Q. What products or services does your company offer?
Wheatstone makes audio consoles and complete routing systems, including the WheatNet-IP audio-over-IP (AoIP) network system. We also make spectral audio processors for broadcast and streaming, including the AirAura, the only high-resolution 31-band processor for FM.
Q. What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2013 NAB Show?
I think Ethernet IP distribution and storage of multi-use content will continue to dominate show discussions. Wheatstone has been involved in this technology for a number of years. 2013 will be a breakthrough year for IP audio, because we are introducing the first Gigabit audio-over-IP networked console for television. IP offers huge benefits for moving audio around in terms of speed, access, control and infrastructure costs. You really can’t beat it for resource accessibility and affordability — you can put up any source from anywhere in the facility, plus, in the case of our new console system, bring along with it all the associated logic needed for functions like turning mics on and off or setting faders. What used to take a mountain of wire now comes down to one Ethernet cable.
Q. What’s new that you will feature at NAB Show?
We are introducing a new large-format Dimension Two console that is IP networked, a first for the television market. There’s no other TV audio console we know of that takes advantage of fast Gigabit Ethernet to route audio.
There’s certainly not another television console that has an AoIP logic routing layer like ours for controlling devices and sources and executing functions to and from anywhere in the network. Unlike traditional centralized card cage networks, the Wheatstone network used by our Dimension Two console is distributed — all network intelligence is distributed to its point-of-use, which offers cost efficiencies and exceptional failsafe and redundancy benefits. Our system is based on logic routing so all audio, logic for that audio, and network communication — not to mention system-wide metering communication — is all done through Ethernet. Oh yes, we’ve also included loudness monitoring in the new Dimension Two, so broadcasters can monitor levels from anywhere in the network — something they’ve told us is very important to them.
Q. How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?
As I’ve mentioned, our Dimension Two console is the first and only IP-networked console for TV broadcast that we know of and it’s certainly the only such console to have logic IP routing.
Just as significant, the Dimension Two combines our powerful 1200-channel Gibraltar mix engine with distributed IP networking, so we’re talking a lot of power and access in one console. We already have a well-established console line based on the Gibraltar DSP and have been providing AoIP systems to radio broadcasters for almost 10 years, but this is the first time we’ve combined the two into one product line. The Dimension Two is actually a pet project of mine — I’ve worked long and hard on it personally, because I believe in its potential to really change how television broadcasters produce, manage and route audio.
Q. What is it about the NAB Show that brings you back every year?
I can hardly believe it, but this is Wheatstone’s 30th NAB Show! We, and I, go every year because it’s a chance to see all our friends.
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