At KVBC-TV Channel 3, an NBC affiliate station serving the greater Las Vegas metro area, the decision was recently made to replace the analog console in its news production studio with a Studer OnAir 3000 digital broadcast desk. The new desk was selected as part of a full audio and video facilities update now that the station is transitioning from standard definition to an all-digital future of high-definition broadcasting that will begin before the end of the year.
"Since our HD build-out project will be expensive," explains KVBC-TV chief engineer Mark Guranik, "we needed to provide a cost-effective solution for the upgraded audio control room. The new Studer OnAir 3000 console precisely fulfills our requirements—it is cost-effective, simple to operate and offers enhanced flexibility."
Owned by Sunbelt Communications, KVBC-TV currently broadcasts a total of six hours of live news coverage per weekday, including a two-hour morning drive-time program, an hour at noon, followed by half-hour news segments at 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. The station also provides a 10 p.m. news program to the local CW affiliate. "Since these shows involve a variety of external sources and in-studio talent," Guranik explains, "the OnAir 3000's ability to store and recall console setups and I/O configurations will be extremely useful, and will allow our operator to instantly recall a specific layout."
The new OnAir 3000 features 24 on-surface faders and will accommodate 16 mic/line sources, eight line-level sources and 24 AES-format digital sources, routing to 16 analog and 24 digital output ports. "The console's Mix-Minus busses are essential for developing clean feeds to talent and outside contributors," adds KVBC-TV engineering supervisor Gary Bressler.
Current playback sources include a Thompson/GVG Profile Media Platform server for digitized video and audio files, and an Omneon Spectrum server is planned for the new HD operation. News clips are replayed from a BitCentral Oasis server system. "We will be able to access some 35 sources from the production switcher," Guranik continues, "plus eight that are routable to the console from remote news reporters, etc."
The OnAir 3000 design is based on a completely modular control surface and a state-of-the-art DSP engine. Each fader module includes six fader strips, and up to eight fader modules can be accommodated for a maximum of 48 on-surface faders. Three main stereo mix buses are featured, in addition to an audition bus, four stereo auxiliary buses, 16 mix-minus/aux sends and three independent studio monitoring circuits. Full-function dynamics, four-band parametric EQ and input/output routing are provided on each channel.
The digital broadcast desk also features Studer's proven "Touch 'n' Action" user interface, which places hardware control elements for important functions in the channel strip, thereby dramatically simplifying user operation. A color touch screen above every fader module displays all relevant settings and configurations for each related channel. In this way, all of the important functions are just one finger stroke away, with virtually instant access.
"We first investigated the Studer console at the 2005 NAB Convention in Las Vegas," Bressler recalls, "and again at last year's show. We also traveled to Los Angeles for one-on-one demonstrations. It was our number-one choice."
"Obviously, for our all-digital HD operation, we are looking for an all-digital audio signal path," Guranik stresses. "The cost-effective combination of Studer sound quality, service reputation, full assignability of inputs and outputs, and total recall of all system settings will be a definite advantage for our upgraded news operation. It's an exciting opportunity for our staff to offer the very best sound quality for our Las Vegas viewers."
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