Guests are seated on tall stools (or stand)
around the table extension behind the console. Two people can be
accommodated on each side. A 6" high center riser section in the middle
of the counter supports six Mika microphone arms. The Mika arms are
very streamlined and reduce the visual clutter.
A touch screen with headphone source selector
serves positions on each side. Accent lights also illuminate the
countertop, filling in shadows from overhead lighting.
Located in the center of the microphone nest
is an omni-directional Mirage Nanosat speaker for the phone caller
audio. The unique Nanosat has a 2 ¾" woofer pointed up, which is
dispersed by a cone containing the tweeter. The near uniform dispersion
allows everyone to hear the caller equally well. The mounting location
is ideal — at the minimal sensitivity point of the Shure SM-7B
A separate Benchmark Audio amplifier with
volume control and ¼" and ⅛" jacks mounted on a stainless steel plate
in front of each person provides headphone monitoring. The panel can be
unscrewed from the riser and the entire assembly unplugged for
maintenance when needed.
The audio for the headphones is chosen by
either a source selected on the console or 7" LCD touch screen placed
between each set of headphone positions. A small computer in the
pedestal running Logitek's Vscreen software drives the panel. Vscreen
allows complete flexibility in designing an interface used for
selecting the monitor source, turning on/off the microphones (with
virtual buttons), timer and VU metering. This can be easily changed in
the future to meet any need without having to rewire anything, just add
the software code.
Under the right side countertop is a rack
opening that holds the control surface power supply and a rack panel
with jacks to bring external sources in and out. This is where the TV
crews would plug in to get a program feed. Just about all levels and
formats are provided, so external adapters are not needed, including
AES-3, balanced line, mic and -10 consumer-level on RCA jacks. The
sources are selected on the control surface and can provide just one
microphone or the entire program.
Removing the blank rack panel above reveals
another small rack with the CAT-5 patch panels, surge suppressors and
network switches. Twenty-four separate CAT runs are made to a matching
panel in the technical area. At each end, the runs are first looped
through APC rack-mounted surge suppressor modules before going to their
Running KVM data through CAT-5 is a lifesaver,
but on long runs the video can become blurry from the individual red,
blue and green colors arriving at different times. This skew is because
each pair of rated CAT-5 cables has different twists per inch that are
used to control timing and reduce data collisions. Some high-end KVM
extenders can compensate for this, and in many cases the length may not
be a significant problem. But if it is, KVM-type cable is available
with all the pairs having the same twists per inch. Be careful, this
cable cannot ever be used for networking. To get the best of both
worlds, Belden has introduced Video Twist 7988 cable with minimal skew,
used for either application.
The lower cabinets on the right have two
roll-up doors. One is storage for the DJ mixer and turntables, the
other provides access to several computers located in the studio. The
entire cabinet is cooled and a positive pressure is maintained by
taking a 4" tap from the main air conditioning.
The upper cabinets contain four 8RU openings
for the commonly used CD recorder, players, EAS, light controller and
other equipment. In the center space is a 1RU power strip to provide
convenient access to ac for DJ mixers, chargers and other equipment
temporarily brought in.
p>At the very back are remote control buttons
for the Broadcast Tools Program Switcher. This is an independent
controller that will allow the operator to bypass the control room
entirely and place another source on the air directly. To be used in an
emergency or maintenance, selections include control room, on-air
playback computer, production room or router. The buttons are large,
require a deliberate press and have a circular guard to prevent
The keyboards and a controller have a permanent home on a fixed shelf.
Shadows from the riser and the cabinets were
substantially reduced by placing white LED rope lighting in a groove
under the lip of the countertops. This also illuminated the keyboard
shelf very nicely. The idea was also to provide accent lighting that
would reflect from the patterned stainless steel.
The original thought was to use RGB rope light
where each of the primary colors could be varied to produce a wide
range of colors. A 10' piece was purchased to experiment with. The rope
was actually a rectangular flexible strip that could be mounted
underneath the counter lip, but it could not accommodate the sharp
bends. It did not go to waste, as it was positioned in the upper
horizontal truss segment pointed at the ceiling, creating a light show
for the entire room.
The wing to the left is general-purpose
counter space with plenty of room to place briefcases or spread out
papers. When cleaning up, trash can go directly down a chute in the
center to a removable trashcan inside the support column.