(click thumbnail)The ADMS 44.22 in the rack at KLZ.When the long-anticipated Broadcast Tools ADMS 44.22 matrix switcher was released, I pounced on the chance to take a look at it.
For many years, broadcasters have needed a switcher that could manipulate both AES and analog inputs, while providing both an AES and an analog output. But would the unit live up to my expectations?
When it arrived, I immediately installed it into the air chain on KLZ(AM). This station broadcasts a Christian music and talk format, and a matrix switcher that would be transparent to the audio is absolutely essential. Previously we used an analog-only matrix switcher that, while capable, could not pass AES audio. Over the past year I’ve made every attempt to get rid of any remnants of analog audio in my engineering room, and that one last switcher had been a thorn in the flesh.
So out it came, and in went the Broadcast Tools ADMS 44.22. I needed to be able to switch back and forth between three sources: on-air console output from the Wheatstone router (AES); output from a second Wheatstone bus (AES); and an emergency direct feed from the RCS NexGen automation (analog). The output was configured to send the AES program audio direct into our Eventide BD500 delay.
The installation was simple, with audio I/O connected using the standard “Euroblock”-style terminals. Power is supplied via an “in-line” transformer, a refreshing change from the standard “wall wart” type of power supply. Serial I/O uses the typical Broadcast Tools RJ-21 style of connector. Provided with the switcher is an adaptor that permits connecting the modular style cord to a standard 9-pin RS-232 port on a PC.
Product CapsuleBroadcast Tools ADMS 44.22 A/D Stereo Matrix Switcher
- Easy installation
- Power supplied via “in-line” transformer vs. “wall wart”
- Exceptionally clean audio
- Matrix switching between AES sources was flawless
- Internal A/D converter introduces 40 ms of delay, causing “hiccup” in audio
- Unable to expand both input and output via the interconnection of two units in parallel
Broadcast Tools | (360) 854-9559 | www.broadcasttools.comThe ADMS 44.22 provides sample rate conversion on all the AES inputs, and a high-quality 24 bit A/D-D/A converter for analog audio. For facilities that require AES sync, the ADMS 44.22 has a word clock input and output available.
Back and forth
It was now time to place the switcher into active service. As expected, it came online without a hitch. Audio was exceptionally clean and the matrix switching between AES sources was flawless.
However, switching between an AES source and an analog source was not quite as clean as I wanted it to be. The internal A/D converter introduces about 40 ms of delay, causing a noticeable “hiccup” in the audio. For the majority of people using this switcher, I don’t see this as being a problem. However if you use it like we do, switching from AES to analog for an emergency backup, the switcher will make a slight “flanging” sound during the transition.
Speaking of transitions, the ADMS 44.22 has a number of ways it can switch audio sources.
Just as with Broadcast Tools previous offerings, the ADMS 44.22 can switch sources instantaneously, just like the older 6X1 switchers. It can switch sources with an overlap — very nice if you want to seamlessly transition between local and satellite feeds. Plus it can keep multiple events active at all times, so if necessary you could have all four AES sources active at once.
There also is a programmable fade in/out available on every channel. Rather than just cutting off the audio cold, the ADMS 44.22 could slowly fade down the audio. Or, if you are using it to join a satellite channel that has bumper music, it could fade it in at a pre-programmed rate.
Radio stations with automation systems will enjoy the flexibility that the ADMS 44.22 provides. The RS-232 interface permits connection of the switcher to any PC with a serial port available. And many automation companies have modules available to control the switcher through a local log entry. In my case the NexGen system could not talk directly to the ADMS 44.22, but I was still able to control it using the “Send Serial” commands available in the NexGen system.
If eight inputs (four AES and four analog) are not enough, the ADMS 44.22 has a port on the back panel that facilitates the interconnection of two ADMS 44.22 units in parallel. This will give you 16 total inputs (eight AES and eight analog).
My only complaint about that configuration is that the switcher will not give you any additional outputs by putting them in parallel. It would be a nice to be able to expand both input and output via the interconnection.
If you are looking for a way to mix AES and analog sources together easily, the ADMS 44.22 is the device you want. I’ve placed my order for more of these units. With four radio stations in one building, a switcher like this is just what the engineer ordered.