Archive

Posts Tagged ‘VoxPro’

NAB Show 2016 Recap

Ever been so busy that you cannot dig out?  Well, I’m finally digging out!  I will start out saying that I need more time on the floor and will have to look for ways to weasel more time, but last week it would not have mattered since as the day I returned to work we had a station launch.  Welcome the new Sunny 98.1!  I could start writing on all the things I didn’t get done from my list, but that would be boring, so let’s dive in and see what I did see physically, and what I feel is the number one trend by many.  First the products that stood out to me.

Tieline Technology (www.tieline.com) introduced the ViA.  A compact codec with an new improved user interface.  Designed around the world of IP connectivity the unit has built-in WiFi, a physical network interface, and USB ports for a customer provided USB modem.  If you are familiar with the Report-IT app, then the use of the codec will be intuitive.  The codec comes with 3 XLR type inputs and 3 headphone outputs.  Location of the headphone jacks are next to their respective inputs making it very convenient for all cable runs.  I do see room for improvement, and rest assure I will be in contact with them.  I hope to be able to spend a bit more time with this device when they roll them out.  It is no secret that I’m a Tieline supporter and have tested and evaluated a number of their devices.

Wheatstone (www.wheatstone.com) has acquired Audion Labs VoxPro.  Did you know that?  Yeah, I did.  VoxPro is a very strong and well used phone editor and I am glad someone picked up the product, and they appear to be very serious about it.  They retained the developer, Rick Bidlack, who seems to be getting the support he needs to move the product forward.  VoxPro 5 was released a while back with some improvements, and 5.1 came out just a month or so ago to address some very important issues.  As you can tell, with the release of VoxPro 6, they are standing behind the product.  The physical controller now has a new paint scheme, but enough of cosmetics, the new UI which came out with 5 is looking good in 6.  The ability to detach the hotkeys will make some morning show folks quite happy along with the capabilities to record while playing back.  I have not tried that, but we’ll see how the hardware (PC) handles that work load.  Finally a little multi-track editing capabilities are there for those who want to get more complex in their work.  I have experienced some issues with Windows 8 and 10, and they appear to be OS issues.  I feel for software developers that have to deal with such headaches as Microsoft isn’t making it easy for them!  I am continuing to watch here as I feel there will be more coming soon.

DEVA Broadcast (www.devabroadcast.com) continues to impress me.  Each year at the show I see something new and I just want to try it.  Maybe this year I will be able to get my hands on a couple of their devices.  I could list a whole slew of devices that are new or upcoming and that would be space consuming, so I will give a mini list of what I liked.
Confidence monitoring, both HD and FM in the DB3011 (HD) and the DB3010 (FM).  Both are radio monitors with IP audio streams, so you set them at a site and stream the audio back.  Listing what you can do with these devices will take many pages, so hit their website.  Noteable is you do it at your computer.  You can monitor nearly everything and then some.  They think of almost everything.
Audio processors.  Did you know DEVA does processing?  I did not.  On the floor I spent some time listening, via headphones, and I was quite impressed what a single rack unit box can do.  Look for the DB6400(4-band) and the DB6000(6-band).  Again you can access these via IP and front panel.  The details you can get into is amazing.
Finally the DB7007 Re-Broadcast receiver.  If you are in need of a receiver for a translator site or even a booster, this may be your choice.  It is feature packed and has fail-over to many options like IP stream or even MP3 with a built in SD card slot.  In addition, and an issue some stations have, is RDS re-encoding.  You can get the proper station calls on that station and even the slogans.  Now if we can get one that can re-encode PPM, eh?  Again, this unit can be accessed via web interface to monitor and control.
All the devices come at a very good price point.  If budget is a concern, you may wish to look at these.

Inovonics (www.inovonicsbroadcast.com) is my go to for the space saving INO series of tuners.  Their new 638 is the HD Radio SiteStreamer which is the HD evolution of the 635 FM/RDS SiteStreamer.  All accessible via IP and web interface you now know what is happening at the site with all the data.  A nice feature is polling.  One box will poll your HD, HD2, HD3 in a time frame set by the user all with silence monitoring and alarm notification.  Get that, one box.  I also like their 650 Arron FM Rebroadcast Receiver.  This one introduced the re-encoding of RDS information, and an improved tuner to really pickup that main station if you are way out there or in an area of marginal reception.  I acquired an 808 Justin for diveristy delay on one station.  The box works well.  I have had little time to research on of the other devices out there, but I know they exist.  I feel more enhancements are coming to the 638 than what I saw at the show, so place this on the watch list.

While poking around the booths, the one trend that I picked up was monitoring and control.  IP accessibility at sites have improved with better land and microwave connectivity.  Manufacturers are embracing this.  WorldCast (www.worldcastsystems.com) introduced the WorldCast Manager.  Burk Technology (www.burk.com) introduced SNMP monitoring in their ARC Plus Touch remote control.  Both systems are delving deeper into the SNMP data gathering.  Those with an ARC Plus Touch can upgrade to this capability, those with the ARC Plus only can look into their upgrade package deal.  What is make the life better for Burk users is the SNMP monitoring is now at the local site and you have channel assignment capabilities.  Those of us with the older ARC Plus rely on the AutoPilot software for SNMP monitoring which may be at one location thus requiring an always up data connection.  This upgrade now gives local options and redundancy.

Look for more monitoring and control solutions out there.  I know there are others doing it, I just did not have a chance to visit them.  As operators cut staff and the fact that technology allows for more granular monitoring embracing this will help minimize off-air situations and help with troubleshooting.  Know where a system fails based on status points will quickly show where an issue lies.  Boxes that can communicate with each other will help expedite switching to alternate audio feeds.  If you have not begun to build such a system, you may wish to consider it.

Two days on the floor was not enough for me this year, but I made the best of it.  I enjoy catching up with colleagues year after year.  I like to see what is new, or in reality, what has improved.  New is lacking, but improvements abound, and you can see who is embracing the improvements and incorporating them into their systems.  And, if anyone can find a better, rack mounted, HD radio that displays Artist Experience other than the cheap desktop thing, I sure would like to know about it.  Now get back to work, y’all!

 

Cheers!

Advertisements

NAB Show from the Field

April 11, 2013 4 comments

I am  back at work and recounting what my feelings are about the NAB show.  Of course all of this is from the floor perspective as I do not have the money to attend all the fancy talks or events.  I usually get all that stuff later, so maybe I can read something interesting and relay my thoughts on them later.  As for the show, for me it was mediocre in a good way.

Let’s talk first of the show itself as this is the mediocre aspect.  As I am in radio, yes I admit it, the much to do about nothing TV and video is not high on my list.  Don’t get me wrong as there are really cool things going on in the video and TV, it is not my main focus.  With that in mind all the hype is on video and TV with very little on radio, and all of it is the SAME propaganda.  Does anyone ask if it is really relevant?  Do I care about 4k TV and video?  No.  I wear glasses and much of it is wasted on me.  I’m not even a 3D fan as it is far from realistic and plain lame.  Personally I would rather see more pertinent, realistic things on both sides, radio and TV like IP technology (which was there) and transport.  How to make it happen.  The sessions cover the details of these things, but it would be nice to see and talk in a booth on how it works.  I’m an hands on guy, so “feeling” it gives me a better idea of how well it may work in the real world.  On that note, what did I find cool?

Let’s start with the Radio Magazine’s Pick Hits (in no particular order)
1.  DEVA Broadcast DB4004.  FM Radio Monitoring Receiver.  Yup, that is exactly what it is.  Too many features to write up, so visit the website.  I like the measurements with history.  WEB and FTP, so there is a NIC installed.  Web browser is embedded as is the FTP server.  Email alerts, SNMP.  Almost everything is configurable.  I talked with Todor Ivanov, GM, and he was very passionate about his products.  It shows.  Now if iBiquity will talk with him it will be HD ready.  He is prepared and ready to roll with it as soon as the love comes.2.  Nautel.  I attended the Nautel Users Group on Sunday and was introduced to the new Omnia Direct for the NV transmitters.  Yes, digital composite direct from the Omnia 11 to the NV.  All NV’s shipped with version 4.0 firmware is capable, any upgraded to version 4.0 will be ready.  Speaking of that, version 4.0 firmware will ship soon.  I talked with Kevin, customer service manager, and I expect it soon to test on “older” rigs (my 4 year old NV20’s).  I look forward to trying that out.
Did I mention they introduced a new TV transmitter?
3.  Tieline.  The latest from Tieline is the Merlin Plus IP Codec capable of doing 6 simultaneous remotes.  Place one at your studio and have up to 6 simultaneous mono remotes.  Did I mention just 1 box at the studio?  Connect with Report-IT and/or your G3 Field Units or iMixes.  Not a bad idea for facilities that do a lot of off site live stuff.
In addition to this product, Tieline is also incorporating Opus codec technology.  The standard is open source, so no licensing fee.  Great for the end user.
4.  Audion Labs VoxPro 5.  I put this here because I am a VoxPro plant.  It works.  Air talent likes it and low maintenance.  Look for version 5 to be released this summer.
5.  Arctic Palm Datacasting.  I like this product.  I want this product, but I can’t get it just yet.  Send your data to RDS, HD, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Look for the Artist Experience if/when this gets going.  It supports TagStation now.  I think this is a great product for a centralized data distribution point.  Stations that simulcast should take note.
6.  Elenos.  A new 3kW transmitter in 2RU with excellent efficiency.  Anyone else?  Though FM only, the digital modulator is ready for HD once the details with iBiquity is worked out.  As a company, Elenos is another one that shows extreme passion for what they do.  They are proud of their products and they will SHOW you.  They will also talk with you and LISTEN.

Last, and least, is what is up with the new Harris Broadcast logo?  I’ve asked this and I got many of the same response.  I’m not sure what it represents (a TV?), but my first impression was a little more reactive.  In any case, Harris does have a major presence and continues to build good product.  One drawback is they are trying to do everything, and to me that doesn’t work.  A certain “alliance” comes to mind.

Many of the products out there are good.  So, from that aspect the show was good.  I still wonder about HD radio.  As any who reads my blog or follows me on Twitter or Google+, I’m not a huge fan.  I do have 4 signals in HD and we started our HD2 with more to come.  What bothers me is I know of 3 instances where I was told point blank that they (manufacturers) are waiting for iBiquity.  Either to give approval or help to find the proper solution.  If the company that owns the standard is dragging, do you want or need to wait?
I also felt that on the floor there was a lack of passion.  I know of a few companies that are very passionate, as mentioned above, but many that are there because they need to show their wares.  I also felt as if the cold shoulder was being given out freely this year.  One booth, well know name, dismissed my presence.  No one made an effort to talk.  Come to think of it, there were a couple of booths like this.  This is so wrong for many reasons, so beware expecting business or repeat business.  Radio is so into themselves I feel that if you are the outspoken or outcast, there is not place for you.  Could this be part of the radio industry problem?

On a cool note, if you wandered back and saw the DJI booth, you saw a very cool product.  Drones!  The small Phantom is ready to fly and ready to hold your GoPro Hero camera.  The S800 is an 8-rotor job that accommodates a camera gimbal with 3-axis stability.  One may ask why  so cool?  I mentioned to two engineers what I think this would be great for an engineer:  basic tower inspection.  If you need a quick look at a tower or antenna, fly one of these things up (need to check on range) and take pictures.  Analyze on the ground and then determine if you need to hire a crew to get more details or repair an issue.  I want to test to see if one of these can fly within the RF environment or at reduced power.  In any case, cool product, and potential good use.

I do look forward to next year.  I also made notes on what I think I should or will study up on as it becomes some prevalent to the industry.  Most of the technology is IP.  I have much more to learn on that.  I’ll continue to update all I learn as I gather information.  Till next year’s NAB show, see you in the social media space and the blog!

Cheers.

Studio M Goes Live!

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

This morning we went live from Studio M at 6:00am PDT. The transition went smooth. The combination of automation conditions, cross-point control, and humans came together and we did it!

As you may have guessed or if you read the blog, we are an SAS house. This studio consists of a Rubicon SL-24 & a Rubicon SL-8 in a split console configuration. We currently use the Enco DAD system on which we run an older version (long story). We have 3 touch monitors on this computer, one extended to the producer. We have the Audio VoxPro with 2 controllers, 2 monitors. Call screener appears on 3 monitors.

It flies. We like it. Now I get to do my job. More later. Gotta run!

Categories: Equipment Tags: , ,

Networking VoxPro

As mentioned in a tweet I wish to share how we network the Audion Labs VoxPro. It seems to be quite simple, though from my discussions some have issues. We try to keep things as simple as possible and at times we are forced to figure things out.

The Network:
Set up each of your machines as required for the VoxPro. We currently use Windows XP. Setup a user account to log in to the machine. This is necessary when it comes to the network connection and server authentication. Also consider auto login to make it simpler. Note: This is a machine or computer login, not a VoxPro user account. That comes later.
So, a computer will have a name, StudioAVP: a user, VoxPro1; and a user password, voxpro.

The network is a basic client-server network. Connect all workstations to a switch. Connect the server to the switch. We use a Gigabit switch and 1Gb NICs (network interface cards). Choose a switch with good processing speed and memory as you will be pushing a lot of data. The file server we use is fast and runs Windows Server 2003. We also have a 1.5TB RAID 5 array for storage. Note: we “home run all workstations to a single switch as we found a switch-to-switch connection caused some oddities most likely caused by the switch itself.  Add user accounts to the server so it can authenticate.  Allow access to the “drive” that will store the files.  This is a folder you can name VoxPro.  Map the workstations to this folder.  For example you will map V:\ to this folder.  VoxPro from what we found will recognize a mapped drive, but will not work as well with an UNC, Universal Naming Convention.

Once all this is done, you can now “create” the user list for your VoxPro computers.  Each VoxPro has a file on the local drive called users_local.inf.  This is where VoxPro creates the user paths to their files when you make them within VoxPro.  Instead of doing additions within the software, I edit this file directly using Notepad.  If you have multiple stations you can comment out the users from each local machine, but allow access in a production room.  I’ll show an example below.  Once this file is created/saved, you can open up VoxPro and the list of users is now present.  When selected for the first time, the necessary folders are created on the server and the audio will now be stored on the server and available in any room.  This users_local file is necessary on all VoxPro computers and the paths must all be consistent.  I save the master copy on the file server for easy reference and editing.  If you add a new workstation, you copy this file over and edit appropriately for that workstation.  Keeping a master up to date is important, too, so when you make changes, make sure you updated that master copy!

Example of the users_local file:
For the master file I create something as follows:

;KXYZ
V:\KXYZ\Joe
V:\KXYZ\Mary
V:\KXYZ\Morning Show

;WXYZ
V:\WXYZ\Morning Show
V:\WXYZ\Afternoon Drive
V:\WXYZ\Traffic

Etc.  We have 3 stations, so I have 3 commented sections for each station with the users under that.  A ; before a line is the comment character.  If you have a user you wish to temporarily suspend and want to keep the files, place a ; in front of that line.  Once the files are saved, removed, moved, or whatever, then you can delete the line.  All gone.

The above example is what you would see in a production room.  As there are 2 users named “Morning Show”, it is a good idea to give them unique names as in a common room like production, the list will show 2 users with the same name though the file location is different.  To use this file in the WXYZ control room (on air room) and restrict another station access, comment out the lines with users restricted in that room:

;KXYZ
;V:\KXYZ\Joe
;V:\KXYZ\Mary
;V:\KXYZ\Morning Show

;WXYZ
V:\WXYZ\Morning Show
V:\WXYZ\Afternoon Drive
V:\WXYZ\Traffic

Only those users not with ;’s will be visible.

Note that I always create through the software the administrator account and generic “user” account.  These are on the local drive.  The Administrator account is password protected.

Speaking of password protection, this information is saved within the folder of the specific user.  If someone creates a password, this password will be necessary on ALL workstation when they choose their account, so there is no need to worry about each workstation having a unique password.

One last thing to do is SHARE the folder C:\Program Files\VoxPro PC with everyone.  This way you can make those copies of the users_local.inf file and access them accordingly without running around to each workstation.

Hopefully this information is helpful to all.  I will attempt to create a sample network diagram and post it.  I will also edit this post as I see mistakes or changes.  All of this is written from the top of my head and not referencing any of our notes regarding this network.  😉  Brain exercise.

Cheers!

Categories: Equipment, Management Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: