With the DTV transition upon us, Wheatstone introduced three new audio consoles at NAB, completely refreshing its TV-targeted line. “The transition is definitely driving the console business right now, and that’s why we decided to update our whole product line,” said Howard Mullinack, director of marketing. The new models include the D-5.2 for major market live news; the D-8 surround audio console for mid- and small-market stations; and the D-16, an update of the D-12 designed for OB trucks and smaller studios. All feature full surround-sound mixing and motorized faders.
The D-5.2 is Wheatstone’s new flagship console, accommodating up to 146 faders with all controls immediately at hand for fast changes without unneeded software navigation. Each fader strip includes seven alpha displays for instant feedback, with both level and gain reduction meters immediately adjacent to the fader. “In a fast-paced operation like breaking news, you don’t have time to drill down through menus and layers,” Mullinack said. “You want to see status at a glance. On the D-5.2, everything you need is physically present on every fader. It gives the desk an analog feel, gives it the immediacy of being able to reach every knob, button and function, all the time.” The D-5.2 replaces the company’s D-5.1 models, adding new switching and display capabilities and featuring four main output buses, 18 mix-minus buses, up to 128 bus-minus feeds and five studio feeds.
Designed for smaller rooms and OB trucks, the new D-16 offers up to 144 faders and adds eight additional aux sends to the previous D-12’s design, bringing the total to 16. The new D-16 offers a full complement of capabilities in a space-efficient designed targeted at OB trucks and smaller studios. Mullinack characterized the design as having “very much the functionality of the D-5.2, but not nearly as many controls on a module. Instead, we put some of the more secondary functions on a central control panel.”
Wheatstone also unveiled the D-8 TV surround-sound audio console, a totally new product entry. Designed as a competitively priced surface for mid- and small-market stations, remote trucks or for secondary on-air/production rooms in larger facilities, the D-8 features 30 motorized faders (24 for inputs), four submasters, surround mixing, two main buses, two aux sends and extensive processing (four-band parametric EQ, filters, compressor/limiter and de-esser). It shares the full audio performance and mix engine found on the higher-priced Wheatstone models.
“The D-8 is designed for smaller operations that previously would be buying a full-featured sound reinforcement console,” Mullinack said. “Now they can afford a console designed specifically for television. We’ve taken much of the control and moved it to a TFT touchscreen, making the D-8 about half the cost of our full-scale TV consoles, depending on how much I/O you fit it with. As with all Wheatstone television consoles, the D-8 is a control surface; all audio I/O is housed in the Wheatstone Bridge networked routing and mixing system.