Radio World’s “Summer of Products” feature is all about new gear that has come onto the market in recent months, especially during spring convention season. Over several issues we’ve been featuring equipment that caught our eye.
BROADCAST BIONICS INTRODUCES SKYPE TX FOR RADIO
Building on the phone, SMS and social media capabilities of its PhoneBOX4 studio communications suite, Broadcast Bionics says Skype TX for Radio is an add-on developed in partnership with Microsoft.
It connects Skype users such as reporters, commentators or listeners via their mobile phone, web browser or desktop, into the studio desk for broadcast in real time. Key benefits include quality audio, multiple Skype calls to a single skype ID and an integrated workflow, designed to meet the needs and workflows of radio broadcasters who want to use Skype live on air.
A Windows server PhoneBOX4 can deliver up to 12 separate lines of Skype connectivity, such that each can be individually added to program output. Supplied in six- and 12-line versions, the system is in beta and is to be available in September.
Broadcast Bionics highlights its OASIS social media management system, which it says provides information to station staff on the mood and mind of their audience and directs them to the best social media content. The Virtual Director visual radio system automatically switches cameras to visualize and live stream to Facebook live, YouTube live or Periscope. The system promises to allow users to trim and share video clips to social media.
Finally, Broadcast Bionics in partnership with Speechmatics now delivers voice transcription and text search of one’s audio, while the company’s MOR> multi-object recording software, allows station staff to open the link into a multitrack editor and repurpose content rapidly for other platforms.
MOSELEY INTROS TOPANGA
Moseley Associates Topanga is a dedicated digital composite STL box. According to the company, Topanga has a system gain advantage of greater than 20 dB over analog composite systems, which should guarantee improved signal to noise rations and stereo separation.
Besides the MPX feed, Topanga has an Ethernet interface for HD Radio data along with RS-232 channels for RDS. It can be operated through the front panel or remotely over the internet.
LOGITEK HAILS THE HELIX
New from Logitek is the Helix console, aimed at radio and TV duties, operating from touchscreen and physical motorized control surface. It also has a tablet/smartphone app.
The system operates with Logitek’s JetStream AoIP network. JetStream routers can provide 128–240 I/O channels.
The Helix Radio, shown, offers up to 24 mix-minus busses; the number of busses and faders can be lower if requirements are less. There are motorized faders and 7-inch touchscreens for each six-fader bucket. The touchscreens access dynamics, assignments, metering and more. The buckets can be split.
A monitor module provides a speaker, monitor and cue volume faders along with cue and studio/guest volume control knobs, in addition to a touchscreen providing meters and assignment buttons.
Thanks to software-driven architecture, Helix offers numerous customization options.
For those willing to go all the way, Helix Surface is a 28-inch Microsoft Surface Studio that eliminates the physical fader complement.
Logitek President Tag Borland said, “Glass cockpits are becoming ubiquitous throughout all industries, and users everywhere are now accustomed to touch interfaces on many devices.”
He added, “You can take Helix with you as you walk around the station, do a remote, or connect to the studio from across the country.”
VOXPRO 7 DEBUTS
Wheatstone said the latest version of VoxPro’s purpose-built editor/recorder for live radio now has signal processing to let talent clean up phone calls for on-air presentation quickly.
This dynamics and EQ toolset includes parametric EQ, de-esser, compressor, expander, limiter and noise gate for processing call-in and talent tracks independently or jointly. It comes with a standard library of presets.
Also included with VoxPro7 are new FX Macros for creating one-button presets to call up frequently used effects. FX Macros can trigger one or a chain of actions — for example, start by removing silences in a call-in using VoxPro’s GapBuster (which now automatically detects noise floor), then running the result through Dynamics and EQ, and finally normalizing both host and caller channels for final broadcast, all with the push of a button.
VoxPro7 also streamlines the system’s effects menu, making effects like chorus, reverb and distortion more easily accessible and rendering recent settings “sticky” for faster recall. Improved file navigation with a QuickSearch box and the ability to color-code files and hotkeys make resources easier to locate in long lists of items. Other new features include support for 24-bit files and a new animated display.
TIELINE UPDATES VIA FIRMWARE
Codec maker Tieline has firmware updates for its newest field codec, ViA.
The free upgrade adds touchscreen routing of audio sources to XLR and digital outputs, as well as analog and digital output level controls.
ViA is a portable five-input mixer/IP codec with additional features such as a Wi-Fi interface, onboard processing, Tieline’s SmartStream connection redundancy scheme and a touchscreen. It also offers optional ISDN and POTS modules.
ORBAN OFFERS NEW OPTIMOD
The latest from Orban is a new member of its Optimod processor family, the 8700i.
It is designed for analog or digital missions. Its I/O complement includes Dante AES67 plus a 192 kHz AES3 MPX output along with two digital SCA inputs.
Orban says that a new program-adaptive subharmonic synthesizer ensures punchy bass, even with older program material. In addition a phase skew corrector/multipath mitigator ensures crisp reception when receivers blend to mono and minimizes energy in the stereo subchannel without compromising separation. The phase skew corrector uses a proprietary multidimensional processing algorithm that can simultaneously correct multiple phase problems, like a combination of analog tape gap skew and comb filtering caused by multiple-microphone pickup of a single instrument in the original recording session.
The 8700i also has split architecture, branching after the stereo enhancer and AGC, providing for separate FM and digital processing. There are two equalizers, multiband compressors and peak limiters, allowing the analog FM and digital media processing to be optimized separately.
It contains a set of Optimod 8500 presets, Orban’s Xponential Loudness algorithm along with Bob Orban-designed MX presets that take advantage of the onboard MX peak limiter.
Other features include an RDS/RBDS encoder, dual power supplies, remote control, SNMP alarms and a loop-through connection for insertion of a ratings encoder (such as Nielsen Audio) to be inserted between the output of the audio processing and the input to the stereo encoder.
FUTURI MEDIA LAUNCHES TOPICPULSE CONTENT STREAM
Cleveland-based audience engagement technology provider Futuri Media has introduced the TopicPulse content stream, currently available for the TopicPulse desktop app. The feature will be live in the mobile app soon. According to CEO Daniel Anstandig, the new feature adds “science to the art of show prep and story selection” through data.
Content stream scans local social media posts and news sources to deliver demographic-specific insights to broadcasters.
TopicPulse users can now see a live stream of content ideas specific to their format and target audience, based on TopicPulse’s data and also curated by Futuri’s writers and producers. Additionally, format-specific content is emailed to users twice per day, intended to help with prep for morning and afternoon drive show prep.
According to the company, content stream material is intended to translate well on air and on social media.
SUN’S OUT FOR WORLDCAST
WorldCast Systems recently rolled out a self-contained, turnkey solar-powered FM retransmitter.
Solar FM offers hybrid AC power up but can broadcast up to 10 hours on solar alone.
Designed for areas with limited electrical infrastructure or for temporary installations, the Solar FM retransmitter can receive audio from a number of sources such as its built-in satellite and FM receivers or analog and AES inputs.
The company says the system is versatile, easy to mount and resilient when operating in difficult environments. Solar FM is supplied as a turnkey system with solar panel, FM antennas, satellite dish or antenna and the FM transmitter. A NiMH battery and built-in smart battery management system help optimize the amount of time a broadcaster can stay on air.
Solar FM has a remote and mobile device app for configuring the transmitter, satellite receiver and FM receiver; scheduling operating times; and providing an overview of real-time status while enabling monitoring of parameters such as preamplifier power, the current/voltage for each power source, etc.
AXEL PUTS A TIGER IN THE RACK
Axel Technology’s Tiger 5 processor is based on a new generation of processing boards and can manage any type of feed to radio transmitters, the firm says.
The Tiger 5 can handle up to four inputs, such as MPX, L+R and IP streaming. Each input can be used as a backup source, with the Tiger 5 automatically routing the signal from the most appropriate source to the transmitter output.
Should the selected signal become unavailable, the Tiger 5 switches to another input. In addition, the Tiger 5 features comprehensive monitoring capabilities, routing complete information on the status of any input and on possible alarms. It includes also an RDS encoder, an SD card reader for backup purposes and an audio streamer to loop back any of the available signals.
V-SOFT OFFERS UPDATED CENSUS DATA
Broadcast RF engineering and propagation software developer V-Soft has announced the availability of 2016 U.S. census estimate data for use with its AM-Pro 2 coverage and interference and Probe 4 propagation modeling programs. This new data set will keep users updated with the latest and most accurate numbers for calculating market coverage and station reach.
V-Soft said, “Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program uses current data on births, deaths, and migration to calculate population changes since the most recent decennial census and with this data it produces a time series of estimates of population, demographic components of change, and housing units. These official U.S. Census estimates go down to the county level and have multipurpose uses.”
It explains, “The data we distribute is produced on a block level, using block centroids and density distribution from the 2010 decennial census as a baseline and adjusting that data using the census estimate figures. This data contains all the same major data categories as the 2010 census — i.e. population, county/racial breakdown, housing units, etc.”