This article is part of our Buyer’s Guide coverage of consoles and mixers.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — KIOF(LP) started as an idea in January 2010. We saw the need for local community radio to discuss real issues that affected Las Vegas families during the 2008 financial crisis. As we began to discuss the idea for a local community radio station with family and friends, we outlined a plan to bring together an independent broadcast media service to Las Vegas, Nev.
Initial programming strategies were later discussed throughout the year to determine topics that would be of the public’s interest. With months of effort, our dream became viable, and we saw its potential. Later that year, Las Vegas Public Radio officially was founded.
We began our journey with Arrakis Systems in 2013, while we were in the process of designing our main studio in anticipation of obtaining an LPFM broadcast license. Our main studio had to have enough capability to meet our everyday broadcast needs, but also needed to be cost-effective. LPFMs operate on very limited budgets so our final design gave us the most for our money.
It was always an option to go with used equipment, but buying a new console for a new project made sense. We didn’t want to bother with the risks of used equipment, not knowing exactly what we were going to get. We decided that we didn’t want to buy a second-hand console for our main studio.
Several of us involved with KIOF are former broadcasters, so we already knew about Arrakis consoles, and we knew we could get all that we needed for a great value. So we started our search there. We wanted a big console for our main studio that would give us expansion capabilities. The MARC-15-15 was an obvious choice, since it met our specifications and we could have it customized to meet our needs.
The MARC series board is cost-effective especially for the amount of features you get with it. It has three output busses, 15 channels, and the modular design allowed for configuring it the way we wanted it. We needed mic channels of course, but we also liked that you could have two phone input modules for our hybrids. We also liked the USB modules. With these we could connect our Mac computers for production work, as well as connect to Arrakis’ automation, Digilink-Xtreme. We received their free version of Digilink-Xtreme (now called DHD-Live), but have since upgraded to their full version of the Digilink-Xtreme.
One of the things that made the decision to go with the MARC easier was the demo video. It was informative and gave us a great idea of what we were getting. I felt informed going into the purchase, and felt comfortable with making the large expenditure.
So after vetting the features and the specs, and doing extensive research, we decided to pull the trigger, and get ourselves the MARC-15-15. We sent Arrakis a list of the modules we wanted, and they configured it in-house. We also decided to purchase pre-made cables, which we later came to appreciate.
The board came about a week later. The installation was quick and easy. Everything was plug-and-play with the pre-made cables from Arrakis. This drastically simplified the installation to our equipment. The MARC has RJ-45 connectors, which are easy to use, and I am sure we could have easily made the cables ourselves. But for the price, why not save the time and effort.
As we have used this board over time, our love for it has only grown. One of the other features we love is the VU meters. They are easy to read and the LEDs make it easy for non-broadcast staff to follow what is happening during “Live” shows.
As mentioned, we also use Digilink-Xtreme automation, which we appreciate. Besides being a great automation, one of the nice parts to having their console and automation, is that it is all supported under one roof. I don’t have to call 10 different places to get help with both.
One last thing that got us extra-excited about choosing to go with the MARC is the addition of Arrakis’ new Simple IP. While visiting their booth at the NAB Show this year, we saw the introduction of Simple IP, an AoIP solution. This is exciting for us, because it is an affordable solution to initiating AoIP, and, of course, it is compatible with our MARC board (or, frankly, most any IP-based audio equipment). So when we add studios, we’ll be able to interconnect them painlessly through our LAN.
Overall, we are very happy with the MARC, and feel the decision to go big or go home was the right one.
For information, contact Ben Palmer at Arrakis Systems in Colorado at (970) 461-0730 or visit www.arrakis-systems.com.