MARTOS, SPAIN — Radio Martos is a local radio station based in the south of Spain. We have two control rooms and a shared studio.
Until recently, we used a hardwired dedicated microphone and headphone set for each control room. We have used AEQ Forum and Capitol IP mixing consoles for a long time and recently connected them via AoIP. To take advantage of this change, we were offered a new mic/headphone AoIP interface for studios that features four microphone inputs and four headphone outputs.
The AEQ NetBox 4MH connects to a Dante protocol-based IP network. Using the NetBox level of each microphone input and headphone output can now be remotely software adjusted from the consoles. For our particular situation we assigned the microphone channels to a group in the console, so it is possible to control all of their input levels using a single fader.
The advantage for us is that microphone outputs are sent to the network and they can be used at any location at the radio station using a mixing console, computer or any other Dante device.
Headphones can be fed from either control room. There are two headphone circuits — primary and secondary — defined in the Dante controller. Using the control application, we are able to assign a headphone to the primary or secondary circuit, so we can provide instructions to the presenter only or to any of the guests using the primary channel or leave them with only the secondary (e.g. program) feed.
Our NetBox sits on top of the table by the moment, just as it came from factory, but it can be affixed to the furniture in any position.
One particular feature that saved us some issues with the cabling is that it can be fed by Power over Ethernet directly from the switch, although not all PoE-ready switches are compatible, as it requires PoE+, which is able to provide more power than basic PoE.
It has some other features that we don’t use at the moment, such as switchable phantom power supply for microphones, line-level inputs which are switchable with the microphone ones, and line-level outputs, which are always provided in parallel with the headphones, as well as four general-purpose inputs plus four general purpose outputs that may be routed to remote devices throughout the network.
Perhaps the most eye-catching thing about this system is the StudioBox. Using the NetBox as a network interface and power source, the StudioBox can be used to operate the NetBox remotely — for example offering a mute button from the studio, for coughs, profanity or a talkback control.
The remaining five keys are used to establish talkback circuits to five remote locations, so we can talk to them through the microphone (they are also removed from air), while headphone listening remains open.
The StudioBox’s polycarbonate perimeter can be lit to provide signals from the console operator. The operator can illuminate the StudioBox in green to request the presenter’s attention, or in red to act as an on-air light.
The system is ingenious and flexible, so it was quickly adopted by us.
For information, contact Peter Howarth in Florida at (954) 581-7999 or visit www.aeqbroadcast.com.