Field Report: Harris Broadcast PR&E Oasis

September 1, 2011


Harris Oasis

St. Gabriel Catholic Radio is a growing, vibrant voice for the Diocese of Columbus, OH. From its beginnings on a rural signal in a basement studio, SGCR moved to its current Columbus studios in early 2009 while securing a time brokerage agreement on a regional AM frequency licensed to Columbus. While our primary source of programming is the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network, St. Gabriel continues to increase its local programming with weekly shows geared to events and concerns of the local diocese and parishes. While a Mackie 1402VLZ console was wired to do backflips, including mix minus buses for telco and Comrex Access, air monitoring and talkback for remotes, the station was outgrowing the limited capabilities of a board not really suited for an on-air studio. Simple pleasures, like microphone muting and on-air light, extended input channel capabilities, cue bus, multiple program buses, headphone split-monitoring, and enhanced metering were just some of the features I felt were essential to our largely volunteer-based staff of operators and talent. The footprint needed to be efficient, as space is tight. Fewer knobs, more automatic and intuitive features, less chance for error and frustration for our live programming and prerecorded shows.

Price point/value is always in style but for a non-profit organization, it's a way of life. While I was considering another brand (largely because of lower price), I wondered if Harris had anything available in a 12-fader frame with the fundamental layout and features of their Legacy, BMXdigital and NetWave consoles. Based on seven years of experience with Clear Channel Columbus' seven stations' air studios all running on PR&E Legacy and NetWave frames, these consoles have been reliable and user-friendly, requiring minimal service. A February email exchange with Harris PR&E's Manager of Digital Studio Systems, Paul Barzizza, gave me hope! Paul mentioned the new Oasis audio console was shipping.

Available in an 8- or 12-channel chassis, this console was exactly what St. Gabriel needed. All the simple pleasure features mentioned above were met. A/B input switching on all channels covered the need for more sources. I love the metering bridge on this console, in that the on-air PGM 1 metering is dedicated to that purpose, but the second LED metering bank is auto-switching and selectable to the PGM 2 bus, either external monitor inputs, and cue. It is so easy to confirm and monitor levels before you commit-to-live with this comprehensive design. The off-line bus is logically tied to the telco fader for seamless pre/post switching and fader routing for up to two telco feeds. Our goal was automatic to essentials of this nature and Oasis delivers. The feel of a console is very important. While bells and whistles are nice, the layout and touch of faders, on/off/cue/bus/input switches really enhance the operator's ability to deliver a great mix and product. Our operators and production manager really like cooking on this console.

Performance at a glance
8- and 12-channel chassis
Built-in cue speaker
Automatic event timer
A and B inputs per fader
USB interface including playout and record
Low-profile tabletop mount

Installation

From an installation aspect, what a pleasure! With an easy tabletop design, a built-in cue speaker and headphone amp and jack are standard. With a few small oval holes cut in the cabinetry for wiring feedthrough, wiring is a cinch ... or should I say ... a combicon! It's a Phoenix connector, sized accordingly to the input/output/logic function. No crimpers, no solder, no DB connectors. Strip your wire and push into the connector. The combicons then plug into the back/rear side of the console (the meter bridge hinges up and easily removes).

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There are banks of input modules – grouped four to a card. Hot-swappable, you can specify an all-line-level analog input card (on both A and B inputs), or the standard four microphone preamp card on the A inputs and line-level on the B inputs. (I outboard process all mics, so I opted for the A/B line level card and simply assigned muting to the A side of those channels.) The second input card (faders 5 through 8) is all-line-level analog as standard. If you purchase the 12-frame console, a third card is used. The choice is up to you and complete channel logic is soft; remote start, muting, remote on/off and much more can be changed on-the-fly with supplied firmware. Download the app, use a standard USB cable to get your PC connected to the board (you can do this hot at any time) and you get four tabs worth of comprehensive logic and option control.

Harris
P
W
E
800-622-0022
www.broadcast.harris.com
broadcast@harris.com

Any channel, CR and studio monitors, telco parameters, sample rates, input gain and channel balance adjustments - all in software and so easy - no greenie needed. Simply put, this console installs easily, customs up fast, and is a pleasure to use. Audio performance is exceptional. Primarily designed as an analog-in, analog+digital-out console, the extensible DSP Farm can include dynamics and EQ on every channel. USB I/O with a studio PC is standard. You can specify digital input modules and networked I/O.

The Oasis 12 has been in service for four months and been rock-solid. In April, SGCR ran a live three-day Spirit Drive to raise operating funds. At the center of that event was the Oasis, seamlessly mixing four mics, four RCS Nexgen sources, telco and remote inputs. Football season is not far away and St. Gabriel's weekly Friday night live coverage will be enhanced with the feature-rich talkback and mix-minus capabilities. If you are thirsting for a great on-air/production console at a reasonable price, quench that need and relax with your own Oasis.

Savoldi is the engineer for St. Gabriel Catholic Radio, Columbus, OH.


Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.

These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.

It is the responsibility of
Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.



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