Congratulations to SCA engineering team for their hard work - very impressive!
SCA's impressive new digs
CLEVELAND, OH – 8 October 2018 – The Telos Alliance®—leader in broadcast technology and parent company to Telos®, Omnia®, Axia®, 25-Seven®, Linear Acoustic®, and Minnetonka™—announced today that it has received the Future Radio World International Best of Show Award in the Radio Broadcast Solutions category for the Telos VX Enterprise & Prime+ Broadcast VoIP Phone Systems at IBC 2018.
"We want to thank Future for the Radio World International Best of Show Award for VX Enterprise and Prime+," says Marty Sacks, VP of Sales, Support, and Marketing for the Telos Alliance. "This award is a testament to the fact that broadcasters are catching on to VoIP and realizing the immediate benefits of better call quality and huge cost savings over traditional phone systems. The addition of AES67 makes it that much easier to integrate your phone system into your network." Telos VX Enterprise is ideal for VoIP phone systems for medium to large facilities with a capacity expandable up to 120 connected hybrids. Telos VX Prime+ is an 8-hybrid solution for small to medium facilities. Both these new VoIP phone solutions offer support for AES67, allowing broadcasters to integrate VX Enterprise or Prime+ into any AES67 environment, including an Axia Livewire® network. Livewire users have the added power of networking control (GPIO), advertising/discovery, and PAD throughout the network. Users will enjoy the best-sounding caller audio ever because both VX Enterprise and VX Prime+ include native support of G.722 HD Voice. Telos' 5th-generation Telos Adaptive Digital Hybrid supplies the clearest caller audio, while Smart AGC and Digital Dynamic EQ by Omnia assure call-to-call consistency from even the toughest cell phone caller. While traditional phone systems can be complicated, VX uses standard SIP protocol to take advantage of low-cost and high-reliability service offerings and simple setup via Ethernet cable. Broadcasters can save every month on traditional analog phone lines by upgrading to VoIP service, offering a significant return on investment.
Telos VX Enterprise & Prime+ Broadcast VoIP Phone Systems Claim Best of Show Award at IBC 2018
Welcome Bundaberg to the growing family of Axia users in Australia. Looking good!
Another Axia site rolls out
Congrats to ECU.
See RadioToday article:
ECU Launches with Axia
Recently a station in NSW needed a new STL. Here's how they did it as reported by Stephen Wilkinson in RadioWorld.
AVC are delighted to delighted to announce a new appointment to the position of Engineering and Support Manager.
Steve brings a wealth of experience to the role, having spent over 30 years senior management roles in the engineering and IT aspects of broadcasting in Australia – most recently as National Radio Engineering Manager for SCA. Besides his technical expertise, Steve is a proven leader and manager of projects and people. He is a charismatic and selfless figure who cares deeply about leading and coaching his team members to get the best outcomes for individuals and the organisation.
We welcome Steve aboard!
AVC appoints new Engineering Manager
Here's a 2 minute demo of Media Player.
Stirlitz Media Logger
Click to play
Imparja Television has completed installation and commissioning on behalf of fourteen Indigenous radio services located throughout Australia, of ZIP ONE codecs to provide service on the VAST satellite platform via a new radio aggregation rack located at the Imparja Studio in Alice Springs.
The codecs, with seven supplied by Indigenous Remote Communications Australia (IRCA), and the remaining codecs by Imparja Television, are a part of social responsibility funding allocation. Imparja will also pay for the increased satellite costs of providing this upgraded service for a three year period to 30 June 2020.
Imparja TV Sponsors 14 Indigenous Radio Station Upgrades
Warrick Marais is the new in-house Broadcast Engineer specialising in audio processing with our friends at New Zealand-based AVC Group, a major Telos Alliance dealer across the South Pacific, India, the Middle East, and beyond. Warrick’s background runs the gamut of audio, from audio production in the pro audio arena and film, to audio processing for radio and television, to live performance audio. So when AVC was looking for someone with a high level of expertise in the realm of audio, the range of experience Warrick brings to the table–not to mention his familiarity with AVC from past work–made him the ideal choice.
We sat down with Warrick recently for some insight into his wide-ranging career, and his thoughts on the different aspects of working in the audio industry.
How did you get involved in the audio industry, and audio processing specifically?
I began my career in radio with the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as a Technician, and then later became involved with a radio station in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where I assisted both on the technical and production arenas, and thus began my interest in processing. I’ve been an audio guy all my life… I was the guy in the bedroom recording his guitar at 16, and that’s how I got into it. I did a lot of work doing live sound in high school and progressed from there. I’ve always had a love for the audio creation process and generating great sound, and that’s how I got involved in the processing side.
Tell us a little about the difference between the pro audio world and the broadcast audio processing world.
The key difference is that for music production you’re basically trying to create the sound of an instrument. You are generating a sonic signature for a particular piece or particular instrument. You’re not thinking globally in that sense, you’re thinking, “Well I need this particular instrument to match that particular instrument. How do I create that sound?” This is different from audio processing in the broadcast world, where you’re typically thinking in mastering terms and you’re working with the finished product—music that’s already pre-mixed by the mixing engineer. You want to basically create a sound for the overall concept of the piece. The ultimate goal is to create a sonic signature for the overall sound of the station, which is more like mastering and less like mixing.
What are some of the challenges that come along with moving from one realm to the other?
The challenge in broadcast processing is that a Program Director will typically have a very specific sound in mind for his station, and a key aspect to consider is whether that sound is appropriate. One particular PD I worked with liked the sound of a station in another market and wanted his station to sound like it. We had to have a discussion as to whether that sound would be ideal for his market.
It’s quite difficult to discuss stuff like that because, how do you describe what a sound is? Is it blue? Is it green? It’s an interesting interactive talk, especially when you’re talking to people who are not processing literate and may not fully grasp the terminology and all the considerations.
Even across the different mediums within the broadcast world there are significant differences in how audio is processed. Give us your thoughts on Radio processing v. TV processing.
Radio processing and TV processing are two completely different beasts. You’ve got to almost switch your brain when you’re doing the two of them. Working as a TV engineer it took me a while to get my head around mixing to a strict specification, because the way you have to mix is very different. With TV it's all about dialog intelligibility and with radio it's all about the overall sonic signature of the station.
With TV processing you have to stay within specific, standardized levels, but you don’t necessarily want to impact the sonic signature of the sound. Your aim is not to create a signature but rather improve on what's there. TV engineers spend hours and hours mixing the shows and you don’t really want to touch that.
What’s your review on Omnia and Linear Acoustic products?
With Omnia, the 7 and 9 are very clean. The 11 has a different sonic texture to it. It sounds more "analog"… It’s rounder, it’s warmer. The 9 and the 7 I’d use on classical music because it’s so clean, while the 11 I’d used on a rock station.
Then of course we have the new baby, the Omnia VOLT. The sound of that blew me away straight out of the box without having to do any preset editing. It sounds awesome. It’s got a little bit of character from both sides… It has a lot of the 11 sound, but it seems to have also taken a lesson from the 7 and the 9 from the cleanness point of view. It’s clean but it’s still warmer at the same time. It’s the best of both worlds.
On the TV side, with Linear Acoustic, I just spent some time in Fiji setting up all the Linear Acoustic boxes there for their television processing. I think that’s a great product for surround sound upmixing and Dolby Digital integration. It’s easy to install and works out of the box and includes the great clean sound of the Omnia.9 algorithms.
What’s your feeling about technology like declipper?
What’s happened in the industry is that mastering engineers like to crunch things too much to try and beat the loudness wars, which involves clipping the sound. After going through radio processing you're effectively double-processing at that point, and it just ends up being ugly. So the declipper functionality is amazing. It attempts to undo the clipping by interpolating what was removed by the clipping. It’s a great tool, especially for the music that’s coming out now.
Do you think what radio stations are wanting with their sound has changed in the last 10 years?
To be honest I’d have to say no. I can’t speak for the U.S. but in Europe, South Africa, and Australia, they’ve kind of been stuck on the same sound for the last ten years. We’re trying to break that barrier now, to create a cleaner, more dynamic sound with the current processors on the market, but still maintaining the perceived loudness.
I’ve been involved with stations of a variety of formats, and it’s often hard to break old habits. Some broadcasters want their station’s sound to stay as it’s been, but at times adjustments are necessary to improve the sound based on the style of music a station features. But it can be a struggle at times to convince them to try something different.
You were trained as a classical pianist. What kind of music do you listen to you when you’re relaxing? Do you listen to a lot of classical music?
Funny enough that would be no, I don’t. I like listening to acoustic guitar work, and I listen to a lot of jazz like Oscar Peterson and other piano greats. I like a lot of individual instrument styles of music like acoustic guitar or piano music. That’s my relax music.
Any special challenges with pianos and acoustic instruments when it comes to processing or mixing?
There’s a lot of harmonic information in those particular instruments, especially piano, because you’ve got the whole range of frequencies, from bass all the way up to the top, and even stuff you can’t hear with the human ear is there. It all affects the final product.
With processing, if you push piano too hard it starts breaking up and becomes brittle, so you have to watch. Especially classical music with a lot of piano behind it, you have to be careful you don’t push the dials too far.
Any instrument in its own right has frequencies that it’s more prevalent in, and you have to watch those frequencies. With piano the problem is you have the entire range to deal with.
Any personal details of note?
I’ve moved around the world a lot and enjoy the challenge of meeting new people. I grew up in South Africa then moved to New Zealand, worked here for three years, and then won the green card lottery and moved to the states. I was there for 10 years working in film, radio, and television, mostly in an audio post-production environment and working with surround sound for television, which is another world unto itself.
How have the moves across so many different continents, countries, and cultures gone? Has it been an adjustment?
I’d say so, yes. Coming to America was the most challenging. It’s a very different culture with how people interact with each other. I lived in New York for a year-and-a-half and it’s very much about business, whereas South Africa and New Zealand are much more laid back. It’s kind of an ‘I’ll get to it tomorrow’ attitude. In New York you can't do that. It’s got to happen now. When I moved to L.A., it was a very different entity all to itself, nothing like New York at all; it seemed like a different country.
What’s it like working for AVC?
It’s a crazy roller coaster ride, no two days are the same. I previously worked for the company that eventually became AVC, and because of that previous connection and my last ten years of experience, I was asked to come back and add my expertise to the team.
When you’re not working with audio processing you’re…?
I listen to a lot of music and I’m really into movies. Another passion of mine is sound design... Even though it’s still audio it’s a different discipline altogether.
Meet Warrick Marais: Audio Processing Expert
Omnia.9sg Gets a Major Software Update, With New Clipper, Livewire+ AES67, and More
The Telos Alliance® announced today that it has released a major software update—version 3.16.52—for theOmnia.9sg stereo generator and final stage processor.
"The Omnia.9sg was always more than just a stereo generator, and with the latest software, this final-stage processor takes its next leap forward," says Omnia's Geoff Steadman. "This update is almost like getting an entirely new product, the improvements are so dramatic and give the 9sg much more functionality, from a new clipper to Livewire+ AES67 to a bunch of great new features. It really makes any processor, from any manufacturer, sound its absolute best."
New Clipper Design Audio processing architect Hans van Zutphen designed the new clipper now featured in the Omnia.9sg. This psychoacoustically controlled distortion masking clipper is louder, cleaner, and more efficient. It takes into account how the human ear perceives distortion and uses that information to effectively mask it, leaving only clean, distortion-free audio on the air. The new clipper also uses less internal processing power from the CPU to get the job done faster, resulting in lower latency.
Livewire+ AES67 This software update makes Omnia.9sg a Livewire+ AES67 product. It is now 100% AES67-compliant.
Omnia.9sg Is Processor Agnostic Omina.9sg is processor agnostic, so it can be used to improve the audio quality and loudness of any station with any processor from any manufacturer. If a station can’t afford a brand new top-of-the-line processor, or if they like the sound of the front end of their current processor but want better back-end performance, they can add a 9sg for less than half the cost of a new all-in-one box.
No-Compromise Split Processing Placing a processor at the studio is often more convenient as some transmitter sites are difficult to access, but doing so can compromise quality and loudness as STL audio quality varies and the clippers found in other stereo generators are often mediocre at best. Some transmitters have built-in stereo generators but quality and features vary.
Placing the processor at the transmitter site allows the composite signal from the processor to be fed directly into the transmitter, which provides the best audio quality and the most loudness, but not all transmitter sites have adequate network connectivity for remote control and are often located in remote or difficult-to-access areas. This means making adjustments to the processing is often a challenge.
Split processing—placing the main processor at the studio and the Omnia.9sg at the transmitter—is a no-compromise solution.
Multiple Transmitter Sites Many FM broadcasters have their main transmitter at one tower site and their backup transmitter at another. A stereo generator is required at both transmitters, which often means two complete standalone processors. Installing an Omnia.9sg at each transmitter site allows a station to use the same main processor at the studio to feed both sites, which means a potential cost savings and consistent processing between the main and auxiliary sites. This applies to applications where a common STL is shared between the sites or when individual STLs are used.
In Europe, it is common for a national broadcaster to work from a single studio location and have dozens or even hundreds of transmitter sites located throughout the country. The appeal of having one main processor at the studio and an Omnia.9sg at each transmitter site works brilliantly on this larger scale as well.
When configured with the local audio insertion option, these national broadcasters can also interrupt network content and insert localized content at each transmitter site such as local traffic, weather, or geo-targeted advertising.
Ratings Encoder & Enhancement Applications Research shows that ratings encoders and/or enhancement devices such as Voltair benefit from being fed processed audio. Some processors have special “insert points” that make this possible internally, but many do not. Placing the main processor and the encoder at the studio and using Omnia.9sg at the transmitter can help facilitate this.
Omnia.9sg Gets a Major Software Update
Southern Cross Austereo is a major Australian broadcast network consisting of over 100 radio and TV stations across the country. Recently, SCA has made the move to AoIP and Axia at a number of their radio facilities, including moving their Newcastle operation – about two-and-a-half hours north of Sydney – into a new building earlier this year.
The Newcastle location features two radio stations, KOFM 102.9 and NXFM Hit 106.9. Steve Adler is Broadcast Engineer for SCA, and although the move to Axia has been a trend at several SCA facilities of late, he admits there was an additional reason for the move to the new Newcastle digs. “Honestly, the catalyst for building the new studios was that the lease at our previous premises had run out, so we had to move,” Steve muses. “But in all seriousness, it was a very old analog station and it was time to give it a refresh.”
Why the move to AoIP for so many SCA studios? Steve says it just makes so many things so much easier. “It just gives you far more flexibility in what you can do because of Audio over IP… You can route better, you can do more with it, it’s WAN-friendly. The backbone of our system is Axia; all the consoles, all the engines. We have well and truly hitched our style to the Telos Alliance wagon.” Steve says the Newcastle studios are identical to those in Southern Cross’ Adelaide facility, which was built just prior, though there are only two production studios, whereas in Adelaide has three. He adds that they try to keep things fairly uniform in their various studios across Eastern Australia. “For better or worse we try to keep a standard in whatever we do, so the studios at several of our facilities are carbon copies of each other.”
The approach makes things easier, such that most any engineer on the SCA staff could go the various sites and find their way around. “This is important,” Steve says, “because Axia is complicated.” Complicated, maybe… But Axia ultimately makes life less complicated for the SCA team, according to Steve. “All the previous stuff was time-division multiplexing, and you only had so many channels. With AoIP, it’s unlimited, really. As long as you treat your virtual LAN properly, you can do anything with it.”
Steve recalls the morning they went to air at the new studios in Newcastle, with brand new Axia Fusion consoles and a Telos VX phone system. “Everything exceeded the staff’s expectations. They didn’t dream they’d be in such a nice facility.” To be fair, it’s not just the Axia Fusion AoIP consoles and Telos phones that made the staff fall in love with the new studio—it seems the facility they moved from wasn’t exactly modern. “They came from a little dungeon without a view and only electric light, and now they’ve got these picture windows and a great view,” Steve jokes.
While Steve may exaggerate the condition of the previous facility a bit, he notes that the addition of Axia consoles has clearly had an impact on the staff’s creative productivity. “Technically speaking, what they can do now and the ease with which they can do it, it allows them to be creative and create better content.”
Despite the success Southern Cross Austereo has had with Axia through the years, there were some bugs to work out in the early days. Steve says Axia engineers listened carefully to SCA’s concerns and collaboratively, they worked things out. It’s that mutual respect and collaboration between the two entities—and AVC—that led to the development of Southern Cross' ground-breaking content distribution system known as SCAsat, making significant use of the Telos Zephyr iPort PLUS Multi-Codec Gateway.
In addition, the transition to Axia and AoIP is planned for more Southern Cross studios as well as the SCA network expands. “It says a lot about the Telos Alliance and Axia that they’re the standard. That’s why we keep coming back to you.”
New Consoles in Newcastle as SCA Upgrades
SCA Newcastle Studios.jpg
100.9 SEA FM, Heart 107.3 and Southern Cross Television have moved into new state-of-the-art premises in Central Hobart.
After spending more than 30 years in Liverpool Street, in the Hobart CBD, SCA Hobart has merged its separate radio and tv offices into one hub.
SCA's Rod Maldon has told radioinfo:
"With great results and some of the best new talent in radio and television being bred and promoted from within our Hobart base this move now drives our teams to the next level of professionalism that will deliver more success overall."