I’m the co-founder and a host of Vibez.Live in South Africa, an internet radio station that my fiancé Valerie Jacobs and I launched on April 1, 2019. We had many years of experience of commercial radio broadcasting in South Africa; but as internet penetration continues to grow across Africa we saw a new opportunity.
As a retro station, we broadcast music from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. But we don’t do that exclusively, and we have experimented a lot since we started. For example, recent months have seen us do something unique in South Africa by hosting a weekly “Trance Vibez” show in conjunction with Denon DJ SA and Midi Music.
Having used a variety of older equipment over the first 18 months of our existence, including an analog desk, we knew that we needed to upgrade to keep expanding and to benefit from enhanced capabilities.
We turned to Wild & Marr, Calrec’s partner in South Africa. We spoke with them in detail about Calrec’s AoIP-based Type R for Radio system. We were impressed and ordered and installed — with Wild & Marr’s expert guidance — a six-fader Type R with dual layer functionality, which gives us an extra six faders at the touch of a button.
We also added a Type R large soft panel with the feature sets preloaded for more control.
While the Type R core has enough I/O for our current needs, we also purchased a Type R analog I/O box that provides an additional 16 mic/line inputs and six GPIO interfaces. Being able to add more surfaces on the same core was cost-effective for us.
In terms of other equipment, we use two pairs of Shure SRH840 headphones, two Shure SM7B microphones and On-Stage’s versatile microphone boom arms.
Moving into the digital realm has been great. Microphone levels and music levels are now easily managed and compressed, which previously was virtually impossible. And then there’s the sound quality, with our listeners experiencing a far more crisp, clear and fuller sound. On our first broadcast with this technology, we were impressed with the positive comments from listeners about the improvement.
Although it may appear daunting at first, the Calrec Type R is probably one of the most user-friendly digital broadcast desks I’ve worked on. It has a simple layout, supersmooth faders and crystal-clear touchscreen display. The sleek, compact, no-fuss design fits perfectly into our studio environment, taking up less space while still doing the job that other much bigger desks do. For broadcasters where studio or desk space is limited, the Calrec Type R with its Ethernet connection does away with the old spaghetti junction of cables found in conventional studios. That’s also a major benefit regardless of size.
We are very happy with this solution; it takes us to the leading edge of radio broadcasting.
Radio World User Reports are testimonial articles intended to help readers understand why a colleague chose a particular product to solve a technical situation.
Info: In U.S., Chris Fichera at Calrec/Group One at 1-310-927-7788; international, Anthony Harrison at Calrec at +44-7832-487565; or visit www.calrec.com.