Wheatstone Covers Range of Audio Tech at NAB

NEW BERN, N.C.: At this year's NAB, Wheatstone will feature a number of new products, enhancements to existing products, all in a freshly redesigned exhibit space.

Wheatstone's 1,600 square-foot booth will be set up as a demo room where industry professionals can see, hear, and touch virtually all of Wheatstone's broadcast audio products. The exhibit was designed and built at the company's 52,000 square-foot manufacturing facility and headquarters in New Bern, NC, where all Wheatstone products are built.

"There won't be any static displays in our booth," said Jay Tyler, director of sales. "Everything will be 'live' and demonstrating our innovative digital audio workflow and networking solutions. Our booth design this year will have a 'facelift,' making it far more attractive and functional than previous years. And we've saved some brand new product announcements for the first day of the show."


For Wheatstone, the annual NAB Show is an important showcase for new products and networking with customers, according to Tyler.

"NAB is the event that sets the pace for our company going forward, especially with respect to new products we develop," Tyler said. "It's an opportunity to speak with our customers firsthand and hear what new features and capabilities they need. After the show, our team has in-depth meetings to discuss the input we've received, and make plans to incorporate emerging industry trends into our future products."

This was the case with two products in particular: the HD/SDI and MADI cards for the Wheatstone BRIDGE audio router. "We sold more HD/SDI router cards than any other router card in 2011," Tyler said. "We introduced the HD/SDI router card at NAB 2011 after hearing at previous NAB Shows how much customers wanted and needed this capability." The HD/SDI card has two inputs that can each de-embed audio from two groups, with each group consisting of four mono channels, for a total of 16 channels per card. So it processes eight channels per input and 16 channels per card.

When customers began asking about MADI (Multichannel Audio Digital Interface) capability, Wheatstone incorporated this mature technology in a new way that supports behind the scenes digital audio tasks, such as IFBs by production personnel. In this way, signal processing doesn't tax the live audio mix.


Customer feedback also drove the direction of digital audio console design. At NAB, visitors will see the Wheatstone D-8 digital audio console with a new A/B paging capability that doubles fader capacity without expanding the unit's footprint. For example, with A/B paging, a 24 input console can immediately handle mixing of 48 channels, a capability that is invaluable to space-challenged control rooms and trucks.

The Wheatstone BRIDGE audio router, another example of the company's response to customer needs, makes live audio mixing more flexible, scalable, and easier to manage. With the Wheatstone BRIDGE, console and router become one, eliminating the need for manual patching and routing.

All of the signal routing, processing, and mixing take place in a centralized networked digital audio router which can be reconfigured at the click of a mouse. Only the console surface resides in the control room. Any audio source can be delivered to any fader, including analog, AES digital, and 5.1 surround sound. Any Wheatstone mixing console can operate within this same network, including the Wheatstone Dimension One; the D-32, which supports up to 128 inputs on paged or non-paged faders; and the D-5.2 top of the line master audio mixing console for the most demanding fast-paced live news and sports.

Wheatstone's Dimension One next-generation console allows audio mixing and processing to be off-loaded onto the Network First architecture of the digital audio router, resulting in a price and footprint that appeals to mid-market television stations. Seattle affiliate KOMO-DT was the first customer to order and install both the Dimension One and a new Wheatstone Bridge 96x96 audio router, and now uses them for digital audio mixing of seven hours of live news daily.

Product specialists from Wheatstone's four divisions—TV, Radio, Digital Signal Processing and Audioarts Engineering—will be on hand to conduct product demonstrations. The delegation includes Gary Snow, founder, president, and lead designer as well as the sales team, including Michael Shane, (Jay Tyler, Phil Owens, Brad Harrison, and Darrin Paley) as well as engineers. The engineering team includes Kelly Parker, Paul Picard, Mike Erickson, Jeff Keith, and Steve Dove and Matt Wilson, who designed the booth exhibit.

"I've been with Wheatstone for 16 years and I'm the new guy," Tyler said. "Of our 80-person staff, about 20-percent have been with Wheatstone longer than 15 years. NAB is an opportunity for us to recognize emerging industry trends, introduce our products to prospective buyers, and build strong relationships with our customers and distributors worldwide."

Wheatstone will be in Booth C2615 in the Central Hall.

Claudia Kienzle