M4-IP Brings a Smile to Crawford in Detroit

Four great sound sources to be had from this IP-routable Wheatstone mic processor
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DETROIT — The Wheatstone M4-IP four-channel mic processor Blade has become a problem-solver for us at Crawford Broadcasting in Detroit.

We produce a syndicated talk show for four hours daily; I wanted microphone processing that could provide a warm sound, one that would mute or gate the other microphones that were not in use (I’ll discuss another cool gating feature a bit later on).

In this four-channel mic processor I found a unit that would integrate with our Wheatstone Bridge system, and connect to new WheatNet IP Blades as we upgrade our plant. Having four microphone processors in a single rack space was helpful; I didn’t have to make room for it.

Most important, though, is that the M4-IP helped me take the hollow sound out of the room. It has a wide range of tools to tweak the processor, and includes presets as a good starting point.

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One standout feature is that it allows you to set up the EQ before or after the dynamics section, which features a compressor, expander, de-esser, phase rotator, phase invert and phantom power. The four-band parametric equalizer shares the same type of controls found on other Wheatstone processors. The frequency response plot shows the settings as you work on them through the computer interface. There is a high- and low-pass filter that can help eliminate rumble or limit excessive highs if needed. Its de-esser can be fine-tuned to help with sibilance issues.

Oh, and about that gating feature, the M4-IP gate’s sidechain is filtered to voice frequencies, which reduces false triggering when you accidently bump the table the mic’s sitting on, for example.

There’s a full set of metering tools available, on the front for each channel, and through the Wheatstone M4-IP GUI. The M4-IP has analog, AES or WheatNet IP inputs and outputs, providing flexibility in how it’s installed.

I would recommend the M4-IP for anyone looking to upgrade their analog microphone processing. No more dirty, noisy pots, no more bad switches, everything is selected via an easy-to-use menu from the front panel.

It’s professionally engineered. The M4-IP has 32 dB of input headroom, which is comparable to the best recording studios. Like other Wheatstone mic processors, the M4-IP has a fairly high input impedance and high available gain. All of this comes out in the sound.

I was able to develop a nice-sounding preset, with pleasing resonant bass, and smooth details in the high frequencies using the M4-IP GUI. As needed, my presets can be selected and changed by talent using the software interface on the control room computer. The M4-IP also can be set up remotely, allowing evaluation and setup without having to be in the air studio.

I found the M4-IP to be quiet, smooth and clean. Since the M4-IP is part of the WheatNet-IP Blade network, it can provide processing for any available input or output on the WheatNet-IP network.

In a few months, we will be able to take full advantage of the WheatNet-IP connectivity when we bring our new Blades online.

For information contact Jay Tyler at Wheatstone in North Carolina at (252) 638-7000 or visit www.wheatstone.com.

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