesting to you, and I believe it should be, check it out if you would, at Lawo, Lawo.com, and just look for radio products and the crystalCLEAR radio console. Watch that video, too. It's very, very informative. Thanks to Lawo for sponsoring this portion of This Week in Radio Tech.
All right, we're going to jump right into it here. Chris Tobin, how are you on holiday slide shows?
Chris: I'm great. Why?
Kirk: Sometimes the relatives say, "Well, here is our pictorial of our trip to the Grand Canyon," and it's like, "Okay." But this one might be better.
Chris: Nah, I usually get some good shots.
Kirk: It's got studio porn, so. All right, Mr. Zarian, producing the show, you want to just jump right in and get us started with our first photo?
Kirk: And while you're doing this, I should tell folks, I had this wonderful opportunity to go to Australia. We did a TWiRT show, two shows back, from Australia. There is, every two years, the SMPTE show, that's the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. It's kind of like our NAB in the U.S., but it's every two years in Australia.
It's a big show for Australia, but of course it's much smaller than NAB. It was in two good-sized halls. They had plenty of technical papers being delivered. Some folks from Telos, Ken... Ken, I'll remember his last name in a minute. Also Greg Shay gave a paper there, and it was a very interesting time.
We did some interviews with a few radio manufacturers and dealers, so that was interesting, too. That's a couple episodes back if you want to go review that. But we had a chance to visit some radio stations. So Andrew, if you're ready, I'm ready, too, to see some pictures.
There we go. Okay, ah. These guys are part of the engineering leadership team for Southern Cross Austereo. The guy on the left is Steve Adler. He's the Director of Radio Technical Operations, technical engineering, and the guy on the right is Matt Steadman.
These two guys just got done designing and installing a nationwide audio distribution and contribution system that they call SCAsat. We'll have a video about that system coming out in a few weeks, but suffice it to say that these are some really bright guys.
They've been responsible for the rollout of a huge dual-path audio network that delivers 16 or 17 audio program channels, 24/7, across the big brown land called Australia. Let's see what's next. They're standing in front of a rack full of iPorts there.
Oh, this is a great studio. Now, this was in Adelaide, Australia. This was Triple M, which is a classic rock station. This station has two on-air studios. They don't call them "control rooms", they call them on-air studios. And they're identical. They kind of swap between which one is on the air at any one given time.
But as you can see, they have an Axia console there. They found a very small monitor to display the meters and such. Oh, and the shades have the logo, and they are motorized, and it's so cool. You can touch a button on the console and make the shades go up and down.
Chris: How large is that studio?
Kirk: Boy, in terms of feet, I would guess it's about 15 by 18 feet.
Chris: Okay, yeah, because the angle of the camera, and I'm looking at the walls and trying to get an idea of the size. It's just... it's pretty large.
Kirk: Yeah, the camera is halfway in the studio there. Half the studio is behind the camera. And there's a whole guest/talent area to the left there. There are at least four microphones.
Chris: It's very nice.
Kirk: Maybe we'll have a better picture later. What's next? The next was, I think, from the hit107 on-air studio. There we go. The fellow there taking the picture, he's got a slider, he's taking some beautiful video of the studio, and that is Matt Cushell [sounds like 00:11:02], and he's taking pictures in there. That's one of the hit107 studios.
So at this facility in Adelaide, unlike in the U.S., where we have big clusters of stations with six or even up to eight stations or so, in Australia I believe the most they can have is two.
At least that's the most that Southern Cross Austereo has in any given market. And Southern Cross, they're kind of the Clear Channel, the iHeartMedia, the Cumulus of Australia. They're the biggest commercial radio network.
Chris: They carry a lot of debt?
Kirk: I don't know. I don't know. I have no idea. So these are a couple guys that helped me out with some videography we did. There's Matt on the left with a big camera rig, uses a Canon D5, and then there is Shah [sounds like 00:11:49], next to him. I can't pronounce Shah's last name, but he was very helpful. He did all the audio recording for our video shoots.
All right, next one. That's me in front of one of the hit107 studios, and I'm interviewing a young lady named Alexis, and she... I want to make sure my Amazon Echo didn't just come on when I said "Alexis." That's very close to the other word that you say. Anyway, so in fact that is Matt's wife. She works middays on hit107. So that was our recording setup.
This is, oh no, you're going to love this. This is the break room. This is the break room for the employees.
Chris: You're kidding.
Kirk: It has a $30,000 coffee maker in it.
Kirk: It has refrigerators there behind... that's Steve Adler. We shot this on a Sunday, he came into the office to work with us. They have full liquor outfitted in their refrigerators there, underneath the cabinet. As you can see, they have a kind of a wet bar area.
Here's what they did to persuade management to let them have this really nice break room. They convinced management that if every time an employee wanted to get a cup of coffee, they had to go to the elevators, using a key card, wait for the elevator, go down the elevator, go out the front of the building, and turn left or right, and go to the nearest coffee shop.
Then stand in line at the coffee shop, place their order, stand in the line again, pay their money, get their coffee, then come back to the radio station and reverse all that process with the elevator and finally come back. The average time they really figured was 12 to 15 minutes for getting an outside cup of coffee. Whereas making it yourself in here was three and a half to four minutes, so.
Chris: That's the same reason why the folks at Bloomberg Radio here in New York City had a similar setup where they had catered food and breakfast and lunch and everything else you could do.
Kirk: Really? So is that at their radio or is that for all their media?
Chris: It was at the radio station, which was part of the media group, but yeah, that was the reasons they did it. A few other places around the country have done it that way. But unfortunately, a lot of folks in management just don't get it, and just they think it's like oh well, you don't need to get coffee, you can stay here and just slave away.
Kirk: Something else they had, and I don't have a picture of it, so I'll just describe it. Along one wall that was all windowed, beautiful, they were on the 13th floor, looks over Adelaide, it's a very pretty sight... but along one wall, they have groupings of furniture. They would have two chairs that would face each other and a small table, so perfect for sitting at after you've gotten your coffee.
Well, these chairs, they had the wings next to your head, they were wing-back chairs, and these wings would effectively cut down the noise from the office quite a lot, so you could focus on the person right across from you.
So if you wanted to have a real, honest-to-goodness, get-something-done conversation with a colleague, or I guess just dish and gossip. But if you wanted to have an actual working conversation, go get a couple of cappuccinos or lattes that you make yourself and walk over to any one of these chair stations, if you will, there were probably four or five of them, and set your latte down on the table and have a focused conversation with the rest of the world largely blotted out. Worked really well. I had several conversations myself when discussing all our video shooting that we were doing. Pretty cool. Let's continue.
Oh, this is the power distribution racks in the rack room. Chris, I don't know much about what I'm looking at here with power distribution. Can you comment on maybe what we're looking at here?
Chris: I'm trying to make it out. I guess...
Kirk: They're switch panels. Now, if the...
Kirk: ...the main switchover panel between generator and commercial power, that's at the very far end, that you can barely see the gray cables going down, but you can't see the switch panel. It's actually shallower than all these other breaker panels. Actually, I'm not sure if these are breaker or if they have individual breaker panels in the studios?
Chris: Yeah, I [inaudible 00:15:57] do it. Yeah.
Chris: Yeah. What we're accustomed to here in the States, in North America, is conduit or EMT or armored cable. It looks like they use a softer outer cable, a different type of cable distribution, that's all.
Chris: So it's standard distribution, and I'm going to assume the green is probably the ground.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah.
Chris: Okay. Yeah, they have the yellow and the green, that's ground, yeah.
Kirk: Right. Cool. All right, well, let's move on.
Oh, this is just another, a bit of cable management. They had all APC racks, which I thought were fabulously designed. Actually, they were made by a different company than AP. In fact, it said the name on there and I don't think it was... it wasn't Liebert or Siemens. I forget who it was, but it was a name you'd recognize, but they had the APC logos on them. But man, these racks were just beautiful. Oop, there's kind of a duplicate picture, we already saw that control room so we'll move on there.
I guess another kind of... oh, you can see, in the right-hand side, underneath the counter, there's the power supply for the console. And just above that, there is an Axia xNode there for the console.
Oh, okay, this will be a good picture. This is the control room for Triple M that was in use at the time. And you can see, look on the right-hand side of the picture at that microphone and the stand to which it is physically on. Yeah, that stand right there. The stand there, that is an Audio over IP device, the actual base itself.
This was custom-designed by an engineer named Brett Kelly, who works with Southern Cross Austereo. And Brett is a designer. He actually designed an Axia node, a Livewire node, into this base. And he designed a color touchscreen into it, so you could have all kinds of functions.
Obviously, you'd have mute and also turn your mic on and off and a talkback button that's on a touchscreen. But it can do other things. You can program any one of, I guess, eight buttons on that touchscreen to do stuff you might want to do.
Also, that base, because they're using a lot of external mic processing and there builds up a bit of delay between the mic and your headphones... upwards of about 8 or 9 milliseconds at this point, and that's more than a normal Axia or many other AoIP systems might have in them. But by the time you do external mic processing and bring it back in, you get up to 8 or 9 milliseconds of delay.
Anyway, the mic audio, the mic preamp, is actually in that base, and it mixes live with the headphone audio. So each talent gets their own absolutely live analogue, no delay whatsoever, headphone feed of themselves and the backfeed from the console, which is minus themselves. So they have just a fantastic headphone feed. They also have on each one of those bases, is an external input to the console. So they can... sorry, go ahead?
Chris: Sorry, I was going to say, is that post-processing they hear in their headsets from the microphone?
Kirk: Well, their own mic would be no processing.
Chris: Gotcha. Okay.
Kirk: And everything else would be whatever bus from the console you wanted.
Chris: Gotcha. Okay, I understand.
Kirk: And so the other talent that you would hear would all be delayed by 8 or 9 milliseconds.
Kirk: Because you're hearing a mix of all the other people and their normal feed through there.
Actually, on the Focusrite box that I'm using right now, or on the Shure X2u, they have a way to let you monitor. In my ear bud here, I'm hearing my mic before it ever gets to the Skype input.
Chris: Right, right.
Kirk: Yeah. So it just does the same thing as that. There's also an iPad or an iPod, anyway, there's a 3.5 m stereo input on that base, which is a possible input for the audio console. So if you bring an iPod or a phone and you want to play music or an interview that you did through it, you've got an input right in front of you.
Chris: So that input you select with your Axia screen, correct?
Kirk: Right, right.
Chris: That's not just being hard-mixed into the line.
Kirk: It's just another input on the network.
Chris: Right, okay.
Kirk: You could actually pick it up in a different room. I told you there was a node, an Axia Livewire node built into that base. It's not just a one-channel, in/out, though. It's multi-channel in and out. I don't know if it's two or four or... there'd be no reason to have more than about two outputs and two inputs, but that's what it's got, so.
Anyway, back to the picture. It's very innovative. This is what a customer designed, something that's really cool. I thought the folks at Axia probably ought to do something similar. Tell you, if we can go back one more, I want to tell you one more thing about that picture, if we can go back one shot to the... there you go.
You see the bright white light outside, some miles away, just over that microphone. No, no, to the right. To the right. There you go. That bright white light right there. That is a stadium that is lit up. In that stadium, they are playing... and I'm sorry, I don't remember if it was rugby or rugby league, which is something different, or if it was Australian Rules Football. Whatever it was, it was very exciting.
Unfortunately, I believe Adelaide lost that night. But the whole city was turned out to that thing, and they had a lot of commentary. This station plays classic rock and they do a lot of sports. So it was a big, big night in Adelaide.
Okay. We'll move on.
There we go, just another picture of the same one, they've got a big whiteboard up there to line out their morning show. Oh, sorry. In Australia, the morning show starts at 9 a.m. The show that goes on in morning drive is the breakfast show. It's always the breakfast show. Mornings start at 9.
Chris: As it should be.
Kirk: Yeah. So here's a custom-designed work panel that just shows some metering stuff. Boy, I wish I knew everything that was on there. But that lets you listen to a few things, and anyway, I'm not sure what it all did, but they designed that with Axia's Pathfinder.
Okay, this is the news booth for hit107, and Triple M has the same thing on the other side of the building. But these guys are looking out to the east, where the sun comes up. Even in the southern hemisphere, the sun comes up in the east. And so they can also raise and lower their blinds with a button right on the console. The two white buttons in the lower right of the console there lit up, those raise and lower the shades.
Oh, I thought it pretty interesting, the display with the clock on it. That is some signage, professional signage software that gets its information from various sources. It's got the weather information on there, 9.4 degrees C. Sorry, I should know what that is in Fahrenheit, but I don't offhand. Somebody could probably tell us. And it just shows you what's going on.
Chris: That is a nice news booth.
Kirk: Yeah. All right, what's next, we'll have a look at the next picture. Oh yeah, this is one of the hit107 control rooms. You see there's a Box Pro controller there, and you can see the array of microphones on the other side of the console. There's at least four. There might be five, actually, across there, but it's at least four. All right, what's next.
Ah, take you out to Bondi Beach, mate. There were surfers out there. I think the next picture might show... yeah, there we go. Ah, you can't see them. There's a few bodies dressed in black wetsuits out there in the ocean. It was chilly out there. Whew.
Chris: This is where the installation team from Axia and the local radio station was having a game?
Kirk: Yeah, right.
Andrew: Kirk, it was 48 degrees, 9.6C, 9.4C is 48 degrees.
Kirk: Okay, well, thank you. I should know that, but thank you. Yeah, Bondi Beach, is a famous, famous beach. People go there to play volleyball. I was there are few years ago during the summer, when people were wearing a bit less clothing.
But man, there were people coming out there to swim and surf, even though it was... to me, it was stay inside, drink a coffee, and have maybe a pizza kind of weather.
All right. There's me, this is back in Sydney. This is on top of one of the taller buildings in downtown Sydney. So it's a skyscraper. Boy, sorry I don't remember how many floors it had. It had a bunch. Seventy, maybe? Maybe 60? Yeah, at least 60, and on the roof, there is the uplink dish for their satellite distribution.
They have one of these in Sydney and an identical one in Melbourne. And boy, it was windy that day, too, as you can see. My coif is getting mess up. The sun was just setting, as you can tell by the angles of the shadows. But that dish was really something. And the engineering it took to get that dish on the roof and all the approvals... Man, it was pretty impressive. Chris, you been involved with putting dishes on roofs?
Chris: Oh, yes.
Kirk: Tell me.
Chris: Earth station uplinks, just did TVRO and didn't have to... no, we did a crane on one of them. Yeah, we had to use a crane to get it on the rooftop. But the permits are the best, and then the local community, when they find out there's a satellite dish going in at the radio station, it's like "Oh no, what's going to happen." Then you have to explain to them it's just receive only, we're just receiving signals.
Chris: That was a fun meeting at town hall.
Kirk: Oh, gosh. Well that one that you saw on the roof there, that actually is transmitting and receiving.
Kirk: I think the high-power amplifiers in that are about 5 watts.
Chris: Well, yeah, with the gain of the dish, it's all you need. But were they traveling wave tube or SSPAs?
Kirk: I should have gotten a picture for the show. They're little boxes, not much bigger than a microwave oven. Two of them are just attached on a platform on the back side of that dish.
Chris: Yeah. That could be a traveling wave tube or it could be a solid state PA, but okay.
Kirk: My guess is they were solid state, but I don't know.
Chris: They probably are. Most people are doing solid state these days.
Kirk: Gotcha. All right, let's see what the next shot is here. Just another shot of the satellite dish. Oh, there's Dave Barnett [sounds like 00:26:27] He is the chief engineer for Southern Cross Austereo in Sydney. Great guy. He was actually... I've got to tell you this. There are bolts that, of course, go up through the concrete roof, right?They come up this way, and the... first of all, the contractor putting the dish in wanted to drop the bolts down and put the nuts on the bottom. Well, gaining access to the underside was really difficult.
They were actually going to have to build under... you can't see... under the roof. They were going to have to build a man platform with rails that slid out to where a man could sit on his back and put the nuts on and tighten them up. That's how the building happened to be built right there. Well, that's pretty inconvenient.
So what they did was they ended up, of course, drilling the holes. Better engineering practice might call for the bolts going up this way, and it worked out that they could install them better that way. They actually... Again, they couldn't gain easy access to the part of the roof underneath where the dish was sitting. It was just difficult.
So they actually ended up using fishing line. I don't know how they fished what first, but bottom line was, I think they ran fishing line down. They reached way out with a long pole and grabbed the fishing line from under the roof area and pulled that over, taped the fishing line to the top of the bolt, and then arranged the tape such that the fishing line was coming out from the center of the threaded end of the bolt. Then just let the bolt swing in that area under the roof, and then they just pulled the fishing line up and it pulled right up through the middle.
They had some kind of a super-duper extra-super lock washer on the bolt such that they could just tighten it from the top, and it all worked out perfectly. Now, there's a good idea. Fishing line. Bring the bolt up. Next picture. Let's see here.
Did Andrew leave? Ah, there we go. Okay. There you go, just another picture of the roof. Beautiful, beautiful, skyline, the Australian Blue Mountains about a hundred miles or so to the west. Lots of antennas up there. What's next.
Ah, a few Axia xNodes. These are in the rack room at Southern Cross Austereo in Adelaide. This is part of their distribution network. What's next?
This was actually, boy, I don't remember where this was. Oh, yeah, this was at Southern Cross. Or was it? Oh, this might be at... Ah, this was at the radio station that we did the show from two weeks ago. This was from Hope 103.2, and their Z/IP ONE, and then they have a MITEL Voice over IP phone system. And then they have an Avaya phone system below that.
There we go, this was part of the rack room. Okay, here's some rack room pictures for you from Hope 103.2. So you can see they have software, I believe that's from a DEVA FM monitor. And then they have some Axia mix engines, an Omnia.11, there's a Tieline Commander, and various receivers and such. Hope 103.2 has had audio over IP in the form of Axia for quite some years now. I think they got it back in 2008 or so. They've had that a while.
Just a new addition, a new production room at Hope 103.2. What's next. Ah, yeah, another production room. Production rooms are getting pretty simple.
Oh, hey, we met some friends of the show. This was in Sydney, at the Bavarian Bier Café. David Webb and his dad and I think Kevin, anyway, all the Webb boys came by to see us at the show. Wanted us to give a shout-out to them.
And also the Wilkinsons, Stephen Wilkinson and Peter Wilkinson, his dad. Stephen was our guest on the show last time. And here's Steve Adler and Matt Steadman describing to an audience of broadcast engineers in Sydney, describing their SCAsat system for distributing audio to 70-some radio stations. All right?
Is that it? Is that all the pictures I gave you?
Andrew: That's it.
Kirk: Okay, good. All right.
Chris: Hey, at the opening of the show, was it Ken Skok [sounds like 00:31:11] you were trying to think of? Or a different Ken.
Kirk: Ken? If... no, it was a...
Kirk: ...different Ken.
Kirk: That's it. Thank you. Ken Tankel.
Chris: Oh, Ken Tankel. Oh...
Chris: ...I should have known.
Kirk: Yes, Ken Tankel was here, talking about, I guess, TV audio processing.
Chris: Right. He's on the Linear Acoustics side of the house, right? Or no. Yeah. Yeah.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah, that's exactly right. He certainly is. So thank you for your pain and going through those slides and seeing what we did in Australia. Coming out of that trip, we're going to have a couple of videos, one that will more fully describe the SCAsat system. Now that it's up and running and on the air and distributing audio to 70-plus radio stations, across the continent of Australia.Then we'll also have a video about installing AoIP consoles in Adelaide and how they're using them there. So those are coming up in the next few weeks.
Here's what's coming up on the show, though, in the next few minutes. Chris Tobin has this Go Kit, and he's going to show us what that Go Kit is all about, what he does to go do a live radio and video remote when he is doing an appearance on This Week in Radio Tech and he's not in front of a plugged connection or not in the studio in Queens. So we'll check that out in just a minute.
Our show is brought to you in part by the folks at Omnia, and the Omnia.7 audio processor. The Omnia.7. I've got to tell you, this thing is just amazing. I got to have one here in the office for about a week. That's all I got to play with it, about a week. I made a video about it, introducing it. You can find that video if you go to YouTube and you just look for the Telos Alliance channel, and then you'll find the Omnia playlist and you can find it right there, the Omnia.7 product video.
There's actually, if you go to this webpage that Andrew was just showing, the Omnia.7 product webpage, the very first link on the right-hand side under Videos is the Omnia.7 product introduction. So you can have a look at that and find out all about the Omnia.7, or a lot about it, in just two and a half minutes. It's very short... no, it's under two minutes. Very short video.
Here's what I like about the Omnia.7. After playing with it for a while, we ended up... yeah, there we go, there's the video. That's our crew in Greenville, Mississippi, and we actually... and actually, that's the Omnia.7 that I had a very hard time getting hold of. That was shipped to me before they were actually shipping officially.
But one of my radio stations in American Samoa, well, they wanted a new audio processor there. They had had an Omnia.3 and they still have an Omnia.3 on our second station there, but on our main station, they bought an Omnia.7 and put it in. Let me tell you. We don't have anybody really technical at our stations in American Samoa.
So what did we do? Well, I talked to the manager, actually, he's smart enough. He just plugged in the XLR connectors for the audio input of the analogue, left and right, and then he hooked up the composite feed from the Omnia.7 into our STL system. That's how we are hooked up in American Samoa, with an analogue STL composite.
Then on the front panel, he gave the Omnia.7 an appropriate IP address on our network. I looked up for what was in use, gave him an IP address. He was able to key that in on the front panel, set the subnet and the gateway address, and that's all I needed.
I remoted in to one of our computers there and bam, I installed... there's a piece of software called NF Remote. Rather than browsing into the Omnia.7, you use a piece of software called NF Remote, and it comes free with all the Omnia.7, the Omnia.9, and lots of other Omnia products.
It works just great. It's very high performance, real time look at the processing, and it just gives you so much visual, not just eye candy but real tools to adjust your audio processing.
So listen, within two or three minutes I had the input and the output levels set right, so we weren't too bad there for just for a couple of minutes on terms of the levels. Made sure the pilot was set right.
Also, we had, at the time, we had an external RDS generator. I got that injection level set right, although pretty soon, we just turned on the RDS generator that's built in to the Omnia.9, disconnected our old-fashioned RDS generator, and used the built-in one.
Then, since the Omnia.7 was on our network anyway, we used our software from Arctic Palm, Center Stage RDS, we used that software. And instead of going in serially, like we do with our old RDS unit, we just went in, TCP/IP with the title and artist information, plus all the other stuff we put on our RDS. So that got done in just a few minutes. Man, I'll tell you, the people in the station, they love the sound of this thing, it sounds great.
Remember because it has Leif Claesson's stereo embedder built into it, you get an extra dB of loudness for free. You don't have to do any, no additional clipping, no overdriving anything. It's just the way the stereo embedder works that you end up getting a dB of loudness absolutely free. It is so cool, the Omnia.7. My installation experience was just terrific with it.
Yeah, it's got just one feature after another, and I guess the last one to mention would be the Undo feature. This is what gets rid of or rebuilds the audio from songs that have been clipped, and usually in the mastering process, trying to be loud on the CD or whatever their distribution method is, there's so much clipped audio out there, that ought to be pristine, and the Omnia.7 has the Undo process and declipping built into it.
The declipping gets rid of the clipped and Undo gets rid of overly aggressive compression that may be used on some songs. Just amazing technology, and the Omnia.7 is really affordable. The U.S. list price is under $6,000. So it may be even less from your favorite dealer.
So check it out, the Omnia.7. Go to the Telos Alliance website or just Google "Omnia 7." I just Googled it a little while ago. It was the very first link. So check it out. All right. Thanks to Omnia for sponsoring This Week in Radio Tech.
And you're watching or listening to Episode Number 267. I'm Kirk Harnack, along with Chris Tobin. And Chris, you've got some show-and-tell yourself, in the form of a Go Kit.
Chris: Oh, okay, yeah. All right. Let me... the Go Kit comes in several... different ways of doing this. This is just the one big bag I brought with me. Normally, the Go Kit is actually... It is not this, and it's not a Cisco cable. It's actually this little guy in here. There's the Go Kit that I normally travel with.
Kirk: All right. Hey, you got that kit from Canada.
Chris: Yes I did.
Kirk: Or the bag, I should say.
Chris: The bag, yes. So in the bag we have, very simple little setup. It has nice handle. So as I travel about, and as we did last week, from the rooftop of a skyscraper, inside the bag... let's see if we can do this like they do in those other shows. All right? You see inside just crazy things, barely enough to understand what it is. Here is the USB extension cable.
Kirk: That's kind of... I've never had one that long. Does it work well?
Chris: That's what I used last week.
Chris: And then I have here my IFB and audio kit. So this is the earpiece, long extension, short cable. Everybody's familiar with the old acoustic tube approach.
Chris: And if you choose not to go that route, then I have the standard quarter-inch headphone adapter.
Chris: Aha, yes, just in case I'm in a noisy environment, so I've got headphones I can bring with me. So that's this little guy.
Kirk: And your IFB and your headphones, whatever you're wearing, that's just plugged in, what, to your laptop's earphone jack?
Chris: Ah, no. See now, we go into the meat and potatoes.
Kirk: Oh, I see.
Chris: So now we use the USB audio device. This is an Edirol UA-25, right? Yes.
Kirk: What do you like about the Edirol? It's got a few more buttons than I'm used to seeing on these things.
Chris: Well, it's just standard stereo, left and right, but Skype is just a single-channel unit. It does digital audio, so if you wanted to you could do fiber, TOSLINK.
Chris: Nice thing, it's made out of metal, so you can really bang it around.
Kirk: Okay. I hope it works next time.
Chris: Oh, it will. Trust me. It's seen much worse than that. And then I have this here as an EV, like a voice bag, but it's not a microphone. This is how you travel with your webcam.
Kirk: Oh, that's how you sneak your webcam in and out, in the EV bag.
Chris: Yes. It protects it. It's padded.
Chris: And just in case you run into one of those environments where things get a little wet and rainy and stuff, here's some paper towels.
Kirk: Oh, good idea, I should bring that along.
Chris: So you keep this all together as a kit. The nice thing is by... yes, go ahead.
Kirk: That webcam, that's the Logitech C920, is that right?
Chris: Yes, yes.
Kirk: Isn't that just awesome? That's what I'm using, and a lot of folks do.
Chris: Yeah. And then I have the standard stick microphone. And for those environments where I might want to get a little more professional, I have here a Lavalier microphone.
Kirk: Now the lava's a condenser mic, isn't it?
Chris: Yes it is.
Kirk: Does that mean your Edirol provides phantom power?
Chris: Yes it does. And it also has the battery, so if I don't have power from the Edirol, I can [inaudible 00:40:48]. Yes.
Chris: Phantom supply is available on the Edirol. So I can do lots of them. Then I have also with me a three-way extension cord, because you need that for the laptop, just in case, and my light kit that I did not bring with me today. Then you have a bag of cables, two microphone cables, both 10 feet each, so you have 20 feet...
Chris: ...if necessary. And also, just in case, I also bring my own LAN cable.
Chris: Just in case I need to do something crazy and they don't know what's going on, I have a crossover cable. So that's the basic setup there. And then, if I want to get nice and professional in some environments, which I've done, I think I did at the Clear Channel stations once, I bring my little trusty...
Kirk: Oh, yeah.
Kirk: Wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, wait. I've got one of those. I had no idea the legs came out.
Kirk: Serious. I had no idea the legs pull out. I've always thought it was supposed to be this tall.
Chris: No, no, no, no. That's a choice.
Kirk: After the show, I'm going to run right over to it and pull its legs out, just to see.
Chris: That sounds like you're getting an insect or a butterfly and pull its legs out.
Kirk: Well, I learned something today. Thank you.
Chris: So that's that. And then there's also, when you're traveling, you never know what type of things you're going to encounter, so I have a mic-to-line adapters, just in case.
Chris: Because maybe someone, I've done this before in a few facilities, they offer you an output from their console so you can use their console and console microphone, but the output might get a little too much for the Edirol. So pad it down [sounds like 00:42:17]. Then if I want to make sure the camera is just right, I have my little trusty level.
Kirk: Oh my goodness. Okay.
Chris: Then there are times when you're doing stuff and you need to tape things down.
Chris: Some 66.
Kirk: A little tape, yeah.
Chris: Yeah, you never know. You never know.
Kirk: Good idea.
Chris: So that's pretty much the whole kit and caboodle, and that's what I was using last week, was the extension cable, and here we go. This is it. There's the LTE modem.
Kirk: Oh, okay. All right. That's the Pantech modem?
Chris: This is the Pantech, yes.
Kirk: Okay. Okay. Yeah.
Chris: Okay? And it comes in very handy, it worked very well, and that was it. And for those short times when I'm using just the laptop... oh, in the bag is also my laptop that I use.
Kirk: Ah, okay.
Chris: That I have been using for some time, and I've optimized it for using it for Skype and things of that sort. That's pretty much it. But that's the kit, and it's all in a small bag, so you can travel and go about whatever you want to do. Just carry your laptop how you normally do, with another bag if you want.
Kirk: And just to be clear with our viewers, it really doesn't matter if your laptop is Windows or Mac.
Chris: That's correct.
Kirk: Either will work.
Chris: I have one of each, depending on where I'm going and the environment I'm going to work in, so sometimes I go to places that are Mac-friendly, so I'll take my Mac with me. Otherwise, I just take the what do you call [inaudible 00:43:31]. Do-do-do, the laptop.
Chris: So as you can see, I've just traveled with a small backpack and I have a complete studio here ready to go and I can actually go live on location.
Kirk: You mentioned a light kit. Can you describe what you take with you for lighting?
Chris: Light kit is in a bag similar to what I have here. It's a small bag. It's a clamp-on socket, a lamp socket, and in it is a CFL...
Chris: ...a compact fluorescent light, and a color temperature of 5,600 degrees Kelvin.
Chris: And I use that, and it's got just enough throw that you can mount it on the tripod or a table in front of you and give it, like it be a key light for you.
Kirk: Yes, yes. I've noticed the times that you've used that...
Kirk: ...especially when you've got some light in the background, if you're on a balcony...
Kirk: ...then you throw some light on your face. Otherwise, you'd almost be in silhouette.
Chris: Yes, yeah. The AGC of the camera just doesn't work very well, though.
Chris: Yeah. That's the other kit. So I actually can fit both of those bags...
Kirk: Into the backpack.
Chris: ...into this. So again, I can taxi-friendly travel, car travel, even I could take this on a plane. Technically, it's carry-on.
Kirk: You'll just look like some European college student.
Chris: I'm off to a hostel. I'm all set. But this is the kit that I have been using now... oh gosh, I think it's about five years. So. Four years.
Kirk: Well, tell you what. Thank you for showing us that and describing what's important to take with you. Obviously you've found a use for every single item in there.
Kirk: And I'll bet you once in a while you've been somewhere where you wish you had something else, but you know what, if you need it, 99% of the time, but not the other 1%, that it may not be worth carrying.
Chris: I haven't run into that just yet because I stick to just the one person camera shot.
Kirk: Ah, yeah.
Chris: That's why I have the stick mic, so if I'm interviewing someone, I can just go back and forth.
Kirk: Good idea.
Kirk: Yeah. My Go Kit, I put together at the last minute, I throw together the last minute before I leave, and that's not very smart. I could do exactly what you've got if I would just do it. So thanks for the motivation also.
Hey, let's jump right into our last segment here, and Chris, if there's anything else you think of to talk about your Go Kit, we'll do it after the segment.
Kirk: We've got an interview here, a quick, We've got, and actually, it's a rather in-depth interview with Bryan Jones. Bryan, he's a colleague of mine at Telos, he does tech support.
A lot of you may know Bryan from when he worked at Broadcast Electronics. He also did some tech support there, a lot of field installation work. And Bryan is just one of the finest people I've ever met. He's a good guy and an excellent engineer. So without further ado... well, the show introduces itself, so let's just run right into the show. Andrew, roll it, with me and Bryan.
Remote Internet with Bryan Jones Extending Internet Access
Kirk: Is there some audio there? All right, Andrew, tell me what's going on.
Andrew: Give me a second. Working on it.
Kirk: Okay, okay. So...
Chris: So you say you want to do a remote, huh? Okay. You need a Dixie cup. Dixie brand, it can't just be a Dixie cup, so Dixie brand.
Kirk: Yes, that's right, it's got to be a Dixie brand.
Chris: And it has to be waxed threaded connections, because those will help the vibrations from dissipating.
Kirk: There is something conspicuous by its absence in your kit. Now, for where you are, it's fine. But if you came south of the Mason-Dixon line, you're missing two items.
Chris: Now what would that be?
Kirk: Well, one of them would be duct tape.
Chris: Oh, really.
Kirk: Duct tape, no matter, south of the... no matter what's wrong, we use duct tape. The other one will be WD-40.
Chris: Oh. But you see, my Go Kit, though, is designed for me controlling the environment I'm going to. I don't go into a place and assume things are going to collapse around me. If they are, then I'm going to stick to my stuff.
Kirk: Good point.
Chris: Duct tape and WD-40 has no bearing on what I'm going to do for the broadcast.
Kirk: It shouldn't. You're right.
Chris: No, if you said to me a collapsible drinking flask, I'd say you know what, you're right. I probably should have that in there.
Kirk: No, a Mason jar for the moonshine.
Chris: Mason, I was thinking Mason jar. Yeah, that would work.
Kirk: All right. Let's see if Andrew's ready for us yet.
Chris: Hello, producer.
Andrew: Give me one second.
Chris: Is the producer ready?
Andrew: It's live technical problems.
Chris: Live. [Inaudible 00:47:56] .
Andrew: I forgot the machine that I put it on is Mix/minus, and we can't hear the audio.
Chris: So the Mix/minus is working just fine.
Chris: However, the audience is [inaudible 00:48:06].
Andrew: I've got to bring it to the backup.
Kirk: Okay. All right.
Chris: This is where we put up the slide of the guy trying to fix a VTR, videotape recorder, and they say we're having technical difficulties, we'll be right back. You know those TV slides, you ever see those?
Kirk: I remember those slides, yeah. When I was a kid, it seems like those slides were up pretty often.
Chris: Yes, that was a time when that was quite often. I think it was during the transition of analogue to digital, too.
Kirk: Well, and back when TV networks were carried across the country, hop, hop, hop, hop, hop on microwave relays.
Chris: Microwave and long lines of AT&T, copper.
Chris: Coax across the country.
Kirk: I heard some audio.
Andrew: Yep. We're ready.
Chris: Ladies and gentlemen.
Kirk: All right. Take it away, Andrew. Here we go.
Bryan Jones - Remote Internet
Kirk: Is part of the support team at the Telos Alliance, and he's like fifth-level guru support. He only talks to people with big problems. Isn't that right, Bryan?
Bryan: Well, I'll talk to anybody, but certainly I like the more challenging ones.
Kirk: So there you go. So the reason we brought Bryan in today is that Bryan is doing something really cool. So that I don't overstep my bounds, Bryan, let's just set up the scene. Why are you where you are? It's almost like you're doing a three-week-long radio remote broadcast. But why are you where you are? How did you get to this point? And then we'll talk about the tech involved.
Bryan: Very similar, yeah, so should I tell where I am? How much detail would you like me to share?
Kirk: That's up totally up to you. I don't think anybody's going to come find you.
Bryan: No, I'll be gone by the time they get here.
Kirk: That's right.
Bryan: So I'm in Quincy, Illinois, which as you know is long-time home of Harris and also of Broadcast Electronics. I'm not originally from Quincy, Illinois. I work for the Telos Alliance from my home in Vancouver, Washington now. That's not to be confused with Vancouver, British Columbia, right? Vancouver, Washington is actually a suburb of Portland, Oregon, right across the Columbia River.
So my ties to Quincy are from the many years that I worked for Broadcast Electronics. And while I was there, I met my wife, we got married, and we moved out to Washington.
So every couple of years we'll jump in the motor home and we'll drive back to Quincy, Illinois, and we'll spend three weeks or so visiting her family. So it's sort of a vacation for her, more of a working vacation for me. I don't take three weeks off to spend with her family. You know what they say about fish and family, right?
Kirk: No, tell me what they say about...
Bryan: Both spoil after three days. So...
Kirk: Okay. All right.
Bryan: So I don't spend three weeks on vacation, so this is really sort of a bit of a working vacation for me. So the challenge is... I can work anywhere that I want... but the challenge is I need Internet access because I need to use the telephone, I need to be able to access all of the nifty little tools that we have to do our jobs.
It's of further complicated by the fact that my wife's family lives in a little town just outside of Quincy, Illinois, called Fowler, Illinois. It's a town of about 200 people, maybe, and just a little bedroom community. It has a U.S. post office, but that's about it. There's no stores, there's no gas stations, there's really nothing. But the local telephone cooperative has seen fit to drag fiber into most every home in the county...
Bryan: ...and particularly in Fowler, Illinois. So she has very good fiber optic Internet at her house, and relatively cheaply, too. I'm a little embarrassed to say her Internet is better than mine and about half the cost of what I pay our local cable provider out in the Portland/Vancouver area.
Bryan: So it really affords us... Now my wife also works from home as well, so she doesn't take the whole time off for vacation, but... So the challenge is how do I get good enough Internet to actually work. So we come out in the motor home, and that's kind of what you're seeing behind me is the decorations of the motor home if you will.
But so I'm parked in Fowler, Illinois, about, oh I don't know, maybe a quarter of a mile, maybe a third of a mile down the road from my mother-in-law's house, at what used to be the old Fowler school.
Kirk: All right.
Bryan: Somebody, a friend of ours, owns it and he allows us to park here and I can plug into electricity and have all that stuff. So that's how we get where we are. What I do is I beam Internet using a couple of Ubiquiti, what they call a NanoBeam, which is a 5.8 GB wireless radio. I beam her Internet access up the road from a telephone pole in front of her house to a telephone pole in front of the school, and that gives me her fiber optic Internet, sitting up here in the motor home.
Kirk: So we're in post-production here, just pretend, we're adding in the first picture you sent me, the picture that's of the NanoBeam all by itself.
Kirk: So we see it on a telephone pole here, and it's just a little covered dish
Bryan: Yes. And it's really very small.
Bryan: It's kind of hard to tell from the picture, but the whole thing is only maybe 10 inches in diameter. It's very small.
Kirk: And then this picture, the next one here we're showing, where you've drawn in the path. And it's not a really long path, a quarter mile.
Kirk: But my goodness, if you didn't have that, you can't run copper twisted pair a quarter mile, and I don't know how you or I would have the tech to actually run fiber, and how would you string it up. So you're just shooting this thing across the ground, eight, nine feet above the ground...
Kirk: ...from your motor home back to mom-in-law's house.
Bryan: That's exactly right. And if you look at the other end of that arrow, the far end of that arrow, you'll see that arrow sort of stops at a little tree trunk, and then there's a little white dot. I don't know whether it'll show up on the video, how well, but the little white dot that's just to the sort of the left of that tree trunk is the other radio. And it's literally screwed to the telephone pole with a drywall screw, and I brought a box of cable with me and ran the cable into her house and plugged it into her router, and off we go.
Kirk: Well, that was going to be our next question. How do you have these radios configured? I installed, and I have a video up on Facebook, I need to put that thing on YouTube, where I configured it like a transparent bridge.
Kirk: So the network at the radio station, the Axia network at the radio station, is simply extended transparently to the Axia devices at our transmitter site, where we're grabbing the audio from a channel. Tell me what you did to configure these things.
Bryan: That's exactly the mode that I configured them in. I configured them in bridge mode, so they're configured as an access point and a station. You configure one end as an access point, using the built-in web page. Then you configure the other end as a station. And they just connect up and they work. They're transparent. It's just like a big long wire. Now, I'm not running any Axia network...
Bryan: ...obviously between my mother-in-law's house and here, but I suspect that I could with some...
Kirk: I found out, and with some great help from our friend Dave Anderson and a couple of other folks, found out that there are a number of settings in Ubiquiti and other radios that you need to set. And, well, one of the most important things is that you've got to turn off all the error correction, because if you're doing Axia or if you're doing AES67, you ain't got no time for no error correction.
Bryan: No, that's exactly right. That's exactly right. Those packets need to arrive right now.
Kirk: But non-Axia, obviously you're doing Skype video.
Kirk: That's a bit more forgiving than AoIP, that's unbuffered and uncompressed. But did you pretty much have default settings on there, except for maybe a password and things like that?
Bryan: I did. The only thing I did was change the password and set my own IP addresses on them. But I changed nothing other than the default. It literally took me five minutes to set them up.
Kirk: Now, okay, so what kind of bandwidth have you got there? If you do a speed test from where you are now, what do you get to the outside world?
Bryan: Well, let's see...
Kirk: Well, if you do one now, you may mess up the Skype, I don't know.
Bryan: Well, let's just see.
Kirk: Okay, all right.
Bryan: That might tell us how good... I just need to [inaudible 00:57:05] over here onto a different...
Kirk: I have a speed test fetish. Everywhere I go, I just...
Bryan: Pardon me while I look over the top of this camera to this other computer. I've got to get to this keyboard.
Kirk: That's fine, that's fine. Oh, you're going to do the test on a different computer?
Bryan: Yeah, I don't have Flash installed on this computer just yet.
Bryan: So I'm a little...
Kirk: I'm glad you brought that up. There is a website that will do speed tests that doesn't require Flash and doesn't require, what's the other one, Java. It's just HTML5, and in case you want to think of it or bookmark it, it's called speedof.me. Speedof.me.
Bryan: Speed of...
Kirk: Now, its test is a bit more extensive. In other words, it sends a number of different files, so it takes a bit longer than the speedtest.net page that most of us would be accustomed to trying or using. So speedtest.net is a great one to use, and you do have to have Flash for that. But speedof.me is entirely HTML5.Interestingly, it tests with a little file, then a bigger file, then a bigger file, then a bigger file, then a bigger file, shows you those results. And it does the download and then it does an upload. I don't think it gives you as many options as to where you're testing to. They probably have a lot fewer servers than speedtest.net. Ookla, which has servers almost everywhere. Hundreds of them.
Bryan: Well, on the speedtest.net link, I got about 80 MB down...
Bryan: ...and 41 MB up.
Kirk: Yo mom-in-law's getting what she's paying for, isn't she?
Bryan: She is. She is.
Kirk: And the NanoBridge is not inhibiting that at all.
Bryan: No, not at all, 25 millisecond pinging time.
Kirk: Wow. Where was that server at? Could you see?
Bryan: Let's see, if I [inaudible 00:59:02] .
Kirk: Quincy, St. Louis, Hannibal, who knows.
Bryan: You know, I don't know. Let me try the test again. Test again. Let's see where...
Kirk: It might say down in the lower left.
Bryan: Columbia, Missouri.
Kirk: Columbia, Missouri. Okay.
Kirk: So that's across the Mississippi.
Bryan: Yeah, across the state of Missouri. Yep.
Kirk: And yeah, wow.
Bryan: So it's reasonable speed, and it's been very reliable. The whole time I've been here, I talk on an IP phone, I cruise on my computer.
Bryan: I have a VPN connection, so back at my home, I have a SonicWALL firewall.
Bryan: And I VPN into my home so that I can get access to all of my Axia gear. So all that's all connected up all the time, and I can't tell you I've had anybody complain about dropouts in the telephone. So it's really been a nice little addition to the toolkit here, if you will.
Kirk: Well, we're doing Skype, and we're doing 720 video on Skype. Skype will do 1080 if it thinks about it and wants to, but you're coming to me at 720. That's close to 3 MB per second of bandwidth.
Kirk: If it pops the 1080, you're up to 6 MG. But we're solid here, and I've seen one or two little tiny glitches from your end. We've got zero packet loss, according to Skype, and less than 60 milliseconds round trip time consistently. I'm just on, I'm wired on Comcast here in Nashville, Tennessee, and you're on fiber but you're extending that with a radio.
Kirk: By the way, how much do those NanoBeams cost?
Bryan: I think I paid just under $80 apiece for them.
Kirk: Okay. So $160 bucks for the pair.
Bryan: Yeah. Yep, for the pair.
Kirk: That's less than copper would have cost it to run a quarter mile.
Bryan: I did buy a box of shielded Cat 5 outdoor cable.
Kirk: And that's what we see in the pictures.
Bryan: That's correct. That's hanging down. So the box of cable was more than the radios themselves.
Kirk: What did you buy, 1,000 feet or 500 feet?
Bryan: I did, I bought a 1,000-foot box.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah. I bought a box of that recently myself, too, for my radio stations, because we're mounting on towers there, prone to lightning strikes, so.
Bryan: Well, Illinois has had record rain, and I wanted to do it right. That's kind of me being a little fanatical, if you will.
Kirk: Sure, sure. So the point I'd like to draw from this is if you were doing a radio remote, frankly, if you're doing a TV remote, for three weeks, you could, if you wanted to do a three-week-long radio remote from where you are, it wouldn't be any problem, would it?
Bryan: No, it wouldn't. I would trust this implicitly at this point.
Kirk: Do you have any final thoughts about this tech, this... I guess the point is, okay, I realize you've got a great situation where you've got fiber down the road.
Kirk: That's nice. That's nice. But you know what? If you didn't have fiber down the road but mom had DSL or cable modem, you could still extend out to where you are still with quite reasonable speed.
Bryan: Yeah, and in the radio remote world, we don't need 720 video, right? We might be using a Z/IP ONE or some other codec from another company, even, right?
Bryan: Which are typically lower bit rate codecs. They're not in the 3 MB per second type of thing. So if she had a DSL or even my IP phone, it takes, what, 48K, maybe 56K if I'm doing G.722.
Kirk: Yeah. Yeah.
Bryan: So even my telephone doesn't need that much, doesn't need... I've got way more bandwidth here than I need is sort of the point. So you could do this with a DSL circuit or somebody else's cable modem that maybe wasn't as fast, so.
Kirk: Yeah. One thing I've heard of engineers doing, if they want to get a backup STL or, as our friend Dave Anderson does, a main STL to a transmitter site, but you can't get DSL or cable at the transmitter site, you find a friendly business a mile or two or five away.
Kirk: And you say, "Hey, you've got a cable modem available here. We'll pay for Internet at your Laundromat if you'll let us put a little antenna on the roof...
Bryan: Right, right.
Kirk: ...and we're going to use about half of your bandwidth or less out to our radio station," and you'll get free Internet here. So you're paying the same you would for Internet at your transmitter site, and yet you're getting the benefit there, and all you're buying is some location.
Bryan: Well, and certainly Ubiquiti has lots of different styles of radios. These NanoBeams are good for about nine miles. I don't know whether you'd get a full... I think I'm getting about 150 MB between the radios if I do an internal speed test, but that's because they're so close.
Bryan: But I don't know, at nine miles, I don't know how much...
Kirk: Well, that's where this error correction comes in. There is a trade-off, and all of the wireless radio, point-to-point companies do this. They make pretty good, pretty sizable claims on mileage and speed, and I'm not sure that those mileage and speed aren't a little mutually exclusive from time to time.
Kirk: Although people tell me, over and over, they get great results with Ubiquiti stuff, that it performs as promised. But I've got to point out that there's going to be error correction going on there.If you're going to shoot AES67 or uncompressed other stuff like Livewire out to a transmitter site, you're going to have to turn the error correction off. You're probably going to have to go to a modulation scheme on the radio that is more robust. So you're not going to use a 64 QAM or a 16 QAM. You're probably going to go... I think at our stations, we're going with QPSK, maybe it's even BPSK, but we've limited the radios to about 26 MB tops...
Kirk: ...by using a more robust modulation scheme.
Bryan: And that typically, those different modulation schemes typically just impact bandwidth. They don't...
Kirk: Yeah. Oh, and by the way, that was an interesting point of confusion for me is I didn't think the modulation schemes are, they're not well explained in the graphical user interface. If you just go online and Google the name of one of the modulation schemes, MCS16, for example, you'll be taken to a Wikipedia article that tells you all about the different modulation schemes and their trade-offs between modulation and bit rate. Yeah.
Bryan: More than you probably ever really wanted to know.
Kirk: That's right, that's right. But my advice is hey, if you're not doing Livewire, AES67, something like that, hey, go for a high bit rate if you want to, but realize that those higher bit rates come at the cost of fragility in the modulation scheme. Amazing. Wow. Bryan...
Bryan: Fun stuff, yeah.
Kirk: Yeah, thank you for joining us and telling us about this. Hey, next time you go there, you ought to run a radio station from your motor home.
Bryan: Like I have plenty of time to do that. I'll leave the running of radio stations to people like you.
Kirk: I did enjoy your six weeks of Christmas music you supplied me a couple years ago. That was good.
Bryan: I need to do that again, so.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah, that was great. All right, man, from Fowler, Illinois...
Bryan: Fowler, Illinois.
Kirk: ...Bryan Jones, out in the middle of almost nowhere.
Bryan: It's not nowhere, but you can see it from here.
Kirk: Hey, as a point of comparison, you were telling me before we started recording, about your Verizon, your level of Verizon [inaudible 01:06:49] . Remember, Verizon has the widest coverage of any mobile phone company...
Kirk: ...on the planet. Tell me about the Verizon [inaudible 01:06:55] .
Bryan: I wish I had my phone sitting here with me. It's back on the charger. But if you pick up my phone, it does say Verizon on it, so it knows it's in Verizon territory. But it says "1X."
Kirk: And so that's not even...
Bryan: That's the equivalent of no data, really.
Kirk: Yeah. That's okay. You can do...
Bryan: It means I can make phone calls, and that's about it.
Kirk: And maybe a text.
Bryan: Texts work, but certainly not iMessage and anything that requires data.
Kirk: So you've probably got your phone on Wi-Fi, coming from the...
Bryan: I do. When I'm sitting here at the motor home or when I'm at mom and dad's, I have it on Wi-Fi.
Kirk: Cool. All right. Bryan, thanks for taking the time. Sure appreciate you being on the show.
Bryan: Goodbye, Kirk. See you guys.
Kirk: Take care. Bye-bye.
All right. Let's do it again, this time I'll hit record.
Oh, you can shut that audio off, I guess. I forgot, we should have played that. I like to say at the end of an interview, "Okay, let's do it again, this time I'll hit record." Chris, any comments about what Bryan said?
Chris: Ah, no, no, he's doing exactly what I would suggest radio stations are doing, trying to do outdoor...
Chris: ...broadcasts, outside broadcasts. And one thing to consider with the NanoBeams or anything similar, of that ilk, if you're at a place that has fixed broadband, we'll call it, but your event is taking place, say, outside or off to the side of your venue, you could use the NanoBeams to extend your access from inside to out.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah.
Chris: I've done that a couple times over the years, and it works pretty well. But the trick is, as you pointed out and as he pointed out, you have to understand the inner workings of what it is you're trying to do.
Kirk: And I guess, he is using that NanoBeam, which is a small dish, as I'm using a NanoBridge, an older model from Ubiquiti, which is an actual dish, and I'm going over six and a half miles. But if you're just going a few hundred feet, extending, as you said, a wired, an actual, by golly good Internet drop in a building to something outdoors, maybe out in the field, in a town square, or something like that, you could get by with the flat panels or other such things that don't require an actual dish. You could get by with less than even what Bryan was using.
Chris: Well, bear in mind the difference between the dish and the flat panel is not that much, other than the gain. But the beam width is probably close to the same. So the flat panels tend to have a beam width of about 7 to 9 degrees, which is very pencil thin.
Chris: And a parabolic dish of this size, about the size of a floodlight, the beam width could be almost maybe 10 degrees or smaller.
Chris: So you're still dealing with it. But you want to do that, and here's why. You're dealing with the unlicensed 5.8 GB spectrum.
Kirk: Ah, there's other stuff out...
Chris: So, right. So you don't want your receive and transmit, it's bidirectional. So you don't want your end points listening to other stuff. Or if they have to, you want your desired signal, and I'll use my hand as the signal strength, height... see the undesired, my second hand, just below it. So the undesired you want to keep down below the noise floor added, so your desired signal stays above. Why?Because the modulation scheme you choose may or may not be robust enough to get rid of the undesired, or you're forced to use error correction, so you have to make sure that's working for you. So we're assuming we're not doing uncompressed data across the links, so we're going to assume it's compressed data, to do, go back and forth.
Kirk: That's a real good point, yeah.
Chris: These are the things to consider, because I have worked with folks who have just put this stuff up, slap it up and say, "It doesn't work, I don't know what's wrong with it." I'm like, "Well, let's look at the spectrum analyzer that comes with the product. Wow, your signal is actually the lowest on the spectrum. Not a good sign. So the laws of radio physics don't change. You can bend them and get hurt by doing it, but they will not change in your favor if you don't properly follow it."So your dish to flat panel, depending on your application, a flat panel's very handy for when you're in an office and it's a window that you're shooting out of down to, say, to the street.
Chris: A flat panel works in your favor. Dish will, too, but it may be a little more cumbersome. The dish will be great for outside, shooting up to the window.
Kirk: We ought to have a show in the future. I have no idea what flat panel beams look like. You said they could be pretty narrow, depending on [inaudible 01:11:15] .
Chris: Yes, they can be very narrow, they can be very broad, it all depends. Cell sites use these types of technologies for what they call sectorized antennas.
Kirk: Yeah, okay.
Chris: So the rectangular antennas four feet long and about a half a foot wide. You can do the same thing, you can buy a sectorized antenna for 5.8 GB and use that for your event as well. You can tailor the beam form what you're doing. There's a lot of things you can do if you're willing to sit and learn the physics behind it.
I actually can get a pair of flat panels, and we could probably talk about it and show it on a show. I know somebody in an engineering firm that we use them for testing and evaluating links. I could probably borrow them for a show and we could talk about it and show them off.
Kirk: Interesting. All right. We'll talk about that. Hey, our show, this is Episode 267 of This Week in Radio Tech. We're about to wrap it up. Chris and maybe I will have a final word, a final tip here coming up, and if Chris wants to tell us anything about his Go Kit, anything he forgot to tell us, we'll do that, too.
Our show is brought to you in part by the folks at Axia, and the new Fusion audio over IP console. This console is absolutely gorgeous, and I don't know if Andrew Zarian, he's got, oh, good, good, that's the one I wanted. That is the latest Fusion console to get installed. I know that because it was installed today.
This one is at Universal Studios, at their radio studios, in Orlando, Florida. And Bob Page posted that picture on Facebook a little while ago, and oh man, that is one sexy console. I think I made the comment... he said, "You won't find a sexier audio console," and I think I typed in, "Hubba hubba." It's a good-looking console.
You know what? The reason it's a good-looking console is because the Axia design engineers took a lot of feedback over the years from different users, a lot of folks in Europe, a lot of folks down under, in Australia, and across Asia, and here in the Unites States too, Central and South America, and even our friends in Canada. They thought, you know what? We're going to make the Element console even better. We're going to redesign a few things and make a console that complements the Element.
So right now you have a choice. You can choose the Element console or the Fusion console. Built a few new things into it. For example, the Fusion console no longer is connected to the engine by CAN-Bus, it's connected by Ethernet.
So you have a much longer cabling arrangement available between the Fusion surface and the rest of the network. So it just connects onto the network at the closest convenient point on your Axia network. The Fusion console is totally modular, just as the Element console has been.
So if you've been accustomed to looking at or even purchasing some Element consoles, the Fusion works the same way.
You've got choice of all different kinds of sizes of frames. You can even have a split frame. If we can go to the Fusion website, the picture of that should be the first one on there, there's a beautiful split-frame console. Some people like this because it gives them the ability to angle the two sides toward the announcer, and some people like to put an automation control panel in the middle of that.
Some of the automation systems on the market have the availability of a panel. You can put that in between. Some people put a VoxPro controller in between. Some people just put a phone in between. So you have a choice of a number of different things you can stick in between a dual console. Logically, it's one console. But physically, it's two consoles.
Of course, you can outfit the console with any number of faders that you want. You can outfit it with a call controller, so you can control a phone system with that, and that comes with a couple of faders as well. You can also put an intercom system in there, 10 station or 20 station. So you can have fantastic, just push-button intercom capability with other control rooms, with reporters, with producers.
In fact, when I was in Australia, in Adelaide, they had a producer's position, a huge desk, that was outside of the on-air studios and the news booth that we saw earlier. They had an intercom right there. So no matter which studio was being used, they could just quickly touch a button and talk right to the person in the news booth or the people in the on-air booth.
How convenient, to get radio done right, without having to go rap on the glass or say "Hey, pick up the phone." Or worse yet, or ring them on a telephone, ring their extension, have a light light up if they're on the air. The intercom just works great. The intercom is also broadcast-quality. It's 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz.
So if you put a decent microphone on an intercom station, you've got a microphone input on your console now from anywhere on the Axia network, whether it's a newsroom, some remote booth, some voiceover booth, or someplace three stories up in the same building. It's just amazing what you can do.
There are other modules available, too, for control. You have button modules that are either fixed Film-Cap buttons or buttons that are run by the Pathfinder software that put changing text on there, or customized text on there. So many possibilities of what you can do with an Axia Fusion console.
As far as the look and the durability, oh my goodness. The Fusion console, all of the markings on the metal are absolutely permanent. They're laser-etched and then double-anodized. They're not painted, they're not inked. Nothing like that. They're laser-etched and double-anodized. They'll never, ever, ever rub off. You can't rub them off, they'll be there forever.
Ten years from now, you take a rag, you wipe the dust off the console, and you've got a console that should look everything like it does when it's brand new. It's just really amazingly well built, metal end caps on the ends of the console.
One of the big things about the Fusion console is the OLED display at the top of every fader strip. So it shows you the name of the input, the channel number, and it shows you confidence meters for both input and for the output that is a backfeeder, a Mix-minus. If that channel is feeding a backfeed, then those meters are shown all the time on that console.
Check it out, if you would. Go to the website at TelosAlliance.com. Click on Axia, and go to the Fusion audio console. Really amazing, it's gorgeous. They're going in everywhere, including at Universal Studios in Orlando. Check out Bob Page Facebook. If you're on Facebook, check out Bob Page and look for the pretty pictures there.
All right, this is Episode 267 of This Week in Radio Tech. We're just about to wrap it up. Chris Tobin, you have any last words for us, especially about your Go Kit or any other thoughts you've had about the show?
Chris: No, I think the best thing you can do for a Go Kit or for an on-remote location is just go in with the premise of you control the environment. Just don't grab a bag of adapters and cables and hope that everything works. Plan it out, think about it, create what-if scenarios, and I think you'll have a better chance of a more successful broadcast and a chance to generate revenue than you would just throwing things together and hoping for the best.
Kirk: Yeah. Yeah, I like that. Good idea. You control it by bringing the stuff that, the exact things that you need. Once in a while you said you have to interface with other consoles, and that's why you brought the...
Kirk: ...line to mic adapter, which is inputs and output and I guess some resistors in there to pad it down.
Kirk: How much is that pad typically? Forty or 50 dB?
Chris: It's a 50 dB, if I remember correctly. I think it says 50 dB.
Chris: I also bring my own Ethernet cables. Why? Because I can't be certain if I'm provided something that's correct.
Kirk: Oh, I know. Oh, I've been so frustrated with other people's crappy Ethernet cables.
Chris: Right. So this way, at least I know that everything I'm producing from my laptop, my Edirol USB device, my microphone, my earpiece, and camera, I'm putting out onto a wire that I know is good and I'm handing it off to somebody to distribute. If it fails at that point, then I know it's not me.So there's less stress. That's why you create your own environment, your own bubble. And then you're just handing off.
Chris: Or if you're using a data modem, then you're still controlling it yourself, because you're controlling where the modem plugs in and where it has access to the antenna system. As I did last week, where I made sure, using the 40-foot USB extension cable. I placed the modem near a cellular antenna in the hallway [inaudible 01:19:42] .
Kirk: That's right. You went from your laptop through that 40-foot USB cable and so the modem could be physically near the leaky cable...
Kirk: …all, whole building system.
Chris: Yeah. Right. Which I looked into earlier. I didn't just walk in and go "Ooh, let's see if this works." I planned it out in advance.
Chris: But that's what you do. Yeah, yeah.
Kirk: Yeah, that's right.
Chris: So if you're a radio station and you have a client and you're doing a broadcast and it's in an office park or a strip mall, there's a good chance they may have distributed system in there, because it may be just the way they designed it. Look for it. Inquire. Check. If they do, try and find a way to get your modem as close as possible to that antenna. Then you have at least a better chance of making sure your connection is solid.
Kirk: Good deal.
Chris: That's what I did last week, and I don't recall us having too many issues, or any issues.
Kirk: No, it worked really well.
Kirk: Really well.
Chris: So now I have an idea. I'm going to use that same setup and take a NanoBeam at the doorway and get me off to the edge of the rough so I could show the skyline.
Kirk: Ah, okay. That'll be nice.
Chris: I've got an idea. Bryan gave me an idea. I think I'm going to try it and see what we can do.
Kirk: Just don't do the Russian selfie thing from the edge of the building.
Chris: No, no, I'm not going to bother with that. I'll just let the skyline show itself off... but yeah, I'll want to do wireless to wireless to the microphone.
Kirk: All right, Chris, thank you so much for joining us on This Week in Radio Tech.
Chris: No problem.
Kirk: Appreciate your input. Next week, you know, Chris, I'm not sure, we're going to have to talk about it. Next week I'm officially on vacation, and whether I was on vacation or not, where I'm going to be, I may not have much bandwidth. So we may set up a guest and have you host...
Kirk: ...or something like that. Not sure.
Chris: Well, let me know. If you're vacationing or on holiday and you need to just keep time for the family, so be it, just let me know what you want to do.
Kirk: Okay. All righty. Hey, thanks a lot to Chris Tobin. Oh, Chris, you can be reached where? Support@IPcodecs.com.
Chris: Yes, you got it.
Kirk: All right. If you need the best to work on your problem, that'll be Chris Tobin, if he's available. Also, Andrew Zarian, thank you for producing. I'm sorry I threw you some curves and boomerangs at the last minute, but we made it through anyway. Andrew Zarian, Producer.
Andrew: I got it. Give me two seconds and I can fix it all.
Kirk: All right. That's two New York seconds. Our show has been brought to you by the folks at Lawo, Omnia, and at Axia. We appreciate them very much. Please patronize them. Be sure you subscribe to our shows. It's easy to do. Go to either our website, ThisWeekinRadioTech.com, or go to the GFQnetwork.com, look at the show, hit the subscribe button, it'll automatically download every show as soon as it's available, to whatever your favorite device is. That way you can have it with you, if you're in the car, you're out of cell coverage, you forgot to download it, it'll already be downloaded for you. You can enjoy the show and listen over and over again. Or just catch up on one that you missed.
Thanks to everyone, and we'll see you next week on This Week in Radio Tech. Bye-bye.
Topics: Broadcast Engineering
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