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The Quest for the Best – The Pick Hits of NAB2003

The Quest for the Best – The Pick Hits of NAB2003

Jun 1, 2003 12:00 PM, Reported by Kari Taylor, associate editor

Software monitor


Wizardfor Windows:

This software consists of two parts: a data acquisitionand control module, and a Java applet. The data acquisition and controlmodule establishes the connection to the units, provides management ofusers and allows continuous logging of data to the host computer. Themodule connects to the remote units using a direct RS-232, modem orwith an optional external interface box, a LAN/WAN or the Internet.Multiple users can be assigned a unique user name and password. Unitaccess is further restricted by specifying an observer, operator orsupervisor classification. Data may be logged at user-defined intervalsor 24 hours continuously. The Java applet display module provides avirtual front panel interface to all the available units, as well asvarious graph and histogram displays. Any remote computer that canaddress the host computer’s IP or URL with a Java-enabled Web browserwill be able to run the applet.

What the judges had to say:

“I’ll use the heck out of this.”

“I really liked the pull-down menus and on-screen display.”

fax 610-687-2686

[email protected]

Audio logger/skimmer


Eskimmer 4.2 ApplianceSystem:

Version 4.3 of the Eskimmer Appliance System allowshigh-quality recordings of on-air signals, performances orcommunications, and allows playback over its Webskimmer interface via aLAN, WAN or the Internet. Easy-to-use controls allow a user to listento audio from down the hall or across continents. Encoding on the flyallows audio that is still being recorded to be immediately accessiblefor playback and verification. E-mailing a recorded audio cut to aconsultant or colleague takes seconds rather than days via conventionalshipping methods.

What the judges had to say:

“The ability to load a show clock makes it a smarter logger.”

“The combination of mixed recording formats, multiple audio feeds andautomatic file purging makes it very flexible.”

fax 541-967-8721

[email protected]

Wireless network interface


MatrixWireless Module:

Broadcasters can transmit remote audio over awireless network without a telephone line or a separate wireless phonewith this module. The module incorporates a GSM wireless phone, a 2Wpower booster and the firmware to transmit high-quality audio over GSMnetworks, all enclosed in compact housing. An external antenna comeswith the module. With its optional battery kit, the network canbroadcast in the field for as long as seven hours.

What the judges had to say:

“Provides a lot of potential for remote-intensive stations.”

“After years of being told that cell phone remotes will never soundgood, this is good news.”

fax 978-784-1717

[email protected]

Digital/analog AM transmitters



This is thefirst product in a family of 1kW to 6kW AM transmitters designed toprovide analog and IBOC performance. The transmitters provide linearityand wide bandwidth to deliver a clean analog sound. This design alsoprovides an accurate reproduction of the IBOC signal at all powerlevels by using Harris’ Digital Adaptive Modulation, which uses adigitally generated AM waveform with DSP-based adaptive correction.This technology enables sampling of the transmitter output, andcorrects for load-induced distortion. The transmitter was designed witha modular architecture and uses hot-swappable modules.

What the judges had to say:

“The ability to automatically adjust to the antenna system is a realplus.”

“A welcome introduction for AM IBOC.”

fax 513-459-3890

[email protected]

Audio control surface

Sierra Automated Systems


A stand-alonecontrol surface, the Rubicon integrates directly into the SAS 32KDdigital audio network to control mixing, switching, level control andeffects. Customizable, completely modular and fully programmable, thiscontrol surface is for a medium- or large-market facility.

What the judges had to say:

“A great example of the next generation in radio audio equipment.”

“This allows for interconnected, expandable, superflexible andeasy-to-operate systems designed for consolidated operations.”

fax 818-840-6751

[email protected]

Remote control and monitoring



From the new generation of Audemat-Aztec remote controldevices, IP2 Choice enables full control of all conditions on thetransmitter site. It acts as a gateway between the Ethernet ortelephone network and the remote equipment. This flexible, modular unitcan be made up of a mix of digital input boards, relay boards, analogmetering channel boards and RS232/485 communication boards. Occupying2RU, it can be integrated with as many as 16 boards. One unit can beequipped with as many as 128 digital inputs or 64 digital inputs, 32relays, 32 analog metering channels and four RS-232 communicationports. The IP2 technology is accessible in the device through itsembedded website offering IP2 services for remote IP connection.

What the judges had to say:

“The combination of programmability, script creation and IPconnectivity make this an ideal system.”

“Great flexibility and a large channel capacity.”

fax 305-682-2233

[email protected]

Audio network

Telos Systems


Livewireconveys audio and peripheral data streams over standard Ethernethardware, reducing the infrastructure costs incurred with traditionalaudio routing methods. The audio network uses Ethernet as a universalstudio interconnect. A single CAT-5 or fiber conveys multiple audiochannels, control, program-associated data, VoIP telephone and computerdata. This product uses switching Ethernet hubs to provide reliableaudio quality. Audio is prioritized and takes precedence over all otherdata types. This approach results in low latency, enabling real-timemonitoring of live audio sources: per-link delay is less than 1ms forhigh-priority audio signals. A Livewire 100Base-T link can carry 50bi-directional stereo channels of 48kHz, 24-bit linear PCM audio.

What the judges had to say:

“This takes the router-based system to a new level.” “When other audiodevices add IP connections, the true flexibility will be obvious.”

fax 216-241-4103

[email protected]

Digital matchbox

Henry Engineering


This digital Matchbox converts between S/PDIF and AES/EBUdigital audio signals. It also functions as a digital audiodistribution amplifier with inputs for AES/EBU and S/PDIF signals. Itssix outputs can drive AES/EBU and S/PDIF equipment. The unit is ?rack width and includes a built-in ac power supply, so no wall wartsare needed.

What the judges had to say:

“The AES-3, S/PDIF and distribution amp capability is very flexible.”

“This provides another opportunity to adapt consumer equipment for prouse.”

fax 626-355-0077

[email protected]

Digital on-air control surface


Generation-4 andGeneration-9:

The G-4 surface controls Wheatstone’s G-4 mixingengine, which plugs directly into existing Bridge Router cage systemsto give the user control of thousands of sources and destinations. Itallows the creation of a platform-based system whereby 50 surfaces canbe configured to share sources, destinations and control signalinformation. Bridge Router cages, which house the I/O ports and enginecards, can be wired in tandem within a single equipment room, or beinterconnected with fiber optic or CAT-5 wires. The G-9 radio controlsurface is an extension of the established Bridge digital audio networkrouting system. Bridge engine components allow as many as 256 mix busesin one rack mount system. Multiple components can be linked to form anetworked system, making it a useful solution for large stationintegration projects.

What the judges had to say:

“This addresses the engine and console need for the production studio.”

“It provides an easy upgrade path to connect existing consoles into theBridge Router system.”

fax 252-637-1285

[email protected]

PDA audio recorder



Pocketrecrepresents a new generation in portable digital audio recording andediting that integrates all the steps in the workflow of electronicnewsgathering into one continuous process. This product uses standardPocket PC PDAs. The software turns the PDA into a portable digitalaudio workstation, providing the journalist with a set of professionaltools on the Pocket PC that replace their need for other equipment.Because of its size and weight, a complete recording and editing kit isgreatly reduced. The platform is a single unit, meaning that noadditional high-end audio card or separate recorder is required for thefield reporter to perform a quality job. Other applications running ona standard Pocket PC that many reporters already carry for notes,e-mails, contacts and Internet access are still available. Standardaccessories are available for and integration of other media that canbe used and attached to filings.

What the judges had to say:

“Recording, editing and wireless upload make it a complete package.”

“Reporters can lighten their load with a singlePDA/cellphone/recorder.”

fax 703-281-1074

[email protected]





Powered byNeural Audio, Neustar works in the front (studio) and back end(transmission site) of the air chain, and by offers compatibility witha large range of digital formats including AM/FM IBOC, DVD, DAB, DRMand the Internet. Neustar works with the bandwidth limitations ofdigital delivery systems to provide audio processing free of theartifacts associated with conventional audio compression and limitingprocessors.

What the judges had to say:

“The codec preconditioning reduces coding artifacts very well.”

“This could be start of an entirely new generation of digital audioprocessing products.”

fax 513-459-3890

[email protected]

Pick Hits Rules

  1. Products must be new and not shown at a previous NAB SpringConvention. In some cases, distinguishing a new product from a modifiedolder one is difficult. For �Pick Hits��� purposes, a newproduct is one with a new model number or designation.
  2. Products must have some positive impact on the intended user’severyday work. Judges search for equipment intended for use on aregular basis. Products should provide new solutions to commonproblems.
  3. Products must offer substantial improvement over previoustechnology. Unique circuit architecture need not be included, but somenew approach or application must be involved in the product’sdesign.
  4. The price of the product must be within reach of its intended users.The judges seek products appropriate to a wide range of facilities.
  5. The products must be available for purchase within the 2003 calendaryear. Equipment must be on display on the show floor, currently (orimminently) in production, and some type of product literature must beavailable. Judges take the exhibitor’s word on availability dates.Products demonstrated in private showings do not qualify.
  6. The Pick Hits judges operate independently from one another andremain anonymous to everyone including other judges until the selectionmeeting. This ensures that the products chosen are truly representativeof the industry, that the judges were not persuaded in any way, andthat the entire selection process is as fair as possible. The judge’sidentities are published in the June 2003 issue.
  7. The editorial staff of Radio magazine serves only as amoderator during the final selection process and has no influence ordecision in determining the winners.

Pick Hits Judges

The judges cover the convention floor looking for new products toconsider for the Pick Hits meeting held on the third day of theconvention. They operate independently and anonymously to ensure thattheir selections are not biased.

The judges for NAB2003 are:

Bill Croghan, CPBE – Chief Engineer
Lotus Broadcasting – Las Vegas

Steve Fluker – Director of Engineering
Cox Radio Orlando – Orlando, FL

Gary Kline – Corporate Director of Engineering
Cumulus Media – Atlanta, GA

Kent Kramer, CBRE – Vice President of Engineering
Big City Radio – Los Angeles

Dan Mettler – Regional Engineering Services Manager
Clear Channel – Indianapolis, IN

Milford Smith – Vice President of Radio Engineering
Greater Media – East Brunswick, NJ

Mike Starling – Vice President of Engineering
NPR – Washington, DC

Barry Thomas, CPBE CBNT – President
Thomas Media – Hollywood, CA

Trying to visit every boothto view new product introductions at NAB2003 can make anyone feel asthough he is running through a maze. Imagine having to run the maze andfind 10 award-winning products. In the end, the Pick Hits judges found11 products (10 winners and one honorable mention) that they felt offersignificant technological improvements and serve everyday applications.Did you see these products in the maze? For complete rules governingthe Pick Hits selection process, see below. A list of judges can alsobe found at the end.