I am a gearhead. If there's a technical journal or audio magazine out there, I read it. So I have a good idea of what's on the market. For years, I've been looking for the ultimate announcer box and have gone through more than a few versions of the hand-built boxes. So when Mark Haynes at Leo's Pro Audio in Oakland showed me the Model 220 from Studio Technologies and said, “you've got to look at this thing,” I did. And I had to have them.
To my knowledge, there is no other box that puts the features of the 220 into a package this clean. In fact, if I were to design something myself, it would look and work a lot like the Model 220.
This year, I used the 220s for two of the biggest sporting events of the year. For the 2004 NCAA college basketball championship coverage, pre-game hosts Mike Francesa and Chris Russo of WFAN-AM in New York got a chance to see how well the boxes performed.
Performance at a glance
Convenient mic and headphone control
Suited for remotes and sports broadcasts
Customizable button legends
Compact and portable
Prior to that, I worked at the Super Bowl at Houston's Reliant Stadium as part of an engineering team working for CBS Radio/Westwood One. The team included Al Rosenberg, an engineer from Detroit who served as game mixer, and Atlanta-based John Kramer, the field engineer. I mixed the pre-game, halftime and post-game segments and acted as an all-around troubleshooter. Together, we devised a game plan worthy of the big showdown. In the booth, announcers Marv Albert (play-by-play) and Boomer Esiason (color analyst) used Model 210s (with one main and one talkback output) with a third set up in a spare position. Two Model 220s with two talkback outputs were used for Jim Gray (host of the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows) and a monitor mix hub position with its mic/talkback line active.
I was able to talk down my program line, as well as to my producers and main mixer in one little box.
The 220 includes many features. The low-noise, low-distortion mic preamp provides 20dB to 60dB of gain. A compressor and limiter circuit provides a 5:1 nominal slope with attack and release times of 2ms and 100ms respectively.
The rear panels of the 210 and 220.
The 220's output transformer is designed to drive long broadcast cable runs, and the main output mic button can operate from among four modes: push-to-mute (or cough button), push-to-talk, or two alternate latching configurations that enable or disable the main output. The talkback 1 button acts as push-to-talk or latching switch (enable-disable). Talkback 2 can be disabled (when talkback 1 is used alone), or used in special momentary and alternate action latching functions that control the 220's auxiliary relay.
The 210 measures 5.6"W × 3.3"H × 8.5"L and weighs 3.4 pounds. The 220 measures 8.1"W × 3.3"H × 8.5"L and weighs 4.5 pounds. Both run on 24Vdc, which can be supplied through the power connector or through the IFB input jack. Both units have a mic input, IFB input, headphone output and main output. The 210 has a single mic input and a single talkback output. The 220 has a mic input, two line inputs and two talkback outputs. The two units are similar in function, except that the 220 adds additional inputs.
A comprehensive manual describes the operating characteristics and internal switch settings to operate the units.
In radio, there's no room for equipment miscues or misfires. Ease of use, durability and consistent performance are critical. That is why I am such a fan of Studio Technologies equipment. Plus, the products adapt to the way I work.
Velez is a broadcast engineer based in San Francisco.
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