WheatNews August 2020

WHEAT:NEWS AUGUST 2020  Volume 11, Number 8

Show Runner


You’re looking at a storage room. 

This happened because no one thought it was a good idea to have one of Canada’s top political commentators running up the street and back every afternoon between shows. 

Senior Engineer Shon Kelly with Bell Media Radio in Ottawa put together this remote studio for Evan Soloman in a CTV News Bureau storage room using a couple of computer screens, some furniture, a few well-placed mics, and, of course, the Glass LXE virtual mixer seen on the right. 

It’s only a ten-minute jaunt between the CFRA studios where Soloman hosts his radio syndicated show and the CTV News Bureau just down the street where he hosts his television show, but still. When you’re hosting a radio and a television show back to back, you don’t need to be running back and forth between the television and the radio building. 

Ron Paley Broadcast sent Shon the PC with Glass LXE programmed in and Ian Schmidt with RVA Canada installed a custom desk and rolling rack for the AoIP and codec unit. The remote studio at the CTV News Bureau ties to the main control room at CFRA’s studios ten minutes away using a codec unit. 

Instead of running between the two, Soloman now walks down the hallway from the CTV News Bureau to the new Bell Media Radio studio to host both his radio syndicated show and the PowerPlay television show. 

Essential Mic Processor Settings 

M4IP USB VP StackDiag

You can add mic processors to that list of essential workers we’ve been hearing about.

They take the brunt of whatever noise creeps into the microphone during a set, and lately, there’s been a lot of it. Mics are performing in less than ideal environments these days and subjected to all kinds of new sounds − kids yelling in the next room, a dog going off, the doorbell. 

It’s nothing a good mic processor (like, our M1, M2 or M4IP) can’t handle, providing you’ve given it enough care and feeding. 

Start with filtering. The right high-pass filter setting can do wonders for less than acoustically optimal environments. The idea is to roll up the frequency as far as one dares without impacting voice quality. Generally, that’s 50Hz on a male, 80Hz on a female announcer to remove noise without affecting the voice. 

An expander or noise gate can effect a huge improvement by automatically reducing the gain − and so room noise and coloration − in speech pauses.  Subtle is the word; just a few dB is all that's needed. Too much sounds clunky. The threshold should be set to open only on that announcer’s voice − not his neighbor’s, and certainly not the dog’s. (Open, fast <1mS; hang-time, say, 100mS; close, 100mS. Other manufacturers may use different nomenclature, like “attack,” “hold,” and “release.”)

If you’re getting too much low-frequency energy due to a clip-on lavalier mic picking up noise like the speaker’s chest resonance, you can use the processor’s parametric EQ controls to isolate the offending frequency and reduce it.

Lavalier mics can be overly “bright” in that they tend to produce a lot of high-frequency energy, typically at a peak boost between 3kHz and 8kHz, depending on the microphone. You can dial in a relatively broad EQ to smooth out the peak by starting with a parametric section set up for 5kHz, Q 0.5 (bandwidth 2 octave), and slowly attenuate.

If you’re still getting sibilance, there’s always the de-esser function. Simply adjust to ear, using 5kHz as the starting point. The beauty of a de-esser is that unlike ordinary EQ controls, it can take the bite out of sibilance without affecting the rest of the spectrum.

Finally, make sure that your essential worker has a very quiet mic preamp so it can handle whatever the microphone throws at it. We use super quiet preamps in our M4IP-USB mic processor − we actually call them Super-Quiet (SQ) microphone preamps! The M4IP-USB has four SQ preamplifiers that have an extremely low noise floor, very wide dynamic range, faithfully accurate transient response, and ruler flat frequency response. The M4IP-USB also uses high quality 24-bit A/D converters and a 96kHz base sample rate, so it doesn’t add undesired coloration to the signal and faithfully preserves the sound of any microphone and talent combination. 

Processor Placement. Studio or Transmitter?

Where do you put the audio processor, at the studio or the transmitter site? 

The question came up during Nautel’s recent Transmitter Talk Tuesday webcast on audio processing hosted by Jeff Welton with guests Jay Tyler and Mike Erickson.


Click above to watch webcast "Transmission Talk Tuesday – Audio Processing Discussion" (1hr 15mins)

The ideal location for purposes of audio quality and loudness is at the transmitter site where the program signal can output directly out of the processor’s stereo generator into the transmitter. 

One exception is if you have multiple transmitter sites. Then, it would be more cost effective to have one audio processor at the studio feeding several transmitters instead of an audio processor at every transmission point. An X5 FM/HD audio processor at the studio feeding left/right audio to an SG-192 stereo generator at each transmission point saves not only the additional cost of a processor at each transmitter site, but also the rental cost of rack space at the transmitter in some cases. 

Another exception is when using a composite STL, in which case putting the audio processor in  the studio is a more practical alternative to putting it at the transmitter site. For these configurations, our MPX SyncLink can be used to keep HD and FM signals in time alignment over the STL from the studio X5 FM/HD audio processor to the transmitter.

Another popular topic that surfaced during the webcast was the discontinued use of analog composite clippers in the modern air chain due to their degradation on signal quality and perceived coverage. The consensus: not only does the analog circuitry degrade over time, but such clippers lack the precision MPX spectrum protection filters of modern processors that now make it possible to increase perceived FM coverage. 

When Analog is Enough

Air4Stevie Baldwin

We know they’re out there because we sell a whole lot of analog consoles. 

You might even call them the silent majority, those broadcasters who prefer analog over AoIP consoles. 

Here are six good reasons why. 

  1. 1. When more than 50% of your sources are analog, it makes sense to buy an analog (or hybrid) console. It’s too costly and too much of a hassle to make an IP audio network work by the time you convert those sources from analog to digital and back again. 
  2. 2. When you only need a replacement console. An Audioarts analog console makes the most sense if you want to quickly drop a console into an existing wired studio. We’ve replaced quite a few StudioHub™ connected consoles with Audioarts consoles and it doesn’t get much more plug-and-play than that. 
  3. 3. When you want the simplicity of an analog board. No software, no drivers, not an IP address in sight. 
  4. 4. Analog just works, unless you spill a Big Gulp® on it. Even then, parts are easy to get and it’s a relatively easy fix. (We have your online parts store right here.) 
  5. 5. When you’re adding on a studio to a hard-wired facility, analog is sometimes the quickest, least disruptive alternative. No long meetings about facility workflows.
  6. 6. Finally, you can go modern without the AoIP. Consider our analog/digital hybrid Lightning console. Lightning has standard RJ45 connectivity, extra busses for routing and other purposes, dedicated dual-caller phone module with TB (no mix-minus setup), plus USB and Bluetooth for access to editing software, Zoom and other external sources. All without the AoIP. 
  7. By the way, Wheatstone still services every single analog console model we’ve made. 

VM and “Floating” Audio Drivers 


Radio Zürisee, Switzerland, installed one of the first virtualized systems for broadcast. It involved virtualizing 24 workstations into one VM with “floating” WheatNet-IP AoIP drivers and virtual mixing console app. 

Shown is the seven-channel virtual mixer designed by Radio Zürisee Senior Chief Engineer Mario Göldi using ScreenBuilder for use by talent in their offices and reporters in the newsroom. Note the VDI channel indicating signaling from the VM located in the TOC, which contains the 24 workstations housed together into one Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Users can open a virtual Windows® environment from thin client computers by initiating a session with the VDI server. During a session, client workstations can request a “floating” WheatNet-IP audio driver and mixing app for use during that session and after logging out, the driver and mixer are reallocated back to the server and available again upon request. 

Radio Zürisee was one of the original beta users for the floating AoIP drivers and applications developed by Wheatstone engineers for virtualized system environments.

Radio Zürisee Video Vignette

Thanks to Markus Stocker for assembling this video montage of Radio Zürisee interlaced with manufacturing scenes. 


The Wheatstone online parts store is now open! You can purchase spare cards, subassemblies, modules and other discontinued or out-of-production components for Wheatstone, Audioarts, PR&E and VoxPro products online, or call Wheatstone customer support at 252-638-7000 or contact the Wheatstone technical support team online as usual. 

The store is another convenience at wheatstone.com, where you can access product manuals, white papers and tutorials as well as technical and discussion forums such as its AoIP Scripters Forum

Featured Demo Gear In The Wheatstone Store Right Now:

PR&E Oasis






PR&E Netwave



PR&E Impulse 20



FM-531HD Processor



Wheatstone AirAura X3 Processor



Remote Solutions Video Demonstrations

Jay Tyler recently completed a series of videos demonstrating the various solutions Wheatstone offers for remote broadcasting.


Compare All of Wheatstone's Remote Solutions

REMIXWe've got remote solutions for virtually every networkable console we've built in the last 20 years or so. For basic volume, on/off, bus assign, logic, it's as easy as running an app either locally with a good VPN, or back at the studio, using a remote-access app such as Teambuilder to run.

Check out the chart below, and/or click here to learn more on our Remote Solutions web page.

Click for a Comparison Chart of All Wheatstone Remote Software Solutions

Are you a ScreenBuilder or ConsoleBuilder power user? Register and log onto our Scripters Forum. This is a new meeting place for anyone interested in developing new screens and workflows for our WheatNet-IP audio network. Share scripts, screen shots and ideas with others also developing virtual news desks, control panels, and signal monitors. You’ll find documents, starter scripts and a whole knowledge base available to you for making customized screens like those pictured.

Click to register for our Scripters Forum (it's free)


Curious about how the modern studio has evolved in an IP world? Virtualization of the studio is WAY more than tossing a control surface on a touch screen. With today's tools, you can virtualize control over almost ANYTHING you want to do with your audio network. This free e-book illustrates what real-world engineers and radio studios are doing. Pretty amazing stuff.

AdvancingAOIP E BookCoverAdvancing AOIP for Broadcast

Putting together a new studio? Updating an existing studio? This collection of articles, white papers, and brand new material can help you get the most out of your venture. Best of all, it's FREE to download!


IP Audio for TV Production and Beyond


For this FREE e-book download, we've put together this e-book with fresh info and some of the articles that we've authored for our website, white papers, and news that dives into some of the cool stuff you can do with a modern AoIP network like Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP. 

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-- Uncle Wheat, Editor

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