The Pick Hits of the 2008 NAB Show

June 1, 2008

Pick Hits

Vector impedance analyzer

Array Solutions Power Aim 120

Array Solutions

Power Aim 120: The Power Aim 120 features high-resolution plots of all selected parameters, including R, X, SWR, reflection coefficient, return loss, load impedance magnitude and load impedance phase angle. A VSWR sideband ratio tool will quickly calculate the sideband VSWR ratio. Fast and accurate measurements allow for quick tune-ups and documentation via real-time PC data plotting over large ranges of frequency and impedance. Variable scaling of the frequency range and the parameter magnitude limits for clear data collection and read-outs both during a test session and afterward in off-line analysis. Fast sweeps and easy multiple plot and data point measurement saving for self-documentation and export to Microsoft Excel for further plotting and analysis. Data curve averaging and smoothing capabilities are available to reduce test measurement noise. A scan overlay feature provides rapid detection of system changes and the effects of adjustments, and a recycle mode offers continuous scan updates during adjustments.

Judges' Comments

  • Performs all the function of a network analyzer at a fraction of the cost.
  • It covers the AM and FM bands, so it's even more useful.

Radio Systems IP-Connect/IPC 100

Licensed RF STL

Radio Systems

IP-Connect/IPC 100: IP-Connect offers broadcasters new options for Ethernet-based, bi-directional, multichannel audio and broadband data connectivity for mission-critical transmission applications. IP-Connect's IPC-100 data link is the first in a new series of programmable, scalable and spectrally efficient 11, 18 and 23GHz band radios. These units are fully configurable due to their single-chip ASIC modem featuring integrated FEC with selectable coding rates allowing transport data rates from 8 to 32 T1s, 2×DS3, 50 to 250Mb/s Ethernet, or up to 2×STM1 + 2×T1. Mixed data rates and formats can also be supported allowing the IPC-100 to act as a transparent data pipe for any network facility. Due to the IPC-100's frequency and bandwidth agility it offers licensed applications for program audio last-mile studio-to-transmitter links in the 18GHz band. Hardware configuration is implemented on the IDU/ODU design. Deployment of the IP-Connect IPC-100 is made via a single-run coax connection from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit/microwave antenna.

Judges' Comments

  • Licensing use for 18GHz makes this practical for long-time use.
  • Lots of IP and data capacity, and the modems are configurable.

Audemat Digiplexer246/Ecreso Next FM

All-in-one FM transmitter


Digiplexer246/Next FM: The Digiplexer246/Next FM is the first all-in-one FM transmitter that includes digital audio processors, a stereo encoder plus additional innovative features such as an RDS encoder, embedded audio backup, I/O remote control and TCP/IP connectivity. Ecreso's engineers have partnered with the Sound4 audio gurus to incorporate a high quality audio processor that is based on a powerful DSP hardware platform. The Digiplexer246/Next FM operates at a sampling frequency of 192kHz for the main audio processing and 1.5MHz for the final limiter.

Judges' Comments

  • The built-in 80GB hard drive will fill lots of needs.
  • With everything built-in, it's a Swiss Army knife of transmitter devices.

Wheatstone E<sup>2</sup>

Ethernet audio system


E2: The E2 System is designed to interface with Wheatstone's existing line of E-Series control surfaces including the new Evolution 4 control surface. The flexible E2 system is comprised of linkable units or squares that communicate with one another via a single CAT-5E/6 cable connected to standard layer 3 Ethernet switches. The E2 Digital Engine handles all of the mixes from the E-Series surfaces while housing the DSP power and managing the distribution of PGM, AUX, and mix-minus buses throughout the system. 12 Universal Logic ports are encased in the single rack unit which is equipped with front-panel access to real-time control features such as IP setting, up time, network traffic and logic status. Web/PC software user interfaces provide remote access and control.

Judges' Comments

  • It's another IP audio device, but it adds features and options that were not available before.
  • Splitting a stereo input into two mono inputs is a more efficient use of resources.

Omnia Audio Omnia.8X

Multi-stream networked audio processor

Omnia Audio

Omnia.8X: With algorithms modeled after the Omnia.3net, this processor provides eight discrete three-band stereo audio processors in a single, networked box. Its architecture works ahead of any bit-reduced audio coder to reduce artifacts and improve the sound audio destined for HD Radio, Internet and satellite broadcasting. Use it to process headphone feeds where off-air monitoring is not possible; as multiband level control for remote codecs or on-air telephone systems; to process and send multiple audio streams from a single studio complex to multiple transmitter sites; or on-demand for in-studio musical performances or commercial production applications. The processor uses the Livewire standard over Ethernet.

Judges' Comments

  • I can use this for multiple in-house headphone processing or online stream processing.
  • The configuration of variable-band processing makes this a flexible tool.

Bird Technologies Group Transmitter Power Monitor

IN-STU power measurement

Bird Technologies Group

Transmitter Power Monitor: Bird Electronics' Transmitter Power Monitor's DB-9 output provides a linear DC voltage output from 0 to 4V allowing for a wide variety of interface options. Its in-line calibration capability allows for greater accuracy in a single application (with an accurate power reference) and the integrated non-directional coupler allows for spectral analysis of the signal in minimal space requirements. The TPM features coupling ports and accurate power measurement combined in the same unit. The TPM can be calibrated in-line and on site. This characteristic helps minimize downtime and optimize on-air time. In addition, a simplified interface allows for a high level of customization and integration.

Judges' Comments

  • It costs less and has greater flexibility than previous monitoring sections.
  • The field calibration option is ideal for accurate readings.

BTX Max Blox

Panel mounts


Max Blox: BTX's solderless connectors, the patent pending Max Blox EZ Termination System, feature rugged design allowing installers to terminate an HD15 or a DB-9 with just a screwdriver, and mount it in a panel, plate or Max Blox hood in a fraction of the time it would take to solder. When used with the Max Blox hood, these connectors simply slide, snap and lock without the use of tools. Optimized for use in any A/V application where VGA or RS-232 controls are used, the connectors are manufactured with genuine Phoenix Contact terminal blocks. The system accommodates wire diameters, from 0.120" to 0.500".

Judges' Comments

  • A DB connector to Phoenix is nice, but being able to add a real hood and strain relief is perfect.
  • I could keep a handful of these around for quick installations.

Audio Science ASI8914

HD-Radio tuner card

Audio Science

ASI8914: The ASI8914 is a universal, full-length PCI card that contains four HD-Radio/AM/FM tuners and is designed for use in HD Radio broadcast monitoring and auditing. Each tuner may be set to an independent analog or HD Radio station. The audio from each tuner is presented to the computer host as a mono or stereo record stream accessed through a 32-bit PCI bus master interface. An F connector feeds RF signal from an external antenna to all tuners on the ASI8914. An HD50 connector makes available the mono or stereo line level audio of each tuner output. Recording formats include PCM, MPEG-1 layer2 and MP3. Each tuner can also decode and stream Program Associated Data and RDS/RDBS data for analog FM. HD Radio multicast is supported, allowing the audio and PAD stream to be switched between the Main Program Service and Secondary Program Services under software control.

Judges' Comments

  • The tuner card concept is good, but now it has HD Radio.
  • Lots of receivers in a tiny space; I need that.

Inovonics Model 525

AM reference receiver and modulation monitor


Model 525: The 525 is a frequency-agile, wideband AM-broadcast receiver that utilizes a highly linear phase-locked detector to provide accurate off-air measurements of AM carrier modulation. An important feature of this new monitor is the ability to resolve the amplitude-modulation component of the station's carrier during IBOC hybrid digital broadcast operation. Positive and negative carrier modulation is shown simultaneously on a high-resolution LCD display. This can be switched to provide a read-out of received signal strength and asynchronous noise as well, two parameters that can influence the modulation reading. Measurement response is flat to 10kHz, although a menu-controlled low-pass filter in the audio-monitor output provides a cutoff that can be programmed between 10kHz and 2kHz in 1kHz steps. This allows the user to preview the sonic compromises imposed by pre-transmission audio filtering and to simulate the response of consumer radios.

Judges' Comments

  • It's an analog monitor, but it works in the presence of IBOC signals.
  • The list of features is amazing.

Nautel NV40

FM transmitter


NV40: The NV40 offers the highest single-cabinet power output of any FM transmitter available with a maximum analog power output of 44kW. For the first time, an HD Radio ready solid-state FM transmitter has been introduced that challenges the cost efficiency of tube-type HD Radio transmitters. It offers three modes of operation: Digital, hybrid and analog. The NV40 has an integral digital exciter that supports adaptive pre-correction, and offers a plug-in upgrade to the HD Radio Exgine. Nautel designed the product to occupy a footprint as much as 60 percent less than comparable solid-state and tube transmitters, provides advanced instrumentation and management tools, and optionally offers Nautel's new HD Power Boost technology for more IBOC power. The NV40's maximum power outputs are 44kW in analog mode, 32kW in hybrid mode and 12kW in digital mode.

Judges' Comments

  • It's about half the footprint of just about anything else.
  • It's hitting an affordable price point as well.

Enco Systems RAMA

Stand-alone metadata appliance

Enco Systems

RAMA: RAMA meets metadata distribution needs in a small box. The completely solid-state disk-less hardware is noise-free and measures 7"×2"×4½". Configuration and control are done through an easy-to-use browser interface. With two network connections it bridges the gap between the outside world and an automation network. Padapult is at the heart of RAMA and allows users to create and distribute now playing information along with compelling messagecasting content by sending real-time text data to an RBDS encoder, HD Radio Importers, a website and other destinations - up to 10 total. RAMA is the first metadata delivery appliance for radio stations and networks, distributing network PAD/PSD data to affiliates on a real-time or store and forward basis. RAMA is also a remotely administered metadata tool allowing configuration of local stations' data feeds from any location.

Judges' Comments

  • It's a metadata DA; we need that to feed multiple destinations.
  • Now we can actually feed some of our other streams with data.

Burk Plus-X AC-8

Remote power controller

Burk Technology

Plus-X AC-8: The Plus-X AC-8 provides independent management of equipment connected to 120V outlets, allowing remote rebooting of servers, PCs and more. Broadcasters can also remotely manage HVAC, lighting and other appliances. The product connects directly to the Burk ARC Plus remote control via Ethernet, or to any remote control (including the GSC3000 and ARC-16) using general-purpose inputs. A built-in Web server allows stand-alone remote connectivity.

Judges' Comments

  • It can stand alone, via the Web or work with any remote control.
  • Plenty of outlets for anything I would need.

ATI Group DM500

Portable digital audio monitor

ATI Group

DM500: The DM500 is both a digital audio monitor and a D-to-A converter in a portable form factor. This unit features 96kHz digital inputs, a powerful headphone monitor amplifier, a weather-protected carrying case and alternate mounting configurations. It is designed by Day Sequerra in conjunction with ATI engineers. It comes with a battery clip and portable carry case with shoulder strap and weather protection. Other models are available for desktop or rack mounting, and the unit accepts external ac power supplies for 24/7 operation.

Judges' Comments

  • Lots of diagnostic power in a small package.
  • It has more capability than the previous test units I have seen.

Henry Engineering Six Mix

USB broadcast console

Henry Engineering

Six Mix: Six Mix is a 10-input, 6-channel broadcast console that's about the size of a laptop computer. The most important feature is its integral USB digital audio interface. Connect a USB cable to any PC or laptop, and it's ready to record, edit and play digital audio. This makes Six Mix ideal for use with radio automation, digital production, news editing, webcasting, or as a self-contained emergency studio. Other features include a cue bus with cue speaker, monitor system with mic-on muting, a mix-minus output, and guest headphone facilities with full talkback.

Judges' Comments

  • Good set of features for use at remotes or a news desk.
  • The broadcast-friendly features make it easy for radio operators to use and understand.

25-Seven Systems Program Delay Manager


25-Seven Systems

Program Delay Manager: 25-Seven Systems' Program Delay Manager (PDM) is available in both IP audio and standard digital/analog I/O configurations. PDM offers full protection against unwanted broadcast content while providing excellent audio performance and 25-Seven's unique PD Alert system. PD Alert enables the program director and/or other key personnel to receive e-mail notification that program material was blocked from airing, including an audio file containing the content deleted by Program Delay Manager. PD Alert eliminates second-guessing about what was and was not aired during the incident.

Judges' Comments

  • The e-mail notifications are a great feature.
  • Setup and configuration are easy and flexible.

Pick Hits Judges

Bud Aiello
Director of Engineering Technology
NPR - Washington, DC

Rodney Belizaire, CBRE
Chief Engineer
WQXR/NYT Radio, New York Times
New York, NY

Roswell Clark, CSRE CBNT MCSE
Cox Radio Tampa - Tampa, FL

Mike Cooney, CBRE
VP of Engineering, CTO
Beasley - Naples, FL

Scott Mason, CPBE
Director of Engineering
CBS Radio - Los Angeles, CA
Marshall Rice
Director of Engineering
Bonneville International - St. Louis, MO

Milford Smith
Greater Media - Boston, MA

Martin Stabbert, CPBE
Director of Corporate Engineering
Citadel Broadcasting - Reno, NV

Dave Supplee
Regional Engineer
Cumulus - Harrisburg, PA

Barry Thomas, CPBE CBNT
VP of Engineering
Lincoln Financial Media - Atlanta, GA

2008 NAB Show Pick Hits Rules

1. Products must be new and not shown at a previous NAB spring convention. In some cases, distinguishing a new product from a modified older one is difficult. For “Pick Hits” purposes, a new product is one with a new model number or designation. Software, firmware and operating system updates are eligible, but the new revision must carry an obvious designation (1.0 to 2.0 for example) and the feature set must provide clearly identifiable changes or updates.

2. Products must have some positive impact on the intended user's everyday work. Judges search for equipment intended for use on a regular basis. Products should provide new solutions to common problems.

3. Products must offer substantial improvement over previous technology. Unique circuit architecture need not be included, but some new approach or application must be involved in the product's design.

4. The price of the product must be within reach of its intended users. The judges seek products appropriate to a wide range of facilities.

5. The products must be available for purchase within the 2008 calendar year. Equipment must be on display on the show floor, currently (or imminently) in production, and some type of product literature must be available. Judges take the exhibitor's word on availability dates. Products demonstrated in private showings do not qualify.

6. The Pick Hits Judges operate independently from one another and remain anonymous to everyone including other judges until the selection meeting. This ensures that the products chosen are truly representative of the industry, that the judges were not persuaded in any way, and that the entire selection process is as fair as possible. The judge's identities are published in the June 2008 issue.

7. The editorial staff of Radio magazine serves only as a moderator during the final selection process and has no influence or decision in determining the winners.

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