Marshall Television, located at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, is one of many centers that can originate program content on NASA TV. The facility currently utilizes standard definition system but all acquisition and editing is carried out in the digital domain. The NASA HDTV team is currently evaluating HD equipment and the Marshall TV facility will soon be migrating towards the new standards.
As part of the facility upgrade, the Marshall TV engineering staff was tasked with replacing the existing audio mixing console with a broadcast console that would accommodate current needs as well as address future requirements. The new console needed to be easily integrated into the present facility, be upgradeable to address future standards, provide ease of operation for live broadcast productions, offer a true electronic signal pathway, and provide a modular design for future upgrades through module replacement.
Marshall chose Wheatstone’s SP-8 Series Audio Console to function as the main audio board for center broadcasts on NASA TV, as well as routing audio for internal live and taped productions. The Wheatstone SP-8, a 24x8 console, will be located in the audio control room.
The failure of the old console was due to the audio signals going through sealed, self-cleaning switches and faders. In the days when all of the channels of the console were constantly in use, this was acceptable, but as the entire console was not needed and the switches were not used as much, this became a major problem. Corrosion built up in the unused sealed switches leading to loss of signal and interrupting productions. This interference was especially disruptive during live productions. A decision was made to find a console that had a total electronic path so the signal would not be routed through switches.
The Wheatstone SP-8 audio console fast mix-minus system allows individual foldbacks to keep live programming moving smoothly. The console has ample monitoring capability and can feed a control feed system as well as multiple studio outputs. The entire audio program path is electronically switched to provide reliable operation.
Wheatstone worked with the specifications provided by Marshall TV’s engineering staff, and phase one of the project is nearly complete.