Broadcast engineers can generally anticipate using a fair amount of creativity. That creativity manifests itself in simple and complex control, monitoring and delivery systems. Engineers spend sleepless nights saying, “This is going to be a great addition to our operation, but how am I going to …?”
Such was the case during a studio renovation wherein I deployed Yellowtec YT3105 microphone arms. The on-air staff was impressed with the LED tally light that was situated right above the microphone. How, though, do I get that sorcery to work? The preinstalled YT3105 cable has five wires; three for the microphone and two for the LED. I had to build a 5-pin pigtail that would break out the mic and LED connections. This was all hidden above the ceiling where the YT3105 cabling met with a confusion of power supplies and terminal strips to facilitate switching the LEDs.
In addition to YT3105 LED conundrum, the talent positions in these studios needed headphones. I wanted to put normal turrets in front of each position, but there wasn’t enough surface space on the studio furniture. So, this meant the talent got under-the-desk headphone volume boxes and no cough switches.
Fast-forward a few months to another project that involved transporting audio from a satellite downlink site to the studio. There were primary and backup audio paths (T1 and IP). Through an assortment of silence sensors and audio switches, I can switch to the backup if necessary, but it sure would be nice to have it all in one box.
So, what is there to do about all these issues? Nashville-based Angry Audio is owned and operated by veteran console designer Michael “Catfish” Dosch, who has been associated over past years with well-known brands like PR&E, Axia and Lawo.
Angry Audio understands broadcast engineering and the simple yet annoying problems that it involves. Plus its solutions look really slick. I found the Mic Tally Gizmo, the Guest Gizmo and the Failsafe Switching Gadget. Two words: Problems solved.
MIC TALLY GIZMO
Luckily, I inverted the Yellowtec YT3105 riser poles and supported them from a rigid aesthetic contraption on the ceiling. It allowed me to hide the homemade Y-adaptors and power supplies for the YT3105 LED and microphone harness. However, the Angry Audio Mic Tally Gizmo takes care of all of that by hiding ugly wiring. The rugged steel construction and surface-mount design allow the 5-pin XLR to plug in on the desk right next to the Yellowtec pole mic pole assembly.
Simply drill out a 2 1/8-inch hole in the desk and the Mic Tally Gizmo drops in. The back side has a male XLR jack that serves as a pass-through for the mic, a 15 V DC plug (wall-wart is included) to power the YT3105 LED and 1/8-inch jacks for LED logic. There are two logic ports. One activates the red LED and one activates the white. All the Yellowtec YT3105 functions are handled cleanly by the Mic Tally Gizmo. Everything comes to one place, and no homemade adaptations are required. The powder-coat finish looks great on any surface.
Studio design is evolving in such a way that the room is becoming less heavy. There are fewer equipment racks atop and under studio desks. Now we merely see computer peripherals, speakers and microphones. This lends itself to smaller desk design with less surface space. I experienced this firsthand in the studio design where I had no room for talent surfaces or turrets. The Guest Gizmo is a perfect solution for this.
Just like the Mic Tally Gizmo, the Guest Gizmo boasts a rugged powder-coated steel design. It fits into a 2 3/4-inch hole. The surface-mounted top panel has an illuminated cough button, 1/4-inch headphone jack and volume knob. The built-in headphone amplifier packs plenty of headroom. On the rear of the Guest Gizmo, inputs are left and right line level via balanced 1/4-inch jacks. A 16 VAC (wallwart included) powers the built-in headphone amp. An additional 1/4-inch TRS jack can be connected to the Insert jack found on the Mic inputs of live-sound mixers, providing broadcast-style remote mic muting even when the board lacks muting logic. The surface-mounted front panel is 3 inches by 3 inches and takes up very little desk space.
FAILSAFE SWITCHING GADGET
We move on from the gizmos to the gadgets. The 1RU Failsafe Switching Gadget is housed in a near-bulletproof half-rack wide steel enclosure. It comes with a 120 V power cord, so there’s no additional wallwart to put in the rack. The Failsafe Switching Gadget monitors audio on the “A” input. When audio fails on the A input, the system switches to the B input. The silence threshold level, manual switching, automatic switch delay and switch recovery behavior are controlled on the front panel. The recovery function allows for deciding how much human intervention is needed in the event of an audio failure.
Basically, the unit will either switch to the B input and stay there indefinitely, or will switch back to the A input when main audio is restored. The two XLR stereo inputs and stereo outputs are on the back of the unit as well as a 9-pin D-sub connector for remote A/B input switching, reset and status monitoring. The Failsafe Switching Gadget makes the switch between A and B inputs fully transparent with no clicks, pops or breaks in the audio. The active audio channel is indicated by bright red illuminated buttons on the front panel. When the unit loses power, it switches to the B input.
Angry Audio offers a handful of other ultra-useful appliances and cable adapters that simply make life easier. The construction and quality of the components make for clean and robust audio. Plus, the powder-coated finish and steel construction make the Angry Audio products aesthetically rugged and stylish. As Angry Audio grows its line of gizmos and gadgets, the “How am I going to do that?” factor for radio engineers will be more and more enjoyable.
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Angry Audio “Problem Solvers”
Mic Tally Gizmo
+ Consolidates wiring mess
+ Useful feature set
+ Strong amplifier
Failsafe Switching Gadget
+ Offers audio restoration options
For information, contact Angry Audio in Tennessee at 1-615-763-3033 or visit