SMPTE 2015 with Stephen Wilkinson
Posted by Kirk Harnack [TWiRT] on Jul 24, 2015 3:10:00 PM
Live from Sydney, Australia, we’re meeting with broadcast engineers and manufacturers at SMPTE 2015. From audio production tools to a look inside a new, solid state FM transmitter, we’re taking you inside this popular show. Stephen Wilkinson from Hope 103.2 joins Kirk Harnack on This Week in Radio Tech.
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Kirk Harnack: This Week in Radio Tech, Episode 265, 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, a mid-priced processor with the sound and features you love. And by Axia Livewire+. Livewire+ includes fully compliant AES67 Audio over IP built in. Livewire convenience plus worldwide connectivity.
Live from Sydney, Australia, we're meeting with broadcast engineers and manufacturers at SMPTE 2015. From audio production tools to a look inside a new, solid state FM transmitter, we're taking you inside this popular show. Stephen Wilkinson from Hope 103.2 joins Kirk Harnack on This Week in Radio Tech.
Kirk: Hey, welcome in, it's Kirk Harnack on This Week in Radio Tech. Delighted that you're here, and I'm delighted to be right here. Hi, Stephen.
Stephen Wilkinson: Yeah, I'm delighted to have you.
Kirk: Well, this is Stephen Wilkinson, I'm Kirk Harnack, and hey, I forgot to ask. Is Chris Tobin in the studio or not today? I totally forgot to ask. Maybe... he is not, okay, well, it's going to be you and me then. So sad that Chris isn't here, but he'll be here, he'll be back next week.
Stephen: Yeah, that'll be great to see him.
Kirk: By the way, as long as I'm thinking of it... because I'm an old man, if I think of it, I better say it... next week on the show, I believe our guest is Alex Kosiorek. He is a fabulous audio engineer from somewhere in the Southwest, Tucson, maybe, and he does classical musical recording. He's going to teach us about recording technique. So that'll be...
Stephen: So it's a little bit different, isn't it, with classical music?
Kirk: Yeah, it's different than...
Kirk: ...these loud morning DJs on the breakfast shows.
Stephen: Or rock and roll music.
Kirk: So we're coming to you live, right now if you're watching the show live, we're coming to you from Sydney, Australia. I'm in the western suburbs of Sydney in an area called, what, Seven Hills?
Stephen: Seven Hills, yes.
Kirk: Yeah. And we are at a station called, if you haven't seen in the background yet, Hope 103.2.
Kirk: Stephen, you've been a guest here before and I'm glad you're back.
Stephen: Thank you, thanks for having me.
Kirk: Stephen, you are the technical operations manager here.
Stephen: Yes, I oversee all IT, broadcast engineering, and even the property, so...
Kirk: Ah, okay. Do they make you cut the grass?
Stephen: No, thank goodness.
Kirk: And I believe your significant other works here as well.
Stephen: Yes, my wife is the marketing manager, hence the reason for having the Corflutes in the background.
Kirk: The signs?
Kirk: Yeah, oh yeah.
Stephen: Oh, I'd be in trouble if I didn't do that.
Kirk: That's right. All right. So why am I here and why is Stephen here? Well, first of all, I'm here because of a big trade show. It's like the NAB but it's in Australia every two years. It's called SMPTE. Now, SMPTE is the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and they include some radio, they're kind enough to do that.
So every two years they have a trade show, it's all technical, for engineers, and so they have a lot of television gear and television cameras and lighting systems, audio gear, some audio consoles. And I'm here, of course, as usual, on behalf of the folks at Telos.
We're doing some training with our dealer here and seeing customers and things like that. So that's why I'm in Sydney. At our venue where we're meeting and at the hotel, the bandwidth is just awful, so I checked in with Stephen. Hey, can I come out to the radio station?
Stephen: Yeah, sure.
Kirk: And your bandwidth here is what?
Stephen: We've actually got the NBN, which is the National Broadband Network...
Stephen: ...which is fiber, so it's supposed to be about a 100 megabits down and 40 up.
Kirk: Wow. Well, we've got a good picture back to GFQ in New York right now.
Stephen: Yeah, it looks great.
Kirk: All right, so, here's what we're going to get into. On this show, for the last two or three days, I've been roaming around the SMPTE show and a couple of the venues and interviewing some interesting people. So this show is not going to be just me and Stephen, blah, blah, blah...
Stephen: Just as well.
Kirk: ...it's going to be some interviews with some industry shakers and movers and vendors, people who have some new and interesting technical offers. So we're going to get into that in just a moment.
Our show is brought to you in part by the folks at Lawo, L-A-W-O, pronounced Lavo. It's a German audio-console manufacturer. And Lawo has a very interesting product that they make for radio. Now, most of their consoles are these big, big consoles for television...
Kirk: ...and big broadcast vans and installed sound systems. Well, they make a console series called the Crystal series, and we've been talking about, for about a year now... I guess until you go check it out... the crystalCLEAR console from Lawo. What's different about this console? Well, it's a touchscreen. And this is something that I find particularly cool because when I was a kid, seriously, probably honestly, 20-plus years ago, I was friends with the folks at Auditronics.
Kirk: They were a console manufacturer...
Kirk: ...in Memphis, Tennessee. And I told them, "You know what? This is probably too cutting edge right now, but someday I think we're going to have touchscreen work surfaces." We have them at McDonald's...
Kirk: ...We can order with them, and we have for, actually, for automation systems.
Stephen: Like WideOrbit.
Kirk: Years ago I worked for Scott Studios...
Stephen: Yeah, that was...
Kirk: ...way predecessor to WideOrbit.
Kirk: We had touchscreens. And I thought why not make an audio console that's a touchscreen and you move the faders up and down. Well, back then, touchscreens were only one touch, that's all they could decipher. But now, Lawo has a multi-touch touchscreen monitor that you run this app on. You kind of forget that Windows 8 is the underlying architecture on the app, on the surface. So it looks like a radio console. So you move your faders up and down. You can touch up to 10 things at the same time. Your buttons to turn on and off and set options or set trim levels or set EQ.
Those are all contextual, and that's a big word that means it does what you need it to do related to what you're doing at the time. It doesn't give you a bunch of options that you have to wade through. It shows you the things that you could do right now.
Then the mixing engine for this resides in a one-rack-unit box. It's the engine part of the crystalCLEAR console, and it's where you have some audio inputs and outputs, your mic inputs, analog inputs and outputs, your AES inputs and outputs. And it has an AoIP jack. In other words, it's got Ethernet built into it, so it'll operate the RAVENNA standard, which also includes compatibility with AES67, which is the new standard for Audio over IP.
So it's got the stuff you need to make a studio, simple... you can also, if you need to move the work surface somewhere else, it's just a PC with a nice beautiful multi-touch screen. So if you need to move that to a different room, you take it down, unplug it, move over, plug into the network, and guess what, you're back on the air, controlling your console and all your sources.
I'd like you check this out. If this technology is interesting to you, a multi-touch touchscreen experience, go to Lawo, lawo.com, and look for Radio Products. There's a video on the page about the crystalCLEAR console, and it's Mike Dosch, their Director for Virtual Radio Products, and showing you all about the Lawo crystalCLEAR console. Check it out, and thanks to Lawo for sponsoring This Week in Radio Tech.
All right. We're going to explore this studio here in a few minutes, but first I want to jump right into something very interesting. As some of you know, I, on the side, I do little TV weather. And so I'm occasionally in a TV studio, and they've really changed the way that... there's no more camera operators...
Kirk: ...in TV studios nowadays, or in a lot of them. There's a floor director, because I need direction.
Kirk: Then the rundown, the show, the news show, the weather, the sports, is run by an automation system. So I had a nice conversation with Amanda, with Ross Automation. So let's check that out right now. Amanda at Ross Automation from SMPTE.
Okay. Issue with the playback. All right, we'll get our crack engineers on that. Let us know when that's ready to roll.
One thing that these automation systems do is you put the news rundown into the automation...
Kirk: ...and then it controls the cameras and the shots...
Stephen: And the plots where they, the positions where they...
Kirk: The plots where they move, yeah, if you have robotic cameras, yeah.
Kirk: Okay. Okay. We're ready now, let's roll it. Amanda, go ahead.
Hey, it's Kirk Harnack, we're here at SMPTE 2015 in Sydney, Australia, and I'm here talking to Amanda Leighton. Hi Amanda, how are you?
Amanda Leighton: Hi. Good, how are you?
Kirk: I'm terrific. Now, we're at the Ross Video booth, and I love this place because I'm a little bit familiar with Ross Video, with the TV work that I do from time to time, and tell me about what you have here in the booth and then we'll get to the technology at little bit, Amanda.
Amanda: Cool. All right, well, we've got a pretty big display here. We've got a full virtual solution, so we're showing our full virtual solution workflow over here. We're the only company worldwide that can provide you basically an end-to-end solution in that. So we can provide graphics, robots, design services, the user interface, everything.
Kirk: Why don't we ask the camera to pan over here to the dolly systems and the robots. Tell us what we're looking at here with this camera that's moving left to right.
Amanda: So you're looking at our Furio Robo. It's one of the most accurate virtual or encoded camera systems that you can get on the market. So you notice there's a little red line down the side there. That's a wide roll, which means that it will have the most accurate positioning that you can get. So what she's doing is it's moving on our robot system there with preprogrammed moves, and then if we actually looked at the monitor, you'd be able to see her position change in the set.
Kirk: I think we can... let's you and I walk over so the cameraman can go with us and look at what the camera is showing. Wow. Hey, it's got the weather there. I'm familiar with that.
Amanda: It certainly does.
Kirk: That's amazing. And then so as it dollies to the right, it changes, what, the perspective of the...
Amanda: Yeah, absolutely.
Amanda: So you see we only have a really small space here, but if you're looking on the monitor, it looks like we're in a really open studio, so it allows a lot of flexibility for sites that are space-limited to be able to give that illusion that they have a lot larger studio.
Kirk: Now let's talk about the tech that makes that happen for a second. So our engineering audience is kind of curious. Is there optical, is there mechanical, what kind of positioning sensors, and what's involved with making the computer know exactly where that camera is?
Amanda: Okay, so what we have is we have, as I mentioned before, we have the wire draws, which know where the dolly is and the position.
Amanda: We also have the head is encoded and the lens is encoded and that encoded data gets sent to what we call UX Track. That's a little piece of software that runs on our render engine. That changes that data into our render engine system, so in our graphic system, which is called Xpression, you know exactly where the camera is in real life into where we put that positioning into a virtual camera. So in our render engine we know exactly where it is, which means all the perspectives are correct and you can move around them.
Kirk: I get the feeling that traditional television-set builders need to learn how to build them in software.
Amanda: Actually, you know what? They do. We have a customer on air here at the moment who employed a physical-set builder to design it in CAD and then they used a 3D designer to transfer that instead of physically building it, to build it into our 3D studio.
Kirk: Amazing. Amanda...
Kirk: ...thanks for your time.
Amanda: Thank you.
Kirk: Appreciate it. I'm Kirk Harnack at SMPTE 2015 in the Ross booth.
All right, so Stephen Wilkinson and I are back at Hope 103.2 in the western suburbs of Sydney, so we're going to take you through a little tour of some other booths as well. How about that, Stephen?
Stephen: Yeah, that would be great.
Kirk: I think later on we've got an interview with you and Dan.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah, that's right.
Kirk: Well, that'll be coming up. Next, I got to visit the Avid booth, and some time ago Avid acquired Pro Tools. A lot of you in radio are familiar with Pro Tools, and they have quite a display, and they've got a setup there that you probably wouldn't use in a typical radio station...
Kirk: ...with that Atmos...
Stephen: No, you'd use it at home.
Kirk: Yeah, use it at home. Let's run right to Avid and the Pro Tools video. Here we go.
Well, now we're at the Avid booth here at SMPTE 2015, and I'm here with Daniel Lovell. Hey, Daniel.
Daniel Lovell: Hey, how are you doing?
Kirk: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Daniel: No problem.
Kirk: You've got a great accent. Is this an Auckland, New Zealand thing.
Daniel: It is an Auckland, New Zealand thing, absolutely.
Kirk: Now a lot of people in radio use Pro Tools.
Daniel: Yeah, I'm sure they do. It's a really nice production tool.
Kirk: Now but what you've got here is really amazing. I guess it's more for television, the setup you have here?
Daniel: Not necessarily. A lot of people use it for film, television, music mixing as well. It's basically a control surface for Pro Tools to give you hands-on control of the Pro Tools software.
Daniel: Go ahead.
Kirk: ...on the sign behind here it says "Pro Tools S6" and "Pro Tools HDX."
Kirk: What are those things?
Daniel: So the S6 is this control surface...
Daniel: ...which is pretty unique because its modular design means you can build it to your needs.
Daniel: And we'll have a look at it in a sec. It's got great visual feedback as well to give you tons of information. But the HDX part, that's our DSP audio processing card. So what that does is your mixer and your plug-ins will run on that card to give you really low latency audio. Of course we have native options as well, but usually the very high-end places are using the HDX card for the lowest latency and for really dependable playback.
Kirk: Now, what's interesting about this particular display...
Kirk: ...and we'll do this in B-roll, no problem, so you can keep on us and then we'll B-roll the other stuff that I'm talking about. You've got a ton of Genelec speakers here overhead...
Kirk: ...here. What are we looking at?
Daniel: What we've done is we've brought over our little Dolby halo here, Dolby Atmos halo. A lot of films are now being produced in Dolby Atmos, which is a 3D immersive format from Dolby. So what we've brought over is this one unit down the bottom here, which is the Dolby RMU, which takes panning metadata and audio and basically puts it into an environment. Because obviously an issue with film in theaters is that every room is different.
Daniel: But we want to give a really great 3D immersive feeling...
Daniel: ...to the audio. So what Dolby's done is they've built this unit that will take a 9.1 bed and then adds 118 objects to that. And those objects are audio objects, but the panning is a metadata, so it can then take the 9.1 bed and go from basically 9.1 up to 64 speakers, depending on the size of the room.
Kirk: Oh, gee.
Daniel: So Avid and Dolby worked together on this really closely. We have a plug-in that they've developed that we put into Pro Tools which then controls the unit. So we have a really great relationship with them.
Kirk: Cool. Now if I want to build this speaker system at home...
Daniel: There is actually...
Kirk: ...Is this practical?
Daniel: ...There is actually home Atmos theater systems. And what they do, obviously mounting a speaker to the roof might be difficult, but they've got some really great technologies where your forward-facing speaker will also have an upward firing speaker, and it will bounce off the roof...
Kirk: Ah, [inaudible 00:14:34], yeah.
Daniel: ...and give you the appearance of having speakers above you. So it's more achievable than you might think at first. The great thing about the RMU is it'll go from your Atmos mix down to 7.1, down to 5.1, down to stereo if you need to.
Kirk: Okay. Now if engineers want to find out more about this technology, where's a good place to start?
Daniel: Dolby has lots of great information on their site, some really nice videos telling you about the format. It's kind of a hybrid format, as I said, 9.1 plus the objects.
Daniel: So it's got some really great information about that.
Kirk: All right. And the website was dolby.com?
Daniel: I think it's just dolby.com.
Kirk: Probably. Okay.
Daniel: Yeah. You'll find it on Google, I'm sure.
Kirk: All right. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Daniel: My pleasure.
Kirk: Okay.We're back. You're watching This Week in Radio Tech, and Stephen Wilkinson, hi...
Kirk: ...is here from Hope 103.2. I'm Kirk Harnack, and we're obviously in the studios at Hope 103.2. And we're here for the SMPTE show, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in Sydney, which is an every-other-year event. Well, tell you what, let's just jump right into the interview now with you...
Kirk: ...and your dad. You and your dad, Peter...
Stephen: Peter, yeah.
Kirk: ...came by our gathering place, which happens to be the Bavarian Bier Café, and we had a chat there. And [inaudible 00:15:49], and when we're done with the interview, we'll maybe review a couple things...
Stephen: Yeah, sure.
Kirk: ...that we talked about there. So without much further ado, our crack technical team has this cued up and ready to go. Here's Stephen and his dad, Peter.
Hey, it's Kirk Harnack. We're here in Sydney, Australia at the Bavarian Bier Café. They spell "beer" here like the Germans do, I guess, B-I-E-R. Well, and I'm standing in front of a rack of equipment and I've got a couple of engineers here with me. We have Peter Wilkinson with Wilko Productions. How are you doing?
Peter Wilkinson: I'm good, thanks, good, yes.
Kirk: It's good to see you again.
Peter: Yeah, good to see you.
Kirk: I haven't seen you since breakfast, I guess, a couple of years ago.
Peter: A couple of years ago...
Peter: ...in L.A.
Kirk: At NAB.
Kirk: Yeah. Good to see you. And we have your son here.
Peter: Yes, yes.
Kirk: That's Stephen. Hey, Stephen.
Stephen: Hey, hi.
Kirk: How are you?
Stephen: Good, thanks. Going well.
Kirk: Now are you actively engineering, or do you leave that to him?
Peter: No, I leave that to him, you know.
Stephen: He supervises.
Kirk: So Stephen, you're the engineer at where?
Stephen: Hope 103.2 in Sydney, Australia.
Kirk: Big station? You have a big audience?
Stephen: Big metro station for community station...
Stephen: ...Christian community.
Kirk: Yeah. Cool. So we've had you on our show before, talking about various technologies that you put to use there at Hope 103.2. What have you been working on lately?
Stephen: Just in the last couple of months, we've transferred our on-air player system to the RCS Zetta software.
Kirk: Oh, okay.
Stephen: So that was converting from an older Dalet French system...
Stephen: ...and so that was a major project.
Stephen: So something like 95,000 audio files had to be migrated out of one system into the other.
Kirk: Oh my goodness, you know, when you get using an automation system and you've been ingrained with it for years...
Stephen: Yeah, 17-something years was the old system.
Kirk: And I'm guessing the file format's a bit different from one to the other.
Stephen: Yes, it's a mixture of MPEG-2 and WAV files, so yeah, we converted everything out as WAV files and yeah, and then had to migrate it into the Zetta software.
Stephen: So that was a big project.
Kirk: Now, you know of course, I work for Omnia. They're one of the show's sponsors. And you said that you've been playing with some new software on an Omnia product.
Stephen: Yeah, so about a month ago I installed the new 1.6 version of the Omnia.11...
Kirk: Ah, yeah, right here, okay.
Stephen: ...firmware, and yes, it's a big improvement on previous versions of the firmware.
Kirk: So what do you like about it? I haven't played with the 1.6 myself.
Stephen: It's the... you get extra loudness because of the way that the 19 kHz pilot tone is embedded.
Kirk: Oh, that's the one louder, the free 1 dB of loudness.
Kirk: No extra, no more clipping, I mean no extra clipping...
Kirk: ...no extra anything that crunches the audio. It's just a free decibel.
Stephen: Yes, that's right. And it's a cleaner sound than previous versions...
Stephen: ...from my experience of it. Yeah.
Stephen: It's been great.
Kirk: Wow, cool. Well, thanks for using the Omnia.11, I appreciate that.
Stephen: It's all right. Thank you.
Kirk: Hey, you were an early adopter of Audio over IP in your studios.
Stephen: Yes, we installed the Axia IP system in the end of 2007...
Stephen: ...It was our first of one, two studios we did then.
Kirk: That's almost seven years ago.
Stephen: I know, yes.
Stephen: And still going strong.
Kirk: Wow. And it's still working?
Stephen: Yeah, it's still working well. You know, because of the age, we're now slowly swapping out, putting in a new engine...
Kirk: Oh, yeah.
Stephen: ...over time. But yeah, the system's going well.
Stephen: It's been a great, great asset to us, because we're not just an FM station, we also run a separate DAB+ station...
Kirk: Ah, yes.
Stephen: ...as well, and a couple of Internet-streaming stations as well, so there's four stations that we're running and have to route throughout our system, which, yeah, so the Audio over IP routing has been a great...
Kirk: It's good for that, yeah.
Stephen: ...yeah. Pathfinder doing some fancy things.
Stephen: So yeah, so it's been great.
Kirk: Stephen, it's good to see you. Thanks for stopping by.
Stephen: It's good to see you.
Kirk: Really appreciate it...
Kirk: ...and I wish I could come by to Hope 103.2. I don't know if I'll have time or not.
Stephen: Yeah, we'll see.
Kirk: And how do we keep you out of trouble, sir?
Stephen: Ice cream.
Peter: Eat ice cream, yes.
Kirk: If you follow Peter Wilkinson on Facebook, and you're welcome to look him up and follow him, he posts from every ice cream shop in Australia, eating ice cream.
Stephen: And around the world.
Kirk: And around the world.
Peter: Around the world.
Kirk: Where were you most recently?
Peter: Where was the last one I was in...
Kirk: Singapore? Vietnam?
Peter: Vietnam. Vietnam, yeah. [Inaudible 00:20:14]
Kirk: Eating Vietnamese ice cream. Oh my goodness. Hey, it's Kirk Harnack reporting from the Bavarian Bier Café in Sydney, Australia, at SMPTE 2015.
Cool. It's great to see your dad, Stephen.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah, no, he's yeah, was a long-time person at day ABC radio here in Australia, which is the government-funded station.
Kirk: Now you were... obviously your dad's a little up in age, but he was in radio at the time when live productions were a big thing.
Stephen: Yeah, he was a sound effects officer, they called it, like a Foley person in television.
Stephen: And so he'd do all the horses hooves with the coconuts, and old reel-to-reel tape recorder walking through the undergrowth sort of thing...
Kirk: Oh my goodness, that's...
Stephen: ...and pouring cups of tea, and...
Kirk: Making the sounds.
Kirk: Oh, how great. So I guess nowadays, if we still did or do much drama, radio drama, we would have an InstaCart...
Kirk: ...sort of thing, a playback thing.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah. So with Australian radio's sort of like all over the world sort of stopped doing that, so... but yeah, a lot of that work is being replaced by Insta digital playback, so yeah.
Kirk: Or the wall of buttons or the wall of carts. The cart wall, the button wall, whatever, on your automation system.
Stephen: Yeah. Hot keys.
Kirk: Hot keys, that's it, that's the word.
Stephen: Yeah, that's right.
Kirk: So we're in a studio here. Let's take just a moment to show folks the studio. We're going to have to stand right here to do it so we can get out of the way a little bit. Tell me what we're looking at here in this studio here at Hope 103.
Stephen: So yeah, that's the Axia Element console, and then the screens are the RCS's Zetta software, playout software, that has only been in operation here for the last two months. And then to the right, that's the Axia screen, and then to the right of that is the PhoneBOX, which is our call management for listeners calling up and competitions and that sort of thing.
Kirk: And let's talk about PhoneBOX for a second. PhoneBOX is an on-air call-management system, and it involves both software and hardware. For years, Telos has made self-contained talk-show systems, right? But PhoneBOX, for years, has had a little different idea on the mechanics of how that works out. Tell me about what the hardware involved with this on-air system.
Stephen: Yeah, so the original PhoneBOX brand on its own, PABX phone system. So the software basically controlled the PABX.
Kirk: Now, by PABX, sort of like Avaya or...
Stephen: Yeah, Avaya PABX phone.
Stephen: Yeah. System. And...
Kirk: So it's just a little business phone system that a small office might use, right?
Stephen: Yes, that's right.
Kirk: And the PhoneBOX system controls that...
Stephen: Yes, through the software, yeah.
Kirk: ...and then how does the audio get to your console?
Stephen: So then it has POTS connections as like an extension...
Stephen: ...that your hybrid connects to, and that's how you get your audio.
Kirk: Okay. So it's a business phone system plus telephone hybrids of whatever brand you happen to like...
Stephen: Yeah, yeah.
Kirk: ...and you've got a mixture here.
Stephen: Yeah, we've got some old Gentners...
Stephen: ...and then we've also got Hx2.
Kirk: And so the PhoneBOX software just controls that, and you have an on-air phone system.
Stephen: Yeah, and you're only using one hybrid but you can have multiple, because the software is controlling the PABX phone system...
Stephen: ...you then have multiple callers on air at the same time, but you're actually only using one hybrid.
Kirk: Now, you mentioned that right now your telephone service coming into the building is like an ISDN line.
Stephen: Yeah, it's an ISDN, what we call in Australia on ramp [inaudible 00:23:57] .
Kirk: I think we would call it PRI or a partial PRI.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah, which has 10 incoming lines.
Kirk: So the Avaya system uses that as its trunk from the phone company...
Kirk: ...converts that into POTS, and then switches the POTS outputs for the benefit of the hybrids that are connected.
Stephen: Yes, that's right, yeah.
Kirk: Okay. Yes, and to me that's complex, but it actually works out pretty well, and the Broadcast Bionics guys who write PhoneBOX, they understand controlling the Avaya quite well.
Stephen: Yeah, and the Avaya is actually an IP phone system internally, and it has handsets as well so that you can control [inaudible 00:24:30] .
Kirk: But it has POTS ports that you're using for the hybrids.
Stephen: Yeah, to get the audio out, basically.
Kirk: Now I understand that, but that system you're probably going to replace, coming up.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah, so we're wanting to upgrade the PhoneBOX system to the latest PhoneBOX, which has the social media integration. So yeah, these days you're not just having callers calling, you've got people tweeting and people Facebooking or SMSing...
Stephen: ...and so from what I've seen at the show, PhoneBOX then just treats those like as if you've got callers calling in.
Stephen: And so you can set up a live caller and then you've got a tweet there you can talk about and SMS and then have another live caller, and it just looks like a list of people that you're going to interact with.
Kirk: Got you. We've had on a previous TWiRT show a long time ago, we had Dan McClellan, who owns Broadcast Bionics, and they've got just fabulous ideas about getting your listeners interacted with your hosts at the station...
Kirk: ...and then getting the result of that on the air and out in social media.
Stephen: Because these days in radio, well really, radio is multimedia now...
Kirk: Yeah, yeah.
Stephen: ...that your listeners might not actually be listening to you on air. They could be listening to you on their smart phone or they could be just in contact with the station just by your Facebook page. They might not even listen to the station...
Kirk: Yeah, yeah.
Stephen: ...but they learn about content through the Facebook page.
Kirk: Or through Facebook or other social outlets, they may just partake of the highlights from, say, the breakfast show, the morning show, that was posted after the show was over.
Stephen: Yeah, that's right. And we put out video content on our website and promote that on Facebook so that people will go to our website due to that, so... Yeah, and then they find out about things about the station.
Kirk: Cool. Well, all right. Well hey, you're watching This Week in Radio Tech. It's our 265th episode. We are in Sydney, Australia, at the studios of Hope 103.2. We're in a studio where nobody else is right now, they've got a breakfast show going on down the hall.
Stephen: Yeah, the other studio.
Kirk: Yeah, that's right. Our show is brought to you in part by my friends at Omnia, and a brand new audio processor that I got lucky enough to get my hands on for about a week. It's the Omnia.7. Oh, come to think of it, I now own one, actually part of one, in our station...
Stephen: Which part?
Kirk: ...I think I own the remote part. That's the only part I've actually seen. Our station's in American Samoa...
Kirk: ...just what, about 3,000 miles up the street there, we have an Omnia.7 in American Samoa. Now I should tell you, the Omnia.7 is the newest audio processor from Omnia. It has its roots in Leif Claesson's Omnia.9 processor, and they wanted to make one that was more affordable.
So they took away the touchscreen because most of the time engineers are not at the transmitter site, so it has a beautiful screen on it but it's not a touchscreen. You can do everything from the front panel with a knob, but it's just not a touchscreen. Then it does the work, though, with Leif Claesson's fabulous NF remote software that works just anywhere. I was at the Bavarian Bier Café remote controlling and checking the settings on my new Omnia.7...
Stephen: Oh, wow.
Kirk: ...in American Samoa.
Kirk: So it's just amazing. And when my business partner bought it, and he got a promotion where he got the free RDS upgrade. So it's got an RDS generator built into it, so I programmed that with our call letters and our slogan, and then I connected it... again, all of this remotely...
Kirk: ...connected it to... We have the Arctic Palm Center Stage RDS software, so that aggregates our title and artist information from the automation system, plus puts in safety announcements and "hug your kid today" and that kind of stuff on the RDS. So I did all that remotely. Now how did we get it installed? Well, we have a general manager at our station in Samoa... you may have done this with your general manager...
Kirk: ..."Could you plug this wire in here for me, thank you, and move this wire over here." So we were off the air for about 20 seconds while he moved cables, and then we set an IP address on the Omnia.7. I set the router at the station to allow me to access it with a super-secret port number and password, and now it's just amazing that you can do all this.
Stephen: Yeah, I'd set up a processor remotely for a station down in Tasmania, which is, yeah, still a long way away. And yeah, same thing, yeah, it's amazing being able to do that.
Kirk: Yeah. Well, and the sound of the Omnia.7 is amazing. It has all the Leif Claesson stuff that goes into it. It also has this technology where you can get... on the Omnia.11 they're calling it "one louder," but it's got Leif Claesson's "Stereo and Better" technology, which gives you a free 1 dB of loudness. You don't have to clip any more or process any harder, but because of the way he embeds the stereo pilot, it's amazing.
You actually get 1 dB of more loudness absolutely free. Well, okay, you have to buy the Omnia.7 or the Omnia.9 or the Omnia.11. Check it out. Go to the website at OmniaAudio.com, which will actually forward you to the Telos Alliance website, and click on Omnia and check out the Omnia.7.
I guess the big news about the Omnia.7 is it's affordable. It's really affordable. In U.S. dollars, the list price is around $6,000. Contact your dealer for your price, and see if they have any promotions going on. We got an RDS encoder upgrade for free out of that.
All right, this is This Week in Radio Tech, Episode 265. It's Kirk Harnack along here with Stephen Wilkinson. And we've got something to show you next. I got to speak with a lady here in Australia, Karen Olliver. And Karen has been the manager and she's been running a company called Innes Corporation for a long time.
Stephen: Yeah, I know Karen, yeah.
Kirk: And who was the fellow who...
Stephen: John Innes.
Kirk: John Innes, yes. And didn't he design consoles and stuff?
Stephen: Yeah, and cards and a lot of electronic equipment.
Kirk: Yeah, I meet John at a community radio meeting in Adelaide a few years ago.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah.
Kirk: Yeah, a great guy. So anyway, there's been some changes there, and one brand of equipment that a lot of engineers don't know much about is Sonifex. It's not extremely popular in the U.S....
Kirk: ...but they make a lot of cool stuff that you ought to check out. So let's roll that. Here's Karen Olliver at Sonifex.
Hey, we're at the booth of Sonifex, and if you've ever heard of a company called Innes Corp., and I knew Innes Corp., it's now Sonifex, and we're here with Karen Olliver, who runs the whole place. Hi, Karen.
Karen Olliver: Hi, how are you, Kirk?
Kirk: I'm great, it's good to see you.
Karen: Welcome back to Sydney.
Kirk: Thank you. It's always nice to be welcomed here and especially by a native Australian.
Karen: Thank you.
Kirk: Where's your office at, here in Sydney?
Karen: We're in Sydney, yes.
Karen: At the northern end of Sydney.
Kirk: Now, your company has been both manufacturing and dealing in broadcast gear for decades, right?
Karen: Correct. About 30 years, yeah.
Kirk: Oh my goodness. When you were just a little girl.
Karen: I was, wasn't I.
Kirk: Okay. Awesome.
Karen: Originally founded by John Innes...
Karen: ...and hence the name Innes Corporation.
Karen: And a year ago we came under new ownership, that's Sonifex in the U.K, another very established business. They've been in business for 46 years. They were looking to expand, we were a small established company. They were very interested in the products we'd developed...
Karen: ...and that's how the union happened [inaudible 00:31:53] . All right, yeah.
Kirk: Let's do a little walk and talk this way. I want to look at the Sonifex gear.
Karen: Sure, yeah.
Kirk: In a few minutes, John Abdnour is going to tell us about some Nautel gear...
Karen: Yep, excellent.
Kirk: ...but the Sonifex gear is this beautiful red color. I see it at all the shows...
Kirk: ...but I know so little about it.
Kirk: What can you tell us about what we're seeing, like acoustic echo cancellation, audio DAs...
Karen: Yeah, that's actually a relatively new product.
Karen: But basically Sonifex make a huge number of audio and video interface boxes. We like to call them digital glue products.
Kirk: Yes, yes.
Karen: And we are actually now distributing Sonifex in Australia. That's a relatively new role for us, even though we've been owned by them since July last year. It's only been from about April this year that we've taken over distribution, master [sounds like 00:32:40] distribution, so we're on a bit of a learning curve ourselves.
Besides all these interface units, they have a range of signal LED signs, they can be customized to basically say anything. But they've proven very popular with the commercial broadcasters over here. They also have a range of confidence monitors, reference monitors, delay units.
Kirk: Are they in front here?
Karen: Yeah, they're round here, yeah.
Kirk: Let's go have a look. Let's walk over this way. We have a great camera lady here.
Karen: Yeah, we [inaudible 00:33:09] .
Kirk: She's following right along.
Kirk: All right, what do we have.
Karen: She should be on film, not me.
Kirk: What do we have here?
Karen: Younger and prettier.
Kirk: Oh, these are blue.
Karen: Yeah, these are blue. These are the blue boxes, yeah. So this is the range of reference and confidence monitors.
Kirk: Come on in here. So we have... so okay, so these have built-in speaker systems and LED monitors. You can choose, I'm sure, different inputs from them, and lots of LEDs here. What do we have here, monitor... okay so we have different... source controls?
Karen: Yeah, what we have here is the expert from the company, Marcus, our new boss.
Marcus Brooke: Hi, Hi Kirk, how're you doing?
Kirk: Hi Marcus, how are you doing?
Marcus: Very good, thank you.
Kirk: Good. Well, we're live. We have millions back in the U.S. watching right now. Give us the one-minute overview here, please.
Marcus: One-minute overview. So we're looking at audio monitoring, visual monitoring and audio monitoring. These units have analog and digital inputs, but also this one can take SDI input and de-embed. These are sort of reference monitors so you can do a bit of checking, so cutting left, cutting right, so I'm doing phase checking, and so on.
Kirk: Oh yeah.
Marcus: So as a reference source it's pretty good. These are basic monitors, just if you want to listen to, so there's something there. So this has two analog inputs, this has two analog and six digital. And then we've got visual metering. So these really bright, prime LED, American brand, very good brand LEDs which are super-bright so you can see them across the room. And again, single stereo channels, lots of metering formats...
Marcus: ...basically, so PPM and VU, everything that you need.
Kirk: Real quick look at a very accurate look at what the audio is. Are there different ballistics available on this?
Marcus: Yeah, that's right, yeah, they go up to nine different ballistics that...
Kirk: I'm just happy to know the word ballistics. I think that's so cool.
Marcus: Yeah, I'm impressed, you know, so.
Kirk: Can we back up and see what these things are?
Marcus: Yeah, absolutely, yeah.
Kirk: I've never seen these before. What are we looking at?
Marcus: Okay, these are Commentator Units, so for sports grounds, so for football or soccer or for tennis, something like that. So you've got commentators that'll be talking and giving commentary live. Dedicated, so they've got talkback feeds back to the production gallery. And lots of features basically for...
Kirk: So I'm...color me confused here.
Kirk: Would the talent have one of these in front of them, or would a local producer in a booth have that?
Marcus: Absolutely. So this is around the edge of the ground, so you'd have your talent talking into these.
Marcus: So for example, this one, there's two commentary positions and one for a guest.
Marcus: So let's say a sports person comes up, they'll plug them into here, so you've got mic inputs on the front, and headphone selection really so they can listen to the referee, the sports ground, whatever's happening. So they're in full control with one of these boxes.
Kirk: Now here's an eight-channel talkback control unit. What does that do?
Marcus: Okay. Well, this is going to sit in an OB truck, and the producer will use one of these to talk to his camera men, and also to talk to the commentators as well. So this will sit in the truck and these will be out the side of the pitch, basically, so...
Kirk: Cool. Awesome. Thanks so much, Marcus, I appreciate it very much. And Karen, I believe next we're going to hear about the transmitters, is that right?
Karen: Yeah, yeah, we've got a first for Australia, anyway. We've got a brand new GV5 Nautel transmitter. It's the first one to come into Australia, so it's pretty exciting, and we've got it on display. And one of our Victoria network customers has already bought the unit, so yeah, it's pretty exciting for us. I was going to also say, I don't know whether it will mean anything to the American audience, but as Innes Corp., we're actually one of the original SMPTE exhibitors from the get-go...
Kirk: Ah, yes.
Karen: ...from the start of the show. And we are rebranding as Sonifex, but hopefully we'll continue to exhibit here for many, many more years.
Kirk: Everybody in Australia loves you.
Karen: Oh, thank you.
Kirk: And here's John Abdnour. How are you, man?
John Abdnour: I'm well, thank you.
Kirk: It's great to see you.
John: Welcome to Australia.
Kirk: I feel like I've known you for, I don't know, 35 years or so because I used to get brochures from, I think, Continental, and they had your picture in them.
John: You're probably thinking of ITC. Now I'm going to date both of us.
Kirk: Oh gosh, that was a... yeah, yeah.
John: That goes back to the '70s. That's right, it did have my pictures. They could have got better models, but [inaudible 00:36:57].
Kirk: Speaking of ITC, I always liked doing my little ITC imitation. You'd call the number and you'd get a lovely young lady who would say, "Good afternoon, ITC 3M." Do you remember her?
John: I do remember her, but I don't remember her name. It's been too many years, anyway.
Kirk: I'd call just to hear her voice.
John: Well, that was you.
Kirk: That was me, yeah.
John: That was you. That was you.
Kirk: All right. What are we looking at behind you, a GV5.
John: We're looking at our GV5, 5 kilowatt...
Kirk: That means "great volume" five.
John: Green V transmitter.
Kirk: Green V, okay. All right.
John: This is Nautel's newest introduction to the FM transmitters. This is the replacement for the NV series.
John: It's the GV5s, it's more... the "G" in the green, it's because it's more efficient. This transmitter is about 72% efficient AC into RF out.
John: Which is up from 64 on the NV series transmitter.
Kirk: Wow. You can do some math on that and actually pay for the transmitter over time with the power bill.
John: You can, you can, yeah.
John: You actually can do that. And it's...
Kirk: Well, and especially if you're going from a tube transmitter to this, or something else that's pretty inefficient.
John: It's even more remarkable on the AM transmitter. You go from some of those AM tube-type transmitters, you go from the 60% efficiency up to 90% efficiency...
John: ...you can pay for it in a real hurry.
John: Yeah. This transmitter's actually going to Ace Radio here in Australia...
Kirk: Yes, yes.
John: ...and it's one of the first GV series transmitters that we shipped here. We've shipped a great number of our NVLT series, which is very similar but with some of the features missing. For example, the NVLT series does not have the front panel touchscreen, it does not have a front door. It has the same high efficiency and a lot of the other features in it. We've probably deployed up to 40 or 50 of those transmitters in the country in the last year or two. And coming to the country as well is our newest introduction to the family, which is the NX5 and NX10 AM transmitters...
John: ...which is the baby brother and sister or our renowned higher power NX25, 50...
Kirk: Yeah, there's a 50 right there, yeah.
John: ...right, there's a 50 and up to 400 kilowatts.
John: But Broadcast Australia, one of our better customers, has a fleet of Nautel transmitters, has four of these on order to be installed in some of their stations.
Kirk: Now a lot of people love this AUI. What's that stand for?
John: Advanced User Interface.
Kirk: Advanced User Interface. Now this one doesn't have that, but if you browse into it with your browser...
Kirk: ...it still has that?
John: That's correct.
John: The NX5, NX10 we did not put that on the transmitter.
John: For the reason is we're trying to keep the cost down, because the cost actually, of this transmitter, is a bit less than the previous XR series. In our research, our customers have told us that they love the idea of the AUI.
John: However, they say that they only look at it whenever they go to the transmitter site, which is not very often.
John: But they do like it...
John: ...remotely. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Kirk: Yeah. Yeah.
John: That's why it's not on the NX5.
Kirk: I was thinking, with the money I save on buying this one, I can buy like a Lenovo Windows tablet and duct tape it to the front here, and then I'll have the display.
John: You could put it some places on there, like they do that, yeah. The NVLT series FM transmitter also does not have the AUI display. It's got the LCD...
John: ...screen, but you can still access it by web...
Kirk: By web, sure. Sure. Yeah.
John: ...on the transmitter.
Kirk: At our stations that I own, we have a couple of Nautels as well, and they have this kind of front panel...
Kirk: ...and then we just get into the AUI remotely, or locally.
John: It's the same on our lower-power FM transmitters, which we see over here.
Kirk: Oh, yeah, yeah.
John: The VS series...
John: ...of which there is...
Kirk: I've got one of these and I've got one of these.
John: Right. The 300 and the 2.5 kilowatt.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah.
John: And again, you've got the same features, the same access to the AUI...
John: ...but it just not on the front of the transmitter.
Kirk: So if folks want more information about Nautel, they would go to where on the web?
John: Go to www.nautel.com.
Kirk: How easy.
John: How easy. Or, if you're in Australia, go to Sonifex.com...
John: Right. And I'll be happy to tell them anything they need to know.
Kirk: All right. John...
John: There's a wealth of information on our web page.
Kirk: Thanks for the update, especially on the GV series.
John: GV series.
Kirk: The GV series. All right. We're at the Sonifex booth at SMPTE 2015 in Sydney.And Kirk Harnack and Stephen Wilkinson are back at Hope 103.2.
Kirk: Stephen, I realize now that I've got plenty of interviews so we're just going to...
Stephen: Yeah, that's all right.
Kirk: ...move right on to the next one, okay?
Stephen: Yeah, that'll be great.
Kirk: All right. So next, we're talking with Scott Incz. A lot of you may follow him on Facebook. He runs... I think he calls himself the Chief Optimist. Business is so bad, somebody's got to be the optimist. He's the Chief Optimist at BW Broadcast, and they make a lot of low-cost gear for broadcasters.
Stephen: Transmitters and processors and...
Stephen: ...RBS [sounds like 00:41:59] units.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah. So let's hear from Scott. We did an interview and featured a beautiful little transmitter that they're building. Let's check it out. Scott Incz at BW.
Okay, well, we'll come back to Scott Incz at BW Broadcast. I'm not giving our production team enough time between cuts. I'm sure they'll have that sorted...
Stephen: You've got to thread up the tape and...
Kirk: Yeah, that's right. Remember that? Threading up tape? Oh my goodness.
Kirk: Did you ever...Oh, okay, I'm told we're ready to go, the tape is threaded and cued. It's up to speed. Here we go.
Hey, it's Kirk and we are at SMPTE 2015, reporting from yet another manufacturer's booth. This is Scott Incz. Hey, Scott, how are you?
Scott Incz: I'm fantastic, Kirk. How are you?
Kirk: I'm great. You're the Chief Optimist...
Scott: Optimist. That is my official title.
Kirk: ...at BW Broadcast.
Scott: That's correct.
Kirk: So let's take a look at a couple of things you've got on display here.
Scott: Sure, sure.
Kirk: I was real interested in a, first of all, a transmitter that you have...
Kirk: ...it's right behind you. Let's walk over there now and have a look at it.
Kirk: So this a 2,500 watt transmitter?
Scott: Actually, it can be a 2,500 or a 3,500.
Scott: It's capable of about 4.2 kilowatts in hardware...
Scott: ...but depending on how big the budget is of the customer...
Scott: ...they can select 2,500 or 3,500 watts.
Kirk: Now to me, this looks like a pretty simple design. I'm sure there's a lot that goes into this layout, but it looks so clean. Tell me about designing a 3,500 watt transmitter.
Scott: In fact, it's the same as designing any of our products. We try to make them incredibly simplistic...
Scott: ...so sometimes people look and say, "Hey, that's a bit basic. But actually, the less parts in a product...
Scott: ". . . the less there is to go wrong."
Scott: So what do you want to know?
Kirk: Well, okay, so look, I love getting inside a transmitter. All this is, what, power supply side and input side, right?
Scott: Yeah, so we've got two hot-swap plug-in power supplies...
Scott: ...which enables one, easy maintenance. Two, it provides redundancy...
Scott: ...okay. And they allow the customer to have an easy-to-service solution.
Scott: Because one of the biggest problems I'm sure you're aware of is power supply spikes...
Kirk: Sure. [Inaudible 00:44:15], yeah.
Scott: ...especially in emerging countries.
Scott: We wanted the customer to have the ability to change the power supplies easily, and if you're going to, rather than put one in, why not have two?
Kirk: Sure, sure.
Kirk: And you can operate at reduced power levels just on one.
Scott: You can. You can. It will run on half power.
Kirk: So what's this board on the top now?
Scott: Well, this board actually, in keeping with our ethos of simplicity, is an integrated card which has analog inputs, MPX inputs...
Scott: ...RDS inputs, AES inputs, and additionally, at no extra cost, a four-band DSP audio processor.
Scott: And it also has a 5 watt exciter card. And that 5 watt exciter card...
Scott: ...is what drives the power amplifier.
Kirk: Okay. So the 5 watt RF comes out of that...
Kirk: ...and goes over to what?
Scott: In this particular product, it goes over into a pre-drive stage, which takes the 5 watts up to about 20 watts...
Scott: ...and then that is split across into four of the latest LDMOS rugged devices.
Kirk: I was looking at those. These are these big wide things?
Scott: They are, yeah.
Kirk: Okay. [Inaudible 00:45:09] .
Scott: And here's something really, really cool.
Scott: We're one of the only manufacturers, I think, if not the only manufacturer that doesn't solder in our transistors. You can actually...
Scott: ...you can take this board off, which is a gold-plated clamp...
Scott: ...and with only a screwdriver, you can replace the transistor.
Kirk: Holy Moly, I have burned myself silly...
Scott: Oh, I know.
Kirk: ...replacing our F transistors.
Scott: I think we are the only company that does that. So you've got four of these LDMOS devices...
Scott: ...that they're capable of 1.2 kilowatts each.
Scott: We run them in the 3.5, at about 850 watts each.
Scott: And they go off into the combiner, into the low pass field, and out to the antennas off it [sounds like 00:45:45].
Kirk: Now we're showing a closeup view of the combiner right now. Can you tell us anything about how this combiner works?
Scott: Well, it's a standard Wilkinson combiner.
Scott: It's some tracks on a PCB...
Scott: ...but very, very expensive...
Scott: ...RF PCB...
Scott: ...that takes four inputs down to two inputs down to one.
Scott: And then that drives into the low pass filter, which removes any harmonics that may be [inaudible 00:46:09].
Kirk: So that's these big coils here.
Scott: That's what they are, and the capacitors are printed on the PCB.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah.
Kirk: So what comes out is fully FCC-compliant?
Scott: One hundred percent.
Kirk: All the harmonics are way down.
Scott: Yeah, they're down past 80 dB. It's clean as a whistle.
Kirk: Now, I see on the back here, am I seeing an Ethernet port?
Scott: You are seeing an Ethernet port.
Kirk: What do you get, do you browse into that or what?
Scott: There's an HTML5 web remote control.
Scott: In a moment I'll show you on my smart phone how you can connect to it. So you can control from an iPad. It's not Flash, there's no Flash requirement like some of the brands so you can connect to it from anywhere. There's SNMP, it's Telnet capability, the serial capability, there's an HTTP API because I know some engineers like to integrate commands into their own systems to control products in their network. So it's pretty flexible from a communications perspective.
Kirk: Let's... I could talk about transmitters all day long but you've got another piece that's open over here.
Kirk: Can we go take a look at that?
Kirk: All right. So this is a platform that you have been developing for some time now where you can, what, turn this chassis into a number of different products.
Scott: Yes. Just to bore you with some business statistics, we manufactured so many different products over the last decade, that it was like how do we support all these products, how do we buy all these components, stock them, manufacture 20,000 different boards. So we said "Hey, let's consolidate." So we designed a new platform that we call Encore. And Encore basically is one hardware chassis with one set of common boards and it can be an RDS encoder, a stereo generator, a multi-band DSP audio processor, an audio backup device, a rebroadcast receiver, an FM monitor, pretty much anything. There's slots on the card, on the PCBs, to enable us to fit up to two tuners, there can be two FM tuners.
Kirk: So we're showing a closeup here of the tuner board right now.
Scott: There's only one fitted right now...
Scott: ...which is just an FM.
Scott: But we have capability to put HD and DAB into the second slot. Or you could put two FM tuners.
Kirk: All right.
Scott: Moving across into the digital board, I know you were pointing at that at the moment...
Scott: ...we've got one fourth-generation SHARP DSP from Analog Devices that can do the basic RDS stereo generation and audio routing...
Scott: ...routing, for our American viewers, for the whole product. We've actually got three extra slots to fit an extra three DSPs...
Scott: ...and as you'll see, I'm sure you're going to... your viewers will get a closeup of this, we have these little stamp DSP cards, so that when you buy an Encore product, you can at a later date, should we provide an additional feature, just put in a $50 additional card, and they fit into these little slots as we can see here.
Kirk: Wow. Wow, that's good. And let's come around, bring the camera and get a look at the front panel. Actually, you've got this one that's open, and then you've got a whole rack full of devices with different-looking front panels.
Kirk: So is this part of your philosophy of a single platform with different capabilities?
Scott: Exactly. The PCB behind the front panel is exactly the same, the boards in the chassis are exactly the same, the only differentiation is the machined aluminum, the position of the rotring [sounds like 00:49:34] code or the buttons, the overlay and how many screens are in the product.
Scott: And the rest, as they say, as you know, is just software.
Kirk: Yeah, right. I'm going to wrap it up real soon here, Scott...
Kirk: ...but tell me what, so if people are interested in seeing your products, you have a website, I suppose?
Scott: Yeah, if you go to the www.bwbroadcast.com...
Kirk: All right.
Scott: ...then that's where you'll get the latest information.
Kirk: Okay. BWBroadcast.com...
Scott: That's the one.
Kirk: You guys are in England.
Scott: We are, we're based in London, England.
Kirk: You have dealers all over the world.
Scott: We do, and probably SCMSinc.com is the best place in the United States.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah. Good deal. Scott, thanks so much for your time.
Scott: It's been nice speaking to you, Kirk.
Kirk: Appreciate it.
Scott: And have a good time in Sydney.
Kirk: Thank you so much.
Kirk: Hey, it's Kirk Harnack and Stephen Wilkinson, hi.
Stephen: Hi, I'm great, thanks.
Kirk: We're doing a This Week in Radio Tech, Episode 265, from Sydney, Australia. It's great to be here, and in order for the picture to come out right in the U.S., we had to turn the camera upside down.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah, because the water goes backwards in the...
Kirk: Yeah, all that. I need to go flush a toilet in the station here.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was going to say, the BW Broadcast...
Stephen: ...the Australian distributor is Wireless Components, the Australian distributor here, so any Australians watching.
Kirk: And to translate that to American, that's Wireless Components.
Stephen: Wireless. Wireless.
Kirk: Wireless Components.
Kirk: So you're a fan.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah, oh, yeah, a lot of small stations are using their transmitters. Yeah, they're being very successful here.
Kirk: Cool. All right. Hey, we've got two more quick interviews to do before our time is up. Let's roll right into the next one. I got to talk with a gentleman by the name of Andy, Andy Mikutta from Yellowtec. Now Yellowtec you may know makes those beautiful mic arms. Oh, you have them here. Yeah. These are really cool. By the way, they're finely German engineered. Don't ever take one apart, because you'll never get it back together, ever. Have you ever taken one apart?
Stephen: No, no.
Kirk: Don't ever. If it breaks just throw it away and get a new one. You don't want to take it apart.
Stephen: [Inaudible 00:51:26].
Kirk: Oh my gosh. But if you don't take them apart, they work fantastic.
Kirk: But they also at Yellowtec make a couple of other things. They make a little mixing console that's like a three-fader mixing console.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah.
Kirk: And then they make this reporter's microphone. So here's Andy and me to tell you about that.
Hey, it's Kirk. We're back at SMPTE 2015. I'm talking here with Andy Mikutta. Hi, Andy.
Andy Mikutta: Hi.
Kirk: How are you?
Andy: I'm fine, how are you?
Kirk: I'm great. You're with a company called...
Kirk: That is a really interesting name. Now Yellowtec makes these beautiful microphone arms that stop people in their tracks when they go through a trade show and they see these beautiful mic arms. They stop, "Ooh, what's that?"
Andy: Yeah, you'll find the beautiful mic arms in almost all the nice radio facilities.
Kirk: Yeah, yeah.
Andy: It's very popular because it's not just a mic boom, it's a whole system.
Andy: So it's different types of monitor arms, mic arms, and accessories that can handle all the monitors and all the equipment you have.
Kirk: So we at Telos use these mic arms, monitor arms, speaker holding arms in our displays, but today we're here to talk about something different. And this a product that I've never gotten to play with very much. It is called the iXm?
Andy: Right, right.
Kirk: And I always thought it's just a microphone with a recorder built into it. Oh, was I wrong. In fact, for this interview we are using this microphone, so all the audio you're hearing was recorded on this mic, and then in post-production striped in later. But the audio from this microphone is amazing. Tell me what's built into this mic that makes it amazing for reporters...
Kirk: ...and people who aren't audio engineers.
Andy: Yeah. The point is this microphone is particularly designed to record interviews. And in interviews, to record interviews is a very special thing, because you never know what you get. You never know how loud your interviewee will answer your questions...
Andy: ...how loud the environment is.
Andy: What we designed, we designed technology we call LEA. And with the LEA engine, we control the recording level. That means whatever you do in front of the microphone, you will get the perfect flat recording level. So here I talk with my normal voice, normal level, but also I can shout, I can shout very, very loud, or I can whisper, and the recording level stays the same. And this is the important thing. Because most of the journalists have no technical background.
Andy: They are journalists, the focus is to ask them the right question to getting right answers...
Andy: ...but not the technical side of the interviews. And we make sure that they have the freedom to be fully concentrated to their main task, and we do the rest. The microphone here is perfect to handle all the audio of the interview.
Kirk: And if you've just heard the audio, then you know how well this thing actually worked, and you couldn't do that with a normal cheap Flash recorder. It doesn't have that kind of processing in it.
Kirk: Now, we're not going to turn the mic off, but maybe you could tell me a couple of the features that are built into the mic. You showed me earlier about how this mic connects to your smart phone.
Andy: Yeah. We have a built-in Wi-Fi connection, and with this Wi-Fi connection, you are able to use an iPhone to, first to choose the file you want to use, and to transfer the file from the iPhone...
Andy: ...straight to your station.
Andy: So this makes it very, very fast. Five minutes after the interview, the file can be at your station.
Kirk: And in the app, you have the ability to do a little trimming, the head and top and tail, so you get the right start point, end point...
Kirk: ...and this allows the reporter to send a finished interview back to the studio, or nice parts that can be easily edited then at the studio if they need to do that.
Andy: Yeah. That's the idea. It's not a full editor, but it is edited to make the basic things.
Andy: Right up into you check the start and the end point of the interview, change the name, and send it to the station via Dropbox, via FTP, or via email.
Kirk: I noticed that on the mic itself here, it says "powered by beyerdynamic"...
Kirk: ...so you have a high-quality cardioid microphone in here...
Kirk: ...and then the electronics are of a Yellowtec design, including that LEA technology you mentioned.
Andy: Right. Right. So the hat comes from Beyer because they have much more experience in designing a microphone hat. And the electronic comes from us. We have three patterns available. There's an omni, a cardioid, and a super-cardioid available.
Kirk: Oh, okay.
Andy: So, and two types of mic hats, the Beyer and we have our own mic hats...
Andy: ...and so with the Yellowtec hats they sound a bit different. The Yellowtec hats are dynamic and these are condenser mic hats.
Kirk: Plenty of options no matter what you need, that's it. So that's the Yellowtec iXm. The website would be what?
Kirk: Cool. Hey, we're at live...or recorded, I guess...at SMPTE 2015. I'm Kirk Harnack along with Andy. Thanks a lot, Andy, appreciate it.
Andy: Thanks here.
Kirk: So if you didn't notice, we were actually using that microphone's recording...
Kirk: ...as the audio.
Stephen: It's amazing. I had a demo of it as well, and it's just oh, wow. Yeah, it records multiple versions at different levels, and then within it, it processes it and picks the best version and pieces it together. It's just...yeah, amazing.
Kirk: And isn't that the worst thing, when you go out and get some audio, and you notice that mic didn't have any controls on it for level. You just hit record and talk.
Stephen: God, that's it.
Kirk: And it's going to be...whether it's down here or up here, it's going to be...
Stephen: Yeah, it's great.
Kirk: ...right. All right, hey, let's quickly, we're running low on time, so the last interview that we did, I spoke with a gentleman from Holland, Raoul Wedel. And in the U.S., where I'm from, we're very U.S.-centric about traffic and billing and monetization and things like that. We don't have to deal with other currencies. I guess maybe if you're a Canadian station, you're going to deal with some exchange rate. If you're one of those Mexican border blaster stations, you might end up dealing with an exchange rate. But in Europe, you've got other countries all around, and some are on the Euro and some are not.
Stephen: Yes, that's right.
Kirk: So had a great conversation. Check this out. Even if you're in engineering, you need to know about the possibilities here. This is Raoul Wedel with Wedel Software, and it's a short interview but check it out. Kind of important.
With Ian Gunn. Hi, Ian.
Ian Gunn: Hi.
Kirk: Good to see you.Oh, that was Ian. Sorry.
Ian: And you, and you.
Kirk: And you are representing or you work with a company that I don't know much about, but I see it here and there in usually the finest newsrooms.
Ian: The finest newsrooms.
Kirk: It's Burli, B-U-R-L...
Ian: L-I. Burli. It is, it's a newsroom system for broadcast and for digital journalists these days.
Ian: It started in radio and that's still where a lot of our strength is. And yeah, it's a newsroom system, so it brings in the sources that you'd expect, newswires, the AP, those kinds of things.
Kirk: Oh, so it actually brings in external text sources?
Ian: Brings in external text sources, external audio sources, RSS feeds, websites, those kinds of things. Social media as well. So it puts all that stuff in front of a journalist so that he or she has an idea of what's going on in the world and [inaudible 00:58:25] .
Kirk: So help me with an idea here. Say I'm a journalist working on a story and I'm familiar with Burli software, I use it every day to help me write my stories and get sources and quotes and things like that. Kind of what's my workflow? Let's say I'm doing a story on, oh, I don't know, new traffic laws in Vancouver.
Ian: So it kind of depends on what you're doing, but the short answer is, if you've got a reporter in the field, he or she's got some kind of mobile device with her...
Ian: ...a little iXm microphone or something. They send from the mobile device, they will upload it, it comes straight into the newsroom system. So you're sitting there as an editor at the desk, you're going to be able to see that material come in, text and audio, and photographs if those are attached as well...
Ian: ...and throw those into your newscast. And they'll show up in the right order and they come up in the studio, you'll see the text in nice big print, and then you can read it right off the screen in the studio and push play and a nice big button in front of you on the screen. And it then plays out over the radio. But then when you're done with it, then there's a thousand other places you can send it to.
Ian: You can send it to websites, you can send it to social media. You want to upload to that, you've got to have that photograph and you want to put it on the website. You want to send it as a tweet with tweet effectively says "New Traffic Laws, details at 104 FM in 20 minutes." A photograph of a car being towed away or whatever that photograph was.
So it's a radio newsroom and you've got a radio reporter with a microphone and all the rest of it, but they're taking photographs these days and they're sending them out. Wo much of what you do now involves the broadcast and the live broadcast, but maybe prerecording something and sending it to your other stations across the network, and then being a part of social media and getting that news presence out there, and being a news authority, these days, doesn't just mean being a great radio news station. It means letting people know on other platforms, like Twitter and YouTube.
Kirk: So Burli Software started out as basic newsroom software with text and audio, has grown along with the way that newsrooms have grown and all the outlets you need to push to.
Ian: Absolutely. and news gathering has changed. Mobile phones, your iPhone and things like it have really fundamentally changed beat reporting for people from the smallest towns to the biggest markets on the planet. A lot of them are carrying iPhones now.
Ian: And so you've got a video camera, you've got a still camera...
Ian: ...and you've got an audio recorder, all in your pocket.
Ian: And it's live online basically the whole time with 4G LTE stuff. And so getting stuff, filing stuff back, and having it... and then moving on to your next story without having to get in the news cruiser and drive back to the studios. It's changed everything, it really has.
Kirk: If a radio or other broadcaster radio station or other broadcaster buys a Burli newsroom software package, what is the engineer likely to be doing to help get that in? I guess audio and IT connections and things like that?
Ian: Yeah, so you've got your incoming sources, which some of which come in over the Internet, some of which are coming locally, just people typing at a keyboard and stuff. And then it's networked together, there'll be a server hiding behind the scenes in a rack room somewhere, and then it's standard desktop PCs.
Ian: And then when you get into the studio, then you're linking together with audio over IP and talking to those drivers and that kind of stuff.
Kirk: Okay. Cool. So if people want more information on Burli, B-U-R-L-I newsroom software, where would they go have a look?
Ian: Burli.com. Burli.com is a really good place. And we've got offices and resellers worldwide, so look for your local office.
Kirk: Ian, thank you so much.
Ian: Thank you.
Kirk: All right. This is Kirk Harnack at SMPTE 2015.
So I introduced the wrong interview. I'm going to have to have a chat with the producer of the show.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah.
Kirk: Oh wait. That's me.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah.
Kirk: All right. Well now, as quickly as they can re-rack the big VTR in New York, we're going to go and talk to... and by the way, that was Ian Gunn. And for newsroom operation, oh my goodness, that Burli stuff.
Stephen: Yeah, it's great for a newsroom.
Kirk: It is so awesome. And Ian's a nice guy to talk to. If you've got a newsroom operation, he will help you figure out, get your workflow down.
Stephen: Yeah, and his scripts and everything all in there.
Kirk: And the scripts can be on your phone, so if you're doing a live report it can be on your phone, scroll right up, really cool stuff.All right, now we're going to talk to Raoul Wedel about international traffic and billing, the money side of things. Here we go.
Hey, we're here talking with Raoul Wedel. Hi, Raoul.
Raoul Wedel: Hi, how are you?
Kirk: I'm great. Good to see you. So we're at the SMPTE 2015, and Raoul, you are here with AVC...
Kirk: ...and showing off some really amazing software that Wedel Software develops.
Raoul: Yes, that's right.
Kirk: Tell me about your software packages.
Raoul: We do basically traffic and billing systems, so we do the financial part of the radio station, and we have a couple of other options, packages around that, like a CRM system and a proposal management system.
Kirk: Now there are a number of other traffic and billing systems on the market...
Kirk: ...what makes your ideas different than some others?
Raoul: Well, first of all, we are an internationally based traffic and billing system, so we specialize in customizing our software for several markets and several countries. We deal with international tax regulations, different accounting systems in several countries.
Kirk: So you can take into account different taxing systems, different laws, and maybe different currencies?
Raoul: Yes, that's right. We are currently in about 20 countries, like Asia, Latin America, North America, but mainly Europe, because we originate from Europe.
Kirk: Whereabouts in Europe are you?
Raoul: We're in Holland.
Kirk: Now I understand that you have some involvement in some radio stations yourself.
Raoul: Yes, that's right. I own some radio stations also in Holland.
Kirk: I am a part owner of some stations. I own the part that doesn't make any money. How about you?
Raoul: Me, too. Yeah.
Kirk: Tell me about your experience as a broadcaster, then.
Raoul: Well, I started in pirate radio in Holland about 25 years ago.
Kirk: What? In pirate radio?
Kirk: Aw, cool, we've got a law breaker here. Go ahead.
Raoul: And started applying for local licenses when I was younger...
Raoul: ...and that grew into the station that it is now.
Kirk: Wow. Do you have one or more stations?
Raoul: It's one network with 10 local advertising splits.
Kirk: So what kind of programming are you playing?
Raoul: It's dance and house music.
Kirk: Wow. How is that to sell? How's your sales staff sell that format?
Raoul: That's pretty good, because Holland is one of the countries where dance originates, dance music originates from. Most of the famous DJs, like Armin van Buuren or Tiësto, they come from Holland, so it's a pretty good market in Holland.
Kirk: Are these FM stations?
Raoul: Yes, all FM stations.
Kirk: Okay. And do you have a streaming presence as well?
Raoul: Yes, that's right.
Kirk: So if... we have so many people in our audience who love to check out streaming stations, where would people find your stations on the web?
Raoul: Okay, it's on fresh.fm.
Kirk: Oh, that's easy. Fresh.fm.
Kirk: And I take it that you probably use your own traffic and billing software.
Raoul: That's right, yeah, yeah.
Kirk: Cool. So if people do want more information on your multinational, multi-tax, multi-currency, fantastic traffic and billing, where would you find that?
Raoul: They can do go wedelsoft.com.
Kirk: Wedelsoft. W-E-D-E-L soft.
Raoul: S-O-F-T dot com.
Kirk: Cool. Hey Raoul, thank you so much for joining us.
Raoul: You're welcome.
Kirk: I really appreciate it. And good luck with your stations.
Raoul: Okay, you too.
Kirk: Okay. This is Kirk reporting from the SMPTE 2015 in Sydney, Australia.
And we're still in Sydney with Stephen Wilkinson here.
Hey, our final sponsor is Axia, and I want to tell you something I just found out about three days ago. This was significant information for me. I didn't know. So we've been talking a lot about Livewire, the original Audio over IP for broadcast that was invented at Axia. And we've talked about AES67, the new standard for Audio over IP that all manufacturers can build to and give you interoperable audio systems.
The little down side of AES67 is that it doesn't come with all the goodies that you want to have to make establishing a studio convenient, like source advertising and just convenient click, click, click to get something going. Or GPIO, it doesn't have that built into the standard. So now the folks at Axia have something called Livewire+. What does that mean? I work for the company and I didn't actually know this until a couple days ago, when Greg Shay, our Chief Science Officer, explained it.
Here's what Livewire+ is. It's Livewire plus AES67. Now that seems duh, obvious, but what does that imply, what does that mean? What it means is that you get all of the conveniences of Livewire... you get source advertising. When you want to make a connection or audio route, you hit a drop-down button, you pick from a list, you click it, bam, the route is made.
You get GPIO, so you can have contact closures go across the studio, across the facility, from the top floor to the bottom floor, and even out the door. So you can have convenient GPIO and other control messaging. You get that, plus you get AES67 compatibility. So it's just that AES67 becomes another stream type within the Livewire world.
So you get all the stuff that Axia built into Livewire to make it convenient, and you get this new standard, this international standard of interoperability on the audio side. So Livewire+, I'm telling you, I didn't realize the significance of what that meant until just recently. We're going to have Greg Shay back on the show again in a few weeks. He's going to reinforce what I said about it here in this commercial, and give you even more advantages of why Livewire+ includes AES67 and how that makes your life a lot easier as an engineer.
As an engineer, I'm interested in my life being easier.
Kirk: So we can take just a second. You have a Livewire Axia facility here. How long has this been in operation?
Stephen: Since 2007.
Kirk: Oh goodness, that's about eight years.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah.
Kirk: So you have some old consoles here.
Stephen: Yeah, these were the first, this is the first studio that we're in that was actually fitted out with them.
Kirk: In Australia.
Stephen: Well, we're about the third station, I think, in Australia.
Kirk: So this idea of Audio over IP, Livewire, has this, have you noticed that this has been convenient for you, saved you some trouble?
Stephen: Oh, well, as well as just running a couple CAT6 cables, and a multi-core, the multi-cores of cable. Just the routability, that's the best thing about it.
Kirk: Do you ever do remote access from home and fix a little problem or make something that, hey, that PD forgot to tell you, oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, we need this routed in here today.
Stephen: Yeah, yeah, that's it. It's so easy to route, remotely do things, and we set up Pathfinder to do multiple things, so yeah.
Kirk: I think you said, do you have an xNode here at this point?
Stephen: Yeah, we've got one xNode.
Kirk: Okay, so yeah, we no longer make the legacy nodes, but you have an xNode. So that with the updated software will do AES67. So if you were to... I notice you've got some Genelec speakers here. I keep hearing rumors that Genelec is going to make speakers that have AES67 on them. So when you need to feed them directly with AoIP, it could come from that xNode and be AES67.
Stephen: Oh, that'll be great.
Kirk: Yeah. Cool. All right, so thanks a lot to Axia for sponsoring This Week in Radio Tech. And check out Livewire+. There's actually a webpage that describes it... maybe I need to read that webpage again... and fully get it because now I get it.
Livewire+ simply adds AES67 as another stream type to the already über-convenient world of building studios with Livewire. So Livewire+, check it out at TelosAlliance.com. Click on Axia and check out this Livewire+ page. We'll put a link to that in the show notes. It's really amazing.
All right, we are done here. Stephen, thanks for your hospitality.
Stephen: That's okay. We've got to get back to SMPTE.
Kirk: We do, we do. We've got some programs to go to and things to learn and teach.
Stephen: Yeah, that's right.
Kirk: So we've been broadcasting live here from Hope 103.2 in the Seven Hills area in West Sydney with a great Internet connection. Thanks so much to Andrew Zarian back at the GFQ network headquarters in New York, and I appreciate him very much keeping up with my mistakes and getting all these videos on and lower thirds. Thanks so much, Andrew, I really do appreciate it.
Next week, Alex Kosiorek... I hope I'm saying that right, if I'm not, I'm sure he'll slap me and correct me... will be our guest on the show, and he'll be talking about a recording technique that is just stuff that we need to know as engineers and I think a lot of us have forgotten because we don't do it very much. But Alex is going to be here, and so we'll see you next week.
Thanks to our sponsors, please patronize them. And tell your friends about This Week in Radio Tech. Also, subscribe. That way you'll get the podcast downloaded automatically into your device. You don't have to worry about forgetting it. You'll have it with you wherever you go, if you're in the car, on the train, on the bus, on the way to the transmitter site, hanging around the top of the tower, you can listen to it and view it there.
We'll see you next week on This Week in Radio Tech. Bye-bye, everybody.
Topics: Broadcast Engineering
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