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Covid Round-3? Tieline Via Ready

January 7, 2022

Looks like Covid has hit with round 3, 4? Open, closed? Stay home, go to work? Politics aside, this has been such a rollercoaster ride, and has been quite frustrating. Well, take that frustration out and go ahead and try something new. As we have gone through this before, I spent the week preparing for the potential, looming situation of air talent working from home, again. This time I have the opportunity to do what we have read about from Tieline, multiple connections to assist in a network delayed world.

What, you ask? Multi-talent show, two people for this one, located at different homes/locations. What happens when these two connect only to the station? Talent 1 speaks, audio goes to the station. Then the mix-minus feed to talent 2 is sent from the station to talent 2. Network delay gets a bit longer between the two talent due to this double hop. The solution is to create a feed, or stream, between the two talent. Enter the Tieline Via where I chose to implement many “factors” or better yet, resources provided by Tieline. Some are free, the Tielink server for example, while others are licensed. It is all based on needs or desires. With that said, I use the Tielink server, Cloud Codec Controller, and capabilities of the Via.

Being a power user I decided to setup my two units by connecting them to independent LANs as I know this is basically how the final use will be, and use the Cloud Codec Controller to connect and configure. Doing so, I open up each respective unit and created a new profile or program for each utilizing the dual mono program. On each the first stream is configured to connect to the station. I have three Merlin Plus units, so must designate which one and which port. The second stream is a bidirectional stream between the two Via units. Being that they are not a dedicated IP address behind a home router, I implement the Tielink server. Either unit can connect to the other.

The test setup looks like this:

Two Via Units Chatting Away

I setup the units to use either the wired LAN and/or the built in WiFi. This way I can cover the fact that some homes do not have a wired connection these days. We all know that audio over WiFi is our last resort, so when the talent picked up their respective units I provided a network cable and asked that if they could, plug ‘er in.

The audio matrix editor makes this a breeze in audio routing. It looks like this:

Matrix Editor

The fact that I am using the Cloud Codec Controller makes for quick remote changes as needed. I hope I do not need it, but if one cannot connect to the studio, I could route it through the other’s Via keeping both air talent on the air. The current setup is they converse through the direct connection cutting the delay. The producer at the station can just take them out of cue if the discussion gets heated! 😉

I did run into some interesting “gotcha” moments when doing my setup and testing. First there is the company network routine. If I used the wired network on both, as expected, no issue. If I put one on a different, or outside network, the firewall would not allow the connection. And, if you think you are smart and put both on the same WiFi network, you are not. The units would not see each other. This occurred with a standard “house type” WiFi and a WiFi setup with a hotspot. Though you think you are on the same subnet, the WiFi router must have a setting to allow for the two to talk. Once I put them on independent networks, outside of business, everything worked as expected.

The only Tieline side gotcha was the default Dual Mono mix matrix was not populated with any default audio routes when I started. The recommended cross points were indicated, but not selected. It was just extra work to click each cross point needed to do what I wanted. This included headphone feeds and what encoder to send the audio. I was baffled by this at first, but nothing preventing me from finishing the task. I did have to make a call to reacquaint myself with the Tielink server. Turns out to be quite easy.

I am now ready. I hope we do not have go to this, but the Via units are deployed and have been tested from their temporary homes. Let’s continue to do our best to get through this Covid stuff.


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