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Tech Makes a Splash

We kick off our 2015 Summer of Products coverage


This article is one of several in our Summer of Products series.


Transmitter maker Nautel has added to its NX line of AM transmitters.

The NX5 and NX10 are 5 kW and10 kW models, respectively, available in analog, HD Radio and DRM versions.

In addition, they offer Nautel’s Advanced User Interface for local or remote operation, and as such they carry a number of onboard tools such as a spectrum analyzer, network analyzer and logging options, along with Nautel Phone Home service. Other features include 1.8 MHz direct digital modulation and USB playout for when a signal feed is lost.

Nautel says that the NX5 and NX10 are energy efficient, 86 percent AC to RF, and both models are MDCL-compatible for further energy savings.



Test and measurement equipment specialist DEVA Broadcast has a new FM radio and IP audio monitor.

The DB3010 can simultaneously monitor the FM and the online stream of the radio station to ensure proper performance. It comes with a built-in RDS decoder, and can measure and store RF levels, MPX deviation and left and right audio level values.

Rack-mountable, the DB3010 is equipped with two speakers to reproduce mid- and high-range audio frequencies, and one high-efficiency bass reflex speaker for high-quality sound reproduction. The DB3010 supports AAC, AAC+, MP3, RTP and PCM IP audio codecs and features a built-in DSP-based tuner.

It has a high-resolution OLED graphical display and three LED bargraph indicators that allow reading the main signal parameters at a glance.

The rear-panel hosts GPIOs for alarm forwarding and additional equipment triggering; email and SNMP capability provide online notifications in case of stream and Internet signal loss or change in the RF, left and right audio levels.

A similar unit, the DB3011, also monitors HD Radio.



Burk Technology says its ARC remote control products platform has been enhanced. 

The flagship ARC Plus Touch has retooled firmware yielding increased overall system performance and a powerful platform for ongoing development, the company says. New management capabilities such as selectable front-panel lockout with security code and network upload of speech files add to an extensive list of monitoring and control features, and an array of touchscreen, Web, smartphone and telephone control interfaces. Existing as well as new ARC Plus Touch users will benefit from these enhancements, with firmware downloadable from the Burk website.

Users of the pre-Touch ARC Plus system can also benefit from firmware enhancements with the new “V3 for Free” upgrade, including updated Web and smartphone interfaces, advanced automatic actions and greater flexibility in email and SNMP alarm reporting.

New PlusConnect I/O units provide direct transmitter interfaces for the ARC Plus family of remote controls. The Nautel GV is added to the list of supported Nautel radio transmitters, including the V, NV, XR, VS and NVLT series. A new PlusConnect interface for the GatesAir Sigma UHF transmitter complements the list of supported GatesAir Z, ZXA, ZXB, 3DX, HPX and Flexiva radio transmitters.



The NeuStar2 digital radio processor from DaySequerra is a two-stream AES stereo audio processor designed to improve the audio performance of low-bitrate HD Radio multicasts, DAB+ and DRM+ channels with particular focus on stereo at 24 kbps. The company says that the NeuStar2 features an industry-proven loudness measurement algorithm and new psychoacoustic processing with lookahead gain correction to make audio level adjustments that are transparent to listener.

DaySequerra also says the NeuStar’s proprietary codec preprocessing engine has been tuned for operation at 24 kbps, 32 kbps, 48 kbps, 64 kbps, and 96 kbps bitrates to reduce artifacts from lossy codecs and low-bitrate transmission.

The NeuStar2 includes 10 presets with a parametric equalizer and adjustable dynamic range contours, an auto sensing EAS/CAP input with auto-daypart that automatically changes operating profiles via the rear-panel GPIO.

The 1RU box has bright bargraph metering, rear-panel GPIO and an Ethernet interface for status monitoring and settings/preset management and field software updates. DaySequerra says the NeuStar2 delivers pristine, powerful sound and has the tools broadcasters need to get their station’s “signature sound” across their multicasts while saving time, money and space.



The ES-150U (shown) is a master clock switcher that monitors ESE and SMPTE/EBU timecodes. Master clock switchers are used with a primary master clock (“A”) and a secondary master clock (“B”); they provide a convenient way of switching to the secondary master clock if a problem develops with the primary master clock.

The ES-971 is a timecode display featuring bright 7-inch, four-digit LED displays, red, green and blue (shown) available. The unit is housed in a black-textured aluminum wall-mount enclosure. The ES-971 accepts, via a rear-mounted terminal block, either ESE Time Code or SMPTE/EBU timecode (time of day only) or RS-232C ASCII timecode. The ES-971 automatically determines which code is being received. If the time zone option is ordered, a rear-accessible DIP switch is installed for this function. A six-digit model, ES-976, is also available.



Tieline’s Bridge-IT family of codecs has a new firmware version available.

Vice President of Sales for the APAC and EMEA regions Charlie Gawley says that version 2.14.xx is a “substantial upgrade” to the Bridge-IT family of IP audio codecs. It is a free download for current owners.

He explained top new features: “The Opus algorithm has been added as standard to both Bridge-IT and Bridge-IT XTRA (shown), and the Web browser graphical user interface has been significantly enhanced to improve connectivity and usability.”

In addition, AAC-LD and AAC-ELD in the AAC license pack have been added for Bridge-IT and AAC-LD and AAC-ELD are now standard in Bridge-IT XTRA. Furthermore, there is now data support for IP connections with Tieline Commander and i-Mix G3 codecs, support for sessionless IP connections and three levels of user “lock.”



Broadcast equipment manufacturer Wheatstone rolled out the Network Edge, a WheatNet-IP interface for use with unlicensed 5–24 GHz wireless radios such as those used in STLs.

Likely located at a studio, the Network Edge interfaces directly to an IP wireless radio or commercial leased line for point-to-point connectivity between locations. According to Wheatstone, it can be used with any of the major IP radio brands on the market.

The Network Edge is AES67-compatible, and includes local I/O (two AES and two stereo analog) and 12 programmable logic ports.

Andy Calvanese, Wheatstone vice president in charge of technology, said, “We designed this unit as an affordable way for broadcasters to take advantage of inexpensive leased lines or wireless connectivity options that generally have more latency and not enough bandwidth to interface directly into most studio networks … The Edge gives them a more solid network connection overall.”


Comrex has a new iteration of its STAC VIP VoIP-based call management system.

Version 2.0 contains several new features including split studio, which allows users looking to utilize their call management system in multiple places to run two independent studios at once from the same mainframe. Configuration options are customizable to suit varying cases. With a modular setup, users will be able to modify their existing STAC VIP systems to make use of split studio (as long as they have a minimum of two separate control surfaces).

Comrex has also released a new version of its BRIC-Link utility codec, the BRIC-Link II (shown). It features hardware updates, including upgraded internal hardware, added XLR connectors (for analog and AES3 audio), Gigabit Ethernet and a front-panel headphone jack. BRIC-Link II includes a new Opus algorithm for WebRTC and smartphone app-compatibility, and a Web-based user interface for remote device management and software updates in minutes.



GatesAir’s newest Flexiva takes a different approach to cooling.

The Flexiva FLX range is a liquid-cooled FM/HD Radio/DRM transmitter family that the company says is energy efficient. Power ranges between 5 kW and 80 kW.

The closed-loop liquid-cooling configuration utilizes redundant low-noise pumps for quiet and reliable cooling, the company says. The new transmitter uses GatesAir’s PowerSmart 3D broadband power amplification technology to increase performance.

GatesAir Chief Product Officer Rich Redmond, “The introduction of our Flexiva FLX liquid-cooled FM transmitters exemplifies our continued investment in solving problems for our customers.”



BW Broadcast wants broadcasters to be ready when something goes wrong with transmission.

It describes the Plan B Encore silence detector and back-up audio player as cost-effective, easy to install and use. It is capable of switching to a number of alternative audio sources if problems are detected.

Available sources for the Plan B Encore include internal flash memory, external USB drive, IP stream and audio inputs in the back panel. The unit can also switch to external equipment via the GPIO contacts.

It is possible to access the Plan B Encore via HTML5 remote, Telnet or HTTP API. Email alerts and SNMP can be configured to notify the user about any event.



Broadcast equipment maker AEQ is taking a new look at the portable audio codec. Its Phoenix Alio, the newest member of the Phoenix codec family, has an unusual tablet-style shape, though it retains the standard codec tools and features.

The Alio is SIP-N/ACIP-compliant. When connected to other AEQ codecs it can utilize “Smart RTP” tools to optimize the connection.

It is also compatible with ControlPhoenix codec remote control software protocol, providing tools that help control the unit and set up communications. Capable of being used in different scenarios, Alio was designed with sports commentary/reporting in mind.



Lawo has announced that all of its mc²56 consoles now integrate Ravenna/AES67 technology.

The new mc²56xt broadcast audio mixing console doubles the number of faders on the same surface with respect to the mc²56 model. The XT model can be configured with 48 to 144 faders arranged in a high-density dual fader layout, with further expansion achievable using 16 or 32 fader stand-alone extenders.

Lawo also introduced the A_mic8, the first member of the new A_line family of broadcast-grade audio-to-IP interfaces. The A_mic8 combines eight Lawo-grade mic/line inputs, four line outputs, eight GPIOs and two Ravenna/AES67 Ethernet ports, in a compact 19-inch, one-RU device.

Based on Ravenna technology, all A_line devices are compatible with AES67 and include the company’s VisCon_Navigator, aimed at helping the set-up of audio and video streams in IP networks without the need for in-depth IT knowledge.



Henry Engineering, purveyor of problem-solving blue boxes, has a new interconnect problem-solver, the AES Digital 2X4.

This is a two-input and four AES output digital distribution box. It can handle AES or S/PDIF digital audio input. S/PDIF signals are converted to AES for the output.

The company says that the conversion process has zero delay and that the split copies will be “100 percent bit-accurate and transparent to the source.”

The 1/3-RU box can be rack-mounted with an optional Henry Engineering Rack Shelf.



Audio-Technica has released a dedicated broadcast radio microphone, the BP40.

The top-address BP40 is a large-diaphragm dynamic microphone with a tight hypercardioid pattern. The company says that the capsule’s construction, what it calls “floating edge construction,” aids in performance and RF rejection. A humbucking coil adds to the RF rejection.

It also has a 100 Hz high-pass filter, internal pop filter and all metal construction. It ships with a shockmount. An optional shockmount is also available.



Transradio has released an enhanced version of its DMOD3 DRM exciter.

The DMOD3-CS is a DRM exciter with an integrated DRM audio/multimedia encoder and multiplex generator based on Fraunhofer’s DRM ContentServer R5 technology.

It is scalable, ranging from a cost-effective starter solution up to a fully featured professional DRM setup with automation, the company says.

Features include encoding of the standardized maximum number of DRM services in parallel, with access to multiplex configuration and signaling options provided by the DRM standard; support of latest HE-AAC audio and speech encoding; configuration options for standardized DRM data services such as text messages, Journaline, Slideshow, electronic program guide and TPEG/TMC traffic information, along with flexible interfaces on DRM protocol layers for broadcaster-specific applications; and maximized operation automation through a set of import interfaces for file-based and real-time contribution of audio and multimedia content (e.g. Livewire audio over IP, http(s)/ftp(s) upload and mirroring, UECP, RSS and real-time APIs documented with source code).

In addition, there are dynamic reconfiguration options according to the DRM standard based on weekly calendars, a calendar preplanning tool and interfaces for external reconfiguration triggers. Plus there is maximum operational safety by support of the Redundancy Group feature shared with the standalone Transradio DRM ContentServers for centralized configuration and data management of frame-synchronous MDI output signals (even through dynamic reconfigurations).



Harman has announced that it is shipping the dbx 676 tube microphone preamp channel strip. A vacuum tube-based microphone preamplifier, the 676 offers flexible sound-tailoring options to deliver audio quality in recording and live sound applications, the company says.

The dbx 676 uses a high-gain, Class A tube preamp section based around a 12AU7 vacuum tube that can be adjusted to either sound clean or dirty and full of harmonic character. The 676 uses the compressor/limiter design from the dbx162SL along with a three-band parametric EQ. It adds a post-tube attenuation control.

The preamp section also has 48 V phantom power, 20 dB pad, phase reverse and an 80 Hz low-cut filter.

The dbx 676 offers 1/4-inch and XLR inputs and outputs, a front-panel instrument input, a side chain insert and a VU meter. An optional digital output card is available.