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AoIP Goes to Work at Sherbrooke Station

University station CFAK(FM) wanted quality on a budget

College station CFAK(FM) on the campus of the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, recently moved into two new studios equipped with a self-contained AoIP network, a good example of putting AoIP to work in a smaller context in the post-COVID world.

“Following a move to new premises, we had to review the technical architecture,” said Special Projects Manager Jesse Fafard Théorêt. “So we had to prepare a broadcasting studio as well as a production studio.” 

The air studio.

Technical services were provided by Jean-Philippe Vallée of Marketing Marc Vallée, and Jocelyn Blanchette and Nicolas O’Malley of Audiobec Sound & Video. 

Branding work was done by Director of Marketing Marie-Hélène Ste-Croix in collaboration with Bryan O’Malley of communication agency Bravad and Steve Labbé of Productions Underground, who worked on the station’s sound imagery.

The studios are built around Wheatstone Audioarts DMX-16 and DMX-8 console surfaces with mix engine, equipped with IP audio I/O and self-contained with no external Ethernet switch needed. The station uses Jazler SOHO automation and ElectroVoice RE20 and RØDE Procaster microphones. 

A view of production from a WhisperRoom voice booth.

Other notable components include JBL 308P MkII powered studio monitors, O.C. White ProBoom Ultima Gen2 and Podcast Pro mic booms, and Dell touchscreen PC monitors. Acoustics were designed by architects of the University of Sherbrooke. Custom cabinetry was sourced locally.

A student fee helped pay for the job. General Manager Éric Laverdure was quoted by Wheatstone saying, “The money for this project was provided by the students. They believe in the station so we wanted to create one that was on par with any you’d find in Montreal.” 

Another view of the production room.

The project certainly was an upgrade for CFAK, which had been working out of one studio in a dorm that lacked air conditioning.

“For radios with a small budget, there is a false belief that the professional equipment offered by the big suppliers in North America is inaccessible or too expensive,” said Fafard Théorêt.

“With a limited budget and good organization, we have come to the conclusion that suppliers such as Wheatstone have affordable and quality product lines that are very accessible to us. Students and volunteers are highly motivated to work in the new facilities.”

Read about more recent studio projects in the free ebook “Spectacular Radio Studios.”