NASHVILLE, Tenn. — I think everyone, at one time or another, has wanted and purchased the latest gizmo with flashing lights, bells, whistles and other “sensory engineering.” Sometimes I wonder whether it is the light show or the performance claims that pull us in — a promise of increased ease of operation, or just the desire to own the latest technology.
The answer to this question lies in those situations that prompt us to create workarounds to avoid the routine but often overly complicated steps required for everyday implementation of our latest piece of new tech.
In these cases, we may find ourselves reverting to older technology, something simple that lets us get the job done easily and in a minimum amount of time.
Luckily there’s usually a place where sophisticated technology and ease of use intersect. In the world of audio consoles and studio implementation, that place is Axia Audio.
Axia brings to the table audio mixing and studio routing powerful enough to handle any studio situation but simple enough for a student board operator to comprehend and use at an expert level; and they do so at budget prices.
I’ve got a good point of reference for stating this, as I worked with equipment from a number of Axia’s major competitors before I discovered the Axia system.
One of the systems I worked with, let’s call it System A, required me to jump through hoops each time I needed to add a source to a studio or reroute audio to a different destination. Once I had made the changes I wanted, System A required what was referred to as a soft reset. Each soft reset killed the audio to all six radio stations on the system.
When any changes were needed, I was forced to do the soft resets after-hours to prevent knocking off the entire radio group during the broadcast day. This also meant that I couldn’t change routes or configurations during broadcasts, something any router should be able to do easily.
When I called support to ask whether there was a way around this, they told me, “It should not do that, but you might have an older system.” (The system was only two years old.) And System A provided no tech support after 5 p.m. or on weekends.
I also worked with System B. If you like lots of cool blinking lights and complicated menus in small fonts, you might do okay with System B.
The Axia system used by the “Dave Ramsey Show” stands in sharp contrast. One of its major advantages, in fact, is its simplicity.
Our system went on the air in 2006. With it, I’m able to change audio paths and configurations on the fly. I can also easily take advantage of advanced features essential to making our show happen.
For instance, I can take multiple audio streams and combine them using VMix (a virtual mixer built into our Element console), then assign each one to a board fader or feed an IFB. It’s a straightforward process accomplished in software with a few mouse clicks, using my computer browser.
With Axia, it is also a simple task to instruct someone, over the phone, how to change a source, add EQ, pan left to right. The learning curve for the engineer is minimal — and when compared to Systems A and B, it is almost nonexistent. If you are an engineer with average IT skills, you will be able to implement and operate an Axia system with ease.
Also in contrast to other systems I’ve worked with, Axia has technical support available not just after hours, but on weekends, holidays and overnight, every day of the year.
Without Axia’s flexibility and easy operation, I believe I would have not been able to accomplish what was needed for a rigorous live show.
As an engineer, I do not have the time to toil over the configuration and operation of hardware. In today’s broadcast world, where time and money both run in short supply, Axia steps up and performs beyond top-of-the-line levels with accuracy, ease and simplicity. To date Axia has been my choice and I have recommended it to a number of broadcast facilities that I deal with on a daily basis.
The author is director of engineering for “The Dave Ramsey Show.”
For information, contact Axia Audio in Ohio at (216) 241-7225 or visitwww.axiaaudio.com.