WheatNews May 2021

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WHEAT:NEWS MAY 2021  Volume 12, Number 5

WHEN YOUR FIRST LOVE WAS AN FM2000

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By Jordan Tuck, Audio and Field Tech, Michael Patton and Associates 

The FM2000 was the processor I grew up listening to when I was in my teens. This was the sound that I noticed, the sound that started my interest in audio processing. I always noticed how it had more air and detail in the high end. It never audibly distorted but had this silky high end that I’ve not been able to recreate since. It was a very loud box, clean but loud, with this strange texture in the high end. 

The sound on that box is what inspired me to get into processing over ten years ago. Wheatstone stopped making the FM2000 a long time ago, but I compare every processor I evaluate to it still. 

MP532 FRONT

When I heard about the MP-532, I was cautiously optimistic that this mystery processor I’d been hearing about might do the same thing, so I brought one in to test. This is some new processing technology, for sure. It’s different in many ways, but I can hear that familiar high end that I loved about the FM2000. 

The MP-532 might even sound better; it’s certainly better behaved! 

JordanTuckInStudioThe AGC section is almost identical to that of the FM2000. I am a big fan of that tried and true five band AGC and compressor. The one onboard the 532 seems to be a revised and cleaner version of that familiar five band AGC and compressor. The clean and "unaltered" high end that this box can create and pass through was a surprise. Where other boxes tend to roll off a bit of the high end, this one doesn't sound as if it's doing any high frequency roll off. To some, this may sound a little brighter than they like. I thought so too, and fortunately, could change it easily.  

The limiter section in the MP 532 is clean, fast and accurate, and it holds its own when pushed hard. You can go anywhere from clean and dynamic to loud and proud with just a few adjustments. I found I can recreate that 80's radio sound but also create some very consistent new sounds too. Of course, it does clean processing very well. This box seems to handle any song, and music format, and also seems to handle speech very nicely with no objectionable "clipper distortion" or clipped sibilance issues that some boxes can create. This box also does very nicely with my preset on some familiar "processor stress test tracks" that I use. It can be laid back, punchy, flat, scooped, boosted, filtered, you name it. I haven't found anything it can't tackle. 

I find that pretty much every processor I like doesn't really have a "house sound," which means they don’t sound clean and clinical. Another bonus about the 532 is that its settings and adjustments both on the unit itself and on the GUI are far less complicated and confusing for me to figure out. It is simplified and logically laid out. 

The stereo generator is accurate, clean and stout. The analog outputs are also equally stout and clean. 

The single rack height also makes this a very small and compact unit to install and implement. There are no fans inside to make any noise either. Studio friendly. It doesn't draw attention to itself either. 

With the 532, I found a lot familiar inside that I loved in the older processors I've used from Wheatstone, but with many nice added updates and a cleaner high end. The bass punch is very, very fun to listen to. My door panels in my car rattle! There is still that "texture" in the high end that I loved about the FM2000, plus this unit has a better laid out GUI. It's small but packs a punch. I’ll probably end up buying a few. 

Wheatstone began shipping the MP-532 multipurpose audio processor for FM, FM HD, AM and AM HD earlier this spring. 

RACKING UP A NEW PROCESSOR? DO THIS.

Make sure input levels are set for adequate headroom.  

The recommended practice for setting input levels on digital studio gear is -20 dBfs average, -12 dBfs peak, giving you, on average, 20 dB headroom before the absolute maximum level of 0 dBFS is reached. This is especially important given today’s overly processed source material. Processors like our new MP-532 are specifically designed to handle the large density variations found in today’s source material. Setting studio gear to a standard input level with enough headroom will give the processor more to work with and result in a better sound overall. 

HYBRID WORKING: GETTING THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

image001 1Why choose between working from home and going to the station when you can do both? Our technology partners at RCS make a very good case for hybrid working in their recent blog, Hybrid Working: How to Get the Best of Both Worlds. Here are a few highlights.

  • Data from time tracking tool RescueTime shows that home workers have a 4% increase in core work and an 18% decrease in time spent on communication when compared to office workers.  Over a year, that delivers up to 58 more hours of workday.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau says the average American commute is now 27 minutes one way. That’s almost an hour that home workers don’t have to spend in traffic and are therefore able to add to their workday. 
  • In a survey of their users, Salesforce found that 64% of workers said that they want to spend “at least some” time in the workplace. Similarly, a recent survey published by UK office supplier Office Space In Town found that just 5% of employees want to remote work on a full-time basis.
  • Networker NordVPN reports that “wake-up times” may indeed be later for at home workers but peak email volume is now an hour earlier. Similarly, VPN Surfshark has seen spikes in usage from midnight to 3 a.m. that simply didn’t exist before the pandemic.
  • What was devised as a way to more easily deliver outside broadcasts and to remotely access content (in the case of automation and AoIP in general and RCS and WheatNet-IP in particular), is now making it possible for broadcasters to go home, go to the studio, and go hybrid. 

FROM SINGLE- TO MULTI-PURPOSE NEWS STUDIO

STRATA32 TeaseIf your television station still has a single-purpose news studio that’s only used part of the day, there are a few simple things you can do to put that studio to work 24/7.

One is to change out your audio console to an IP audio routed surface.

Going from a fixed-I/O audio console to an IP audio routed console will give you the flexibility to quickly change mic feeds, configure IFB connections and reset settings going from one show or newscast to the next. 

All routing and control for the console is handled by the IP audio network, which gives you many more options to setting up the console and connecting to the resources you need. If it’s on the network, it’s routable, programmable and accessible – often automatically. For example, when a field reporter’s mic turns on, our WheatNet-IP audio network can automatically send a mix minus back to the field reporter’s headset for IFB. 

And because everything routing and logic related is moved to the network, IP audio consoles are extremely compact. For example, our Strata 32 IP audio console making its debut at the NAB show packs 64 channels and all that IP audio capability into a 40” frame.

THE COMPANY WE KEEP

PartnersThumbWe have more than 60 third-party brand products that interface directly into the WheatNet-IP audio network, from playout and production automation systems to camera control and IP audio codec distribution. 

If we don’t have what you need for your WheatNet-IP audio network, we have connections to those who do.  Explore our technology partner page for ideas and additions to your WheatNet-IP audio network. 

COOL AOIP MAINTENANCE TIP 

NESTNothing kills electronic components faster than heat. For every 18° F above 70° F, long-term electronic reliability can be reduced by roughly half (according to Uptime Institute). 

Your rack room should stay at a cool 70°F and there should be sufficient airflow around critical components. You can use SNMP diagnostics to keep an eye on components and other changes. SNMP is built into many network elements, including WheatNet-IP audio network I/O Blades. 

If you discover a heat problem in the racks, you can try spacing out equipment with blank panels between them for better airflow. If things are really heating up, one temporary solution is to remove the ceiling tiles above the racks so heat can move farther up and away from equipment. A longer-term solution is to install CRACs, or Computer Room Air Conditioners, in every third or fourth rack to cool things down.

Finally, consider periodically upgrading fans and heat sinks in PCs and other gear, especially if you’ve upgraded to a new graphics card or processor, which could be generating additional heat as a result. 

Sporting Sound Effects

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VoxProHands

Sportscasters tell us they will be returning to the field with more than a mic. 

Sound effects and music beds specific to an athlete or a particular play are being created in advance and recalled for playback in the field using the Hotkeys on our VoxPro digital audio recorder/editor

VoxPro is commonly used for recording and editing live call-ins for morning radio shows, although in recent years, it’s found its way onto the field for quickly recording and editing. 

Unique to VoxPro is its controller with scrub wheel plus software editing tools designed specifically for real-time, fast-paced live production. The form and function of VoxPro is dedicated entirely to live coverage so sportscasters can easily drag and drop sound bites into a Hotkey and add fades and effects as needed, all while editing or recording a separate track in a side window AND sending a mixdown to air! 

Spring Cleaning Video: How-to Clean Penny & Giles Faders

Wheatstone's Zach Brewer takes you through all the steps involved in cleaning a Penny and Giles 3000 Series fader.

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

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

Compare All of Wheatstone's Remote Solutions

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

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

Remote Solutions Video Demonstrations

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

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Click for a Comparison Chart of All Wheatstone Remote Software Solutions

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

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

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

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

IP TV EBOOK COVER

IP Audio for TV Production and Beyond

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

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

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