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KTWN Deploys Wheatstone Baseband Interface

"All-digital" system also piggybacks RDS and SCA signals

An FM station in Minneapolis has deployed Wheatstone’s baseband192 interface, creating a digital link between processing and transmission. The manufacturer says the station is the first to create such an “all-digital” air chain.

KTWN(FM), owned by Northern Lights Broadcasting, went on the air with an AirAura X3 audio processor last week. The engineering manager is Rob Goldberg, who worked with colleague Mike Oberg on the installation, according to Wheatstone. The interface is available in certain Wheatstone audio processing models; it offers AES-EBU output to feed FM transmitters equipped with digital baseband input.

The idea behind such systems is to eliminate the need for an analog composite interface between processing and transmission; the concept was in the headlines at the spring NAB Show, though Wheatstone said in its statement that baseband192 was built into the original AirAura four years ago and held back until FM transmitter manufacturers could offer a digital multiplex interface. It announced the feature earlier this month.

“Unlike other approaches, baseband192 digitizes the entire multiplex spectrum including the RDS and SCAs up to 67 kHz for direct AES-EBU into the FM exciter,” the company continued.

“Unique to baseband192 is the ability to piggyback the RDS and SCA signals in digital form, eliminating the need to re-route these signals directly to the FM exciter instead of passing RDS and SCA signals through the processor (as is the practice without the digital multiplex interface).”

Wheatstone has posted photos and a more detailed discussion of the benefits and the AES3 format.