User Report: WPOZ Gets Positive Results With Comrex
Fla. — In years past, we at WPOZ(FM) Z88.3 used standard broadcast
phone systems such as the Gentner TS-612. While they worked fine, we
struggled to get the audio fidelity that we were looking for.
few years back, I strayed from the norm and installed a “soft
phone” solution. It was part of our IP-based, business phone
system, a 3Com NBX. This gave us great audio quality, but the NBX
soft phone became orphaned by 3Com.
there are soft phone-based systems designed for broadcast, but based
on my experience, I wanted a hardware-based solution that would give
superior audio quality. The only way to accomplish this was to put in
a system directly connected to a digital phone trunk, such as a PRI,
or to digitally integrate with our office system via the IP telephony
standard of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). The second solution
allowed us to share our existing PRI and give us integration with the
Comrex released the STAC-VIP, I was intrigued. On paper, it looked
like what I needed. Since my 3Com office phone system was no longer
supported, and given the fact that their SIP support was limited, I
was pessimistic that I could get full integration between the
STAC-VIP and the 3Com. However, Comrex and Broadcasters General Store
ensured me that I could return the system if I could not make it work
within 30 days, so we placed the order.
installed the chassis in the rack room and connected it via AES to
our Harris VistaMax system. I connected the STAC’s Ethernet port to
the dedicated phone VLAN, ensuring the best network speed and lowest
latency. I have QoS (Quality of Service) programmed on our network
systems. It is beyond the scope of this article, but know that QoS is
essential in a shared network environment for good audio quality. I
installed the STAC’s control surfaces in our main on-air studio,
and one in Studio B.
I was not able to get the STAC to register a SIP session with the
3Com. I went through every option and every document on the subject
with no success. I contacted Comrex support. They reviewed logs and
tried various settings. With no success, they asked if I could
capture a network trace of a successful SIP connection with a
third-party soft phone. I gathered one and sent it to them. They made
a modification to their software, and after a firmware upgrade in
less than 24 hours, the system connected and worked perfectly.
Needless to say, I was impressed.
chassis provides two phone hybrids, connected via either two analog
lines, or a single stereo AES line. The system currently works for a
single studio with both hybrids available. Comrex says it will allow
the two hybrids to be split between two studios in a future software
STAC allows up to six voice sessions (lines). They can be any
combination of SIP connections, to one or more SIP providers, and one
session of Skype. I programmed five lines to our 3Com and one Skype
instance. The control surfaces can function in “screening” mode
or “on-air” mode. We found them to be intuitive. Their six
multi-color lights allow the staff to quickly tell the status of the
call. You can drop one call at a time or use the “drop all”
button to clear all calls, or keep new calls from coming in.
more informative is the Web interface. It shows the status of all
lines and the caller ID; it allows you to type in notes about the
caller and has a chat window. Calls can be answered or placed from
this interface. In fact, a studio could function with the Web
interface alone and do anything other than talk with a familiar
Skype integration was easy to configure. I plugged in a user ID and
password, and the system registered immediately. I was able to make
and receive Skype calls with ease. Our station does a seasonal
feature called “Christmas Around the World,” and the ease of
making calls anywhere in the world, for this show, along with the
superior audio quality, was ideal.
summary, I am pleased with the system functionality, the audio
quality and especially the customer support. All of my goals were met
with the Comrex STAC-VIP.
information, contact Chris Crump at Comrex in Massachusetts at (978)
784-1776 or visit www.comrex.com.