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Audemat Inc – Christophe Poulain

Nortek-TV is our latest acquisition. This company has been designing monitoring and metering products for analog and digital TV for about 10 years. They are RF TV specialists.

(click thumbnail)Q: What’s new that you will show at the NAB Show and that radio broadcasters should look for there?

A. Our engineering team worked very hard and we have many new products and updates to show this year. Last year at NAB2007 we introduced our “Radio All in One” concept with the Digiplexer 214 which is an FM/HD audio processor with two or four bands of processing, a built-in RDS encoder and an embedded audio backup. At this year’s NAB Show, we are introducing the Digiplexer 246.

It has many features within a 3 rack unit box: two, four or six bands of processing for FM/HD, RDS encoder built in, embedded audio backup, audio backup via TCP/IP, transmitter remote control capabilities and a 20 W or 100 W FM exciter.

A true Radio All-in-One, isn’t it? This product will also be sold under our Ecreso brand and called “NextFM.”

We’ll also introduce our Relio Tx remote control with the new ScriptEasy V2 software, the result of 18 months of work based on Clear Channel specifications. Four hundred units had been delivered to Clear Channel by February. This product should meet the needs of many US broadcasters.

We are also releasing the Version 1.5 of our GOLDENEAGLE HD monitor. This new update brings new features mainly focused on AM analog monitoring plus the 1 kHz RBW for our embedded spectrum analyzer.

We are also showing a beta version of our DAB+/DMB metering equipment.

Q: You’ve expanded your lineup of measurement tools a great deal in recent years. What do your measurement tools give a radio engineer that he or she can’t already do?

A. If we talk about our mobile metering units with built-in GPS receiver, it is definitely the fastest way for an engineer to measure the coverage of his stations. Our product line of FM mobile metering equipment now includes three products and meets the needs of small size radios as well large broadcasters.

We are also targeting a new market with our Navigator Modulation Analyzer, a member of our new “Test and Measurement” product line. This product combines many features in one unit and offers an extremely high level of precision due to its fully digital hardware platform. Dedicated to FM signals, the Navigator MA includes a digital demodulator, a spectrum analyzer, an oscilloscope, a sine wave generator, distortion analyzer and much more. That is unique in the market; you would usually need three or four different pieces equipment to achieve all those measurements.

Broadcasters can use this powerful portable unit for commissioning, troubleshooting and maintenance of FM transmitters and broadcast equipment. Manufacturers of broadcast FM equipment are also potential customers since they can use this unit in their labs and production benches. No annual calibration is required because the hardware platform is fully digital.

Concerning our monitoring range, the GOLDENEAGLE HD has been very successful so far because it offers precise monitoring of both analog and digital signals but also notifies the technical staff via email or voice messages of any out of tolerance conditions. It is a “smart mod monitor” that brings innovative features such as automatic time-alignment monitoring, automatic mask compliance monitoring and remote audio streaming.

We have also clients using the GOLDENEAGLE HD with the transmitter remote control option. One unit instead of two!

Q: Summarize the recent acquisitions and changes to the Audemat Group’s business structure.

A. We have acquired several companies within the past five years: Aztec in 2003, Ecreso in 2006 and Nortek-TV last December. Ecreso is the only French manufacturer of FM transmitters and designs high quality solid state FM transmitters up to 10 kW. Its main customers were in France and Africa. Now part of the Audemat group, we are starting to actively promote the brand all over the world and have already won several tenders in Egypt, Ireland and Bulgaria. Once again, innovation drives the engineering team and the best example is our 5 kW and 10 kW FM transmitters with liquid cooling.

Nortek-TV is our latest acquisition. This company has been designing monitoring and metering products for analog and digital TV for about 10 years. They are RF TV specialists. It is a strategic decision that will enable us to develop our presence into the TV market and in the mean time increase our capacity to design RF hardware modules for both TV and Radio.

To make it simpler, we have decided to remove the Aztec from Audemat-Aztec and call the company Audemat; Ecreso and Nortek-TV being part of the Audemat group.

Q: What’s the most exciting or unusual project you’ve been involved with lately?

A. Audio processing is definitely exciting! Totally different approach and reactions compared to the monitoring or metering market. You can see you are touching something very sensitive and crucial but also very subjective. The Digiplexer 214 has been on the market for only a few weeks but the initial feedback is fantastic and exceeds our expectations. It looks like we definitely have a great product with a competitive and very clean, detailed sound.

Long established companies have been working in this area for many years but our “Radio All in One” concept and approach offers a cost effective solution to broadcasters while adding additional features such as RDS encoding or audio backup.

Q: Who owns the company? Where are you based, and how many employees do you have?

A. The factory is based in Bordeaux, in the southwest of France, close to the Atlantic Ocean. We have currently 95 employees in Bordeaux: 10 in Lille, northern France, with Nortek-TV; six in Miami with Audemat Inc. and we have just opened an office in Beijing.

The company is owned by the top management and the founder of the company, Bruno Rost (President), Daniel Werbrouck (founder), Nicolas Boulay (VP Engineering), Jean-Baptiste Roux (VP Sales and Marketing) and myself, in charge of the US subsidiary. We also have two financial partners as shareholders, Galia and Innovacom.

Q: Anything else we should know about your company’s business direction or new products?

A. Our strategy is clear: The FM market still has much potential all over the world and we truly believe there is still room for better quality. FM remains and will remain a solid and strong basis for the Audemat group with a wide range of innovative products. Digital radio, DTV and mobile TV can’t be ignored and our objective is to cover all existing standard with our monitoring, metering and test and measurements product lines. It is already done with HD Radio and DVB-T/H. This year will see the introduction of new Audemat products for ATSC, DAB+/DMB/T-DMB and DVB-SH. Lastly, we are now ISO 14001 certified and include sustainable development as one of the company’s top priorities.