Consoles Provide 5.1 Capabilities, Reliability and Uniform Interface through an SSL Delta Link with Pro Tools® for Operators

JOHNSTON, IOWA—Iowa Public Television (IPTV), a statewide public broadcasting network with nine analog and digital channels, recently installed three Solid State Logic C100 HD Digital Consoles tied together through an SSL MORSE system as part of the station’s upgrade to meet the FCC digital broadcast mandate for 2009. The consoles service Control Room One (C124), Control Room Three in the Maytag Auditorium (C148), and a newly commissioned remote truck (C124), providing a uniform interface for the engineering staff and a seamless path for audio production from the station’s server.

“We were fortunate to get the proper funding in place, so now we are an all HD production facility with all surround sound production,” says William Hayes, director of engineering and technology for Iowa Public Television. “The decision to go with three SSL C100 consoles came from extensive research by our engineering staff. We had a list of things that we needed to accomplish and the C100’s capabilities, especially concerning 5.1 surround mixing, were the best to meet our needs on all levels. The consoles perform tremendously well and all of the operators that have worked with them have said we made the right choice. We’ve just been real pleased with SSL as a manufacturer through every facet of the project because what was delivered to us is exactly what we expected – to us that is just an absolute joy.”

Having three C100 consoles is a big plus for IPTV, as they can cover all production bases with a uniform operator interface. The C100 in Control Room One is the primary production console for streaming audio to and from the server and producing the live in-studio programming like “The Iowa Journal,” “Iowa Press,” and a nationally syndicated show, “Market to Market.” The recently installed C100 in Control Room Three will service the station’s 300-seat auditorium with SSL’s Delta Link MADI HD, for Pro Tools capture and the house audio mix. The C100 in the remote truck is used for local sporting events and live broadcasts of concerts and events.

The MORSE (MOdular Resource Sharing Engine) pulls the entire audio strategy together by providing a central router in the facilities machine room that addresses signals from the remote stage boxes located throughout the station. Two remote mic/line pre-amps service the auditorium with 48 channels on one side of the stage and 16 on the other. Two remote boxes service the live rooms for show production, while three stage boxes exist in the machine room itself for additional patching capabilities.

“One of the features that we like about the C100 is the ability of the consoles to be linked together through the MORSE system,” Hayes explains. “When the need arises, we can now broadcast a concert live, with the console in the auditorium providing the live to house mix and the console in Control Room One providing the on-air mix. We can also take on bigger projects because we have more input channels available through linking two, or even all three consoles together. Having this capability was one of the reasons we installed a C100 in our remote truck. We also wanted to replicate as much as possible the equipment in our studios so that the audio engineers could seamlessly move between our different production environments without having to learn a different audio console. Having this uniformity is a great advantage for us.”

The comprehensive display screens for monitoring and channel EQ and dynamics offered by the C100 allow the engineering staff to clearly understand the signal flow of a particular channel in the surround field, while providing an excellent visual verification of changes in EQ and dynamics. This capability helps IPTV as all audio production for surround broadcast is captured as discrete AES digital audio rather than through Dolby E or other matrix surround audio formats.

“The operators really love the display screens on the C100,” relates Hayes. “The screens are large and easy to understand giving us signal compression, EQ and all of the panning information for each channel. This allows the operators to go in and fine tune the audio on the fly so we can really finesse our productions. They also like the user layers because that allows them to arrange fader strips in a live environment very conveniently, such as with a symphony orchestra program. The clear metering information makes understanding signal flow a breeze. Our experience with SSL has been extremely rewarding.”

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