WAFF, a Raycom Media station, began searching for a replacement for our aging audio console a couple of years ago. When the original board was installed back in 1993 it met our needs, but during the next 13 years the situation changed considerably. We added more bureau shots, more newscasts and more ENG shots, along with traffic reports from our local radio partner.
Our original console had only a single mix minus bus, which meant that all ENG operators got the same IFB feed. This became a source of considerable confusion, not to mention the occasional on-air: "Are you talking to me?" Additional audio devices added to the air chain created IFB echoes and other headaches. In addition, we were running out of audio inputs.
Raycom created an Audio Expert Group in 2006 to identify a console solution for all Raycom stations. It was about this same time that Logitek introduced their Artisan console. It was built around the Logitek Audio Engine, a proven router that had been used for more than 10 years. The Artisan is a control surface for that router.
The Audio Engine can route and mix analog and digital audio sources, has on-board frame delay and audio processing. Ethernet control is also provided, and—very important to us—up to 24 mix minuses. The Artisan surface was designed for TV applications, with four master mix busses, eight submasters and multiple monitor controls. As audio sources are assignable, the number of faders does not have to equal the maximum number of audio sources. Mix minus busses can be set up to follow their respective audio sources, no matter where they appear on the board.
The group selected the Logitek system, with the initial installation here at WAFF. As this was our first audio router-based installation, we had to change our thinking on how audio consoles worked. It wasn't really a challenge, as we're used to video routing, but we never had an audio console based on this technology. Before the Artisan, we had more that 800 cables coming into the audio booth. Now we have four.
IFB PROBLEMS DISAPPEAR
The biggest benefit is the way we were able to integrate the Artisan into our IFB system and our mix-minus feeds. The bottlenecks are gone along with the multiple boxes, modules and homemade pieces of equipment we'd used before.
We also purchased Logitek's vScreen user-configurable GUI. It allows us to display meters and other system information on a monitor. Other components of Logitek's "v" system provide a lot of control. If the Artisan surface goes down (which seems unlikely), we can run things with the computer, or things can be run remotely if necessary.
Our users really like this system. We have a lot of newscasts with part-time people involved. They can be trained on the new Logitek system in an hour. The way the Artisan is laid out, it's obvious that it was designed for TV.
As of this writing, five other Raycom stations have purchased the Artisan console and are looking forward to the efficient installation and ease of use that we experienced. It's a nice board for our size market and type of operation.
For additional information, contact Logitek Electronic Systems Inc. at 800-231-5870 or visit www.logitekaudio.com.