Audio Processing

FM, AM, Mic & Internet Audio

Wheatstone Audio Processing

Deliver sound so good, you can feel it. Bring it on with Wheatstone's ultra high resolution Vorsis processors for voice, AM, FM on-air or streaming. Sound that's loud, yet detailed. Only Wheatstone offers processors with the surgical precision of 31-band processing for audio detail that sings! It’s the Vorsis advantage and it's all inside: brilliant highs, articulate vocals, bold bass…ambience. If you need sound shaping for FM, AM, HD, television, webcasting, podcasting, mastering or live audio, this is the place.

Read more...

The Curious Behavior of Radios

CarRadio LargeLouder is better! Crank it up! Well, not so fast...

Ever wonder what your listeners' FM radios sound like when your station is knee deep in the loudness race and the modulation monitor is always pegged? Our audio processing development guru, Jeff Keith, wondered about that too.

Read More...

So, during one quiet week at the Wheat processing lab, he decided to find out. He selected 15 radio receivers that most represented the majority of radios out there in use, and got out his trusty modulation analyzers, signal generators and other assorted test gear. He ran audio sweeps of de-modulated and de-emphasized FM audio and plotted SMPTE IM distortion of the receiver’s audio output as modulation was raised, among other tests. His main goal was to discover distortion trends in radios during 110% or more modulation. Here are a few of his findings, the details of which will be presented during the upcoming NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference (BEC).

  • The more recent the radio model, the more intolerant of high modulation it is likely to be.
  • Newer AM/FM/HD radio IC chips detect high deviation (over-modulation) and often, in an attempt to fix the problem, create unpleasant audio effects.
  • Many consumer receivers have restrictive intermediate frequency (IF) bandwidths, which can mean perceptibly distorted audio even when tuned to a normally modulated station. The IF bandwidth of one radio measured was barely 100kHz wide at the 3dB point.
  • Half of the receivers tested added significant IM distortion at modulation levels as low as 120%.

Jeff Keith’s paper “The Curious Behavior of Consumer FM Receivers During Hyper-modulation” will be published in the 2015 NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference (BEC) Proceedings and presented during the NAB Engineering Conference, Sunday, April 12.

A Look at Leighton

Leighton-1-420Our Darrin Paley says he couldn’t recall a moment when someone wasn’t sitting in front of a microphone as he snapped these shots of the Leighton Broadcasting studios during his recent visit to St. Cloud. Designed by Rob Goldberg, who is well-known in the area for his signature studios, the control rooms and newsroom for four Leighton stations (KCLD-FM, WILD-FM, KCML-FM and KNSI-AM) are networked and controlled through the WheatNet-IP audio network.

Leighton Broadcasting also has stations in Detroit Lakes and Grand Forks. The group’s Director of Engineering, Tony Abfalter, says he has just about every one of our BLADE I/O access units, and a good many of our control surfaces, including E-1s, L-12s, IP-12s, LX-24s and SideBoards. The group was also one of the first to receive our new FM-55 audio processor, in addition to owning AirAura X3 and AM-10HD audio processors.

Wheatstone BLADEFEST

Enhancing System Performance

September 2014: Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP Engineers get together to try and break a huge system assembled to be representative of all our control surfaces, many, many BLADES and processors, as they'd be used in a very large installation. In the process, they make the products faster, better, and stronger. We called it BLADEFEST. And the engineers who took part were our BLADE RUNNERS...

The above video documents the process. The article below (expanded here) appears in the Jan/Feb 2015 edition of Radio Guide Magazine. 

Read More

Beyond 4K at CES. The Internet of Things.

CES LasVegasWhat at CES 2015 could possibly interest a couple of audio network nerds?

Well, yes, gadgets of course. But there was also this: the Internet of Things (IoT). One analyst counted 900 exhibitors with IoT products there. Thermostats, coffee makers, watches, jewelry, dog collars, ovens, smart sports apparel … baby bottles. All connected to the Internet of Things.

It’s a great concept, this idea of connecting appliances (not to mention, that new 4K TV) to the internet and controlling them through your smartphone or laptop. 

Read more...

Processing Tip

erickson rackHere's a helpful tip from Wheatstone Processing Guy Mike Erickson on keeping track of presets:

"One thing I try to remember to do when I'm making presets for a new install, or adjusting presets on a processor that's already online, is to date the presets. This not only gives you a good track record as to when you created that perfect sound, but it also allows you to go back if the PD complains that the processing ‘sounded better last week’ ... you'll know what preset to go back to even if you didn't physically write it down! Saving presets with the dates allows you to do the processing version of ‘System Restore.’ Also, it's a good idea to back up your presets. ALWAYS! I recall a Memorial Day failure of a processor in Market #1 going back almost 7 years ago. The backup switched on via silence sensor and I was able to swap out the main with another of the same model we had on the shelf and load the custom presets. Within an hour, we were back sounding as good as you could get with that box! The PD was nervous while I was swapping hardware that we wouldn't sound the same because all the presets were lost on the hardware. If I hadn't backed up the presets, weeks of work would have been down the drain.”

This tip is brought to you by our new FM-55 audio processor, which is so easy to adjust from the front panel, you might want to save and date presets for the presets.

The Scoop on Codecs for IP Audio

CodecIllustrationUsing the Internet for audio distribution makes sense, but the problem is a little like the holiday rush at the Post Office.

There are simply too many packets of data for the pipeline.

You need a codec to bit-reduce the audio stream. So what’s it going to be? AptX, Opus, G.722 or AAC, and if so, which version of AAC? We asked Charlie Gawley from Tieline, “The Codec Company” and a Wheatstone technology partner, to fill us in on Opus, the EBU ACIP standard, and how the AES67 factors into the use of codecs for IP audio delivery.

Read more...

Hand it Over, Internet

WheatTie CLOUDS 420If you’re thinking about handing over program distribution to the public internet, Brian Kerkan of Crawford Broadcasting has some advice for you.

Do yourself a favor and oversubscribe on bandwidth if you’re not able to set up a guaranteed QoS network, he says. His group in Detroit is paying around $100 a month for 20 megabits/second upstream.

Read more...

Crawford Denver Upgrades with WheatNet-IP

hoppWriting in the October 8, 2014 issue of Radio World, Amanda Hopp of Crawford Broadcasting in Denver described her recent production studio upgrade using WheatNet-IP Audio-over-IP networking. You can download a reprint of the article below, courtesy of the publisher.

icon Building an AoIP Network with BLADEs (947.19 kB 2014-11-21 15:40:29)

Oh, The Voices -- Part II: Adjusting for Taste

SteveDove Altby Steve Dove, Minister of Algorithms

The most basic, and arguably the most powerful, tool for getting vocals to sound good is equalization.

It has two primary uses, to correct for errors or for artistic effect. Compression and limiting also can be useful for adjusting vocals, as I cover in some detail below.

But first, this PSA: The worst judge of microphone processor settings is the one doing the talking. Most folk swoon over massive proximity effect bass and vertigo-inducing compression in their own headphones, to extents that would be ludicrous on-air. Someone other than the talent should do the equalization and dynamics adjustments, thank you very much.

Read More

Oh, the Voices (Part 1)

Steve DovePart I: Tidying Up Talent Vocals
By Steve Dove, Wheatstone Minister of Algorithms


The microphone processor has long been important but in recent years it has become vital. Mainly this is due to the recent trend of referencing audio to 0dBfs (the maximum signal level in a digital system) rather than the cozy old nominal 0dB VU. 

Read More

Mike Erickson is THAT Processing Guy

Mike Erickson_2012a_800

AirAuraX3 420NAB FM55 670Writing in the October 15 issue of Radio World, Wheatstone's Mike Erickson describes what it's like to be "that guy," the one who arrives in town with an audio processor under his arm and delivers on the promises.Here's a reprint, courtesy of Radio World.

 icon Mike Erickson is That Processing Guy (824.47 kB 2014-11-12 11:58:38)

Wheatstone Holiday Video Greeting

HolidayVideoThumb

It's that time of year again, and with the winter chill comes the warmth of our now-traditional Wheatstone video greeting card. (I must say that Mike Harris and the surface-mount department have absolutely stolen the show this year!) From our Wheatstone family to yours, we'd like to wish you peace and joy this holiday season, and a very happy and prosperous 2015.

Outta Control!

AgileScreenBuilder 2560We’ve just started to ship our new Screen Builder app, and already the many uses for this software app that lets you create custom screens for the WheatNet-IP audio network are rolling in.

Our new Screen Builder app has faders, meters, labels, buttons, clocks, timers and other widgets that you can arrange on a PC screen and program to create your own custom control interface for level adjusting, monitoring and more.

Chris Penny from Agile Broadcast in Australia told us about this interesting application for Screen Builder. (Shown in the photo at left: click to zoom in.)

  

Read More

"The screen I built for this studio is for a producer. It allows IFB in to the right channel of a host/guest headphone by simply pressing on their chair. The ‘dot’ in front of the chairs (on the desk) lights up to show the mic is switched ON. Buttons to the right give the producer full monitoring of all outside broadcast lines in the facility, and he can talk to any remote talent by pressing the IFB button for the desired line. Group talkback to all guests is available by pressing ‘talkback all guests;’ or to every headphone by pressing the ‘Roosevelt’ button (Roosevelt is the name of the studio). A source selector on the left side of the screen allows the producer to monitor a variety of program sources, and a PC button mixes in the producer’s Internet computer to the monitor mix. Additional controls include delay DUMP (which illuminates when delay is full) and Aircom, which sends the producer’s talkback microphone to the On Air mix via an AirAura processor (to colour the sound so it mimics an intercom/ and control dynamics)."

Other uses for Screen Builder include monitoring transmitter levels and logic at various sites, locating and controling all hardware in the audio network, and monitoring studios in different locations.

Here's a quick video from Wheatstone's VP/Technology, Andy Calvanese, describing Screen Builder.

Let us know your ideas for Screen Builder. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Quick Stop at WXXI

Web WXXI_FM_SCOTT_REGAN_2560-v2From time to time we check in with our customers to see how things are going. This month, we found the folks at WXXI AM/FM/TV in good spirits and busier than ever.

Kent Hatfield in charge of audio operations for WXXI television and radio showed us around the facility, which has clearly seen a lot of changes since the Rochester, New York, pubcaster set up shop with ten Wheatstone D-9 and G series consoles networked into a Wheatstone TDM system 12 years ago.

Read More

Audio Performance Testing on the Cheap

AudioPerformanceOnTheCheap 420by Jeff Keith

There’s nothing like a little audio performance testing to cap off a hectic week at the station, especially if you don’t have to haul out the heavy (read “expensive”) equipment to do it.

There are two main things I like to test: the flatness of the frequency response and the distortion added by equipment in the air chain. For this, you’ll need clean test signals, and a way to measure those signals after they’ve passed through the air chain.

Read More

3 Things You Need to Know About Network Switches

SwitchPlate 420You’re about to embark on a social experiment.

You’ve selected the perfect control surfaces and the audio network is almost laid out for your new studios. Everyone and everything speaks broadcast and, so far, you haven’t had to take up IT as a second language. But now you’re about to drop a couple of network switches into the middle of it all and you’re worried that things could erupt into a civil war between this newer IT world and the radio cavalry.

Read More

twitterfacebook