New Studio Project, Part II

The finished product:

SAS Rubicon console, WAJZ Albany, NY
SAS Rubicon console, WAJZ Albany, NY

This is the finished product from an earlier post.  Currently, it it the studio for WAJZ in Albany, but that is not permanent.  The SAS studio goes together fairly quickly, as most of the trunking between the TOC and studio is done over the SAS data channel.

The studio monitors (Tanoy Reveal) are set on little posts under the computer screens. I like this set up as the DJ’s are less likely to rock the house if they decide to crank up the volume on their favorite tune.  I am also kind of digging the lack of a table top equipment pod.  That takes up a lot of counter top space and always seems to be in the way.  There are two CD players rack mounted below the counter (lower left), which are almost never used.

New Studio project

It is time, once again, to replace some very old Pacific Recorders BMXII consoles. The Pacific Recorders consoles were very expensive when new, but after 30 years of continuous use, have more than paid for themselves.  The replacement console of choice for this installation is a SAS Rubicon.  I have installed these units elsewhere and they are the modern equivalent of the PRE BMX.

The heart of the Rubicon system is the 32KD router.  Routed audio systems can save a lot of time and effort in a large studio facility installation.  Not having to run and terminate multiple analog and digital trunk cables between rack room and studio is a huge deal in a six or ten studio installation project.

The SAS 32KD router and Rubicon console system uses a serial TDM buss to communicate and transport audio around.  This is a simpler system than packet switched IP data.  Basically, the console surface is a very large, fancy computer control interface.  Here are some pictures of the start of the project:

New Studio room, furniture installed
New Studio room, furniture installed

This is the view from the entry door. The furniture was placed last week and the counter top cut in for the console. The furniture is made by Studio Technology.  The pile of yet to be installed equipment:

New studio equipment to be installed
New studio equipment to be installed

For monitors, we are using the Tanoy 602p near field monitor placed on the table top above the computer screens.  This studio will not have a turret.  Turrets used to be necessary to hold things like cart machines and CD players.  These days the CD players are used so infrequently that it was decided to put them in the side rack under the counter top.  Turrets also take up a lot of counter top space that can be put to better use.

New studio punch blocks
New studio punch blocks

Punch blocks and power connections.  The red outlets are isolated ground UPS type, the back outlets are feed by the emergency generator power panel.  All electric wiring is inside of metal conduit.  The punch blocks are the inputs to the SAS RIO link unit, one 16 pair analog audio cable and ten category 5e shielded cables.  The cat 5e is used for computer and TDM data buss to the router.

New Studio Rubicon console
New Studio Rubicon console

The SAS Rubicon console cut into the counter top and protected by plastic sheets.

Rack room
Rack room

Rack room with 32KD routers.  This facility has 9 studios total plus a news room with three work areas.

SAS 32KD router on line
SAS 32KD router on line

The SAS 32KD router.  All audio from the automation systems, satellite feeds and other sources is connected directly to these units.  This unit is on line for other studios that have already been converted to the SAS gear.

WEBE WICC studio build out

You know those fancy new facilities pictures with the accompanying article you can normally find in the trades?  The article usually expounds on how this guy made the decisions on purchase then these guys worked hard and pulled it all together.  Here is the works hard and pulling it all together story.

WEBE and WICC have been in the same studio building for several decades.  The Pacific Recorders and Engineering equipment, while great, is tired and worn out.  On top of that, an F1 tornado ripped the AC units off the roof last June, ripping the membrane and doing extensive water damage to the facility.

The cleanup/water damage mitigation took some time.  All of the carpet and ceiling tiles needed to be replaced.  The walls needed to be resurfaced with new drywall.  In some cases, modifications such as removing a storage closet from the engineering room, moving a door, building a new talk studio and WICC control room needed to take place.  In short, lots of dust, dirt and disruption to the station equipment and staff.  It has not been trouble free, as several times computers and consoles failed due to age and dirt.

Sometime about the beginning of December, new equipment and furniture began to show up and the project was underway.

Cumulus Bridgeport new equipment
Cumulus Bridgeport new equipment

All of the new equipment was stored in the program directors office.  Heh, the program directors office.

Cumulus Bridgeport new rack room
Cumulus Bridgeport new rack room

A new rack room was designed around the old one.  The old racks are out of the picture to the left.  The original rack room had a door into the hall, that has been replaced by viewing windows, the door has been moved to the engineering office, next door.  I kind of like the windows, it lets visitors see the fancy computers but keeps them out of the room itself.

Cumulus Bridgeport Op-X servers
Cumulus Bridgeport Op-X servers

The existing automation system is being replaced by Op-X.  This is the business end of the Op-X audio servers.  All of the network connections are Gigabit using Belden Mediatwist (1872A) Category 6 cable.

Cumulus Bridgeport wire wall
Cumulus Bridgeport wire wall

All the wiring from the studios and racks are brought to this wall.  The terminations are Krone LSA-PLUS blocks.  AES/EBU digital and analog audio is run on Category 5e cable.

Cumulus bridgeport wire wall Krone block
Cumulus bridgeport wire wall Krone block

Krone LSA-PLUS termination block with Belden Mediatwist cable.  All rack and studio wire runs are terminated on this style block.  Notice the wire labels, every run is labeled with both termination ends and use.  Mediatwist cable is fairly easy to work with, the pairs are bonded, so a special tool is recommended to quickly separate the wires.

Cumulus Bridgeport wire tray
Cumulus Bridgeport wire tray

Wire tray between the racks and wire wall.

WICC new Axia console installation
WICC new Axia console installation

The new WICC control room and talk studio.  The Axia consoles are pretty slick.  They are not a true mixing console in the traditional sense, they are more like a control surface.   Most all of the audio inputs are in the rack room, however, the microphones are digitized in the studio and sent over an IP network to the rack room.   All input and output channels are computer configurable and remote controllable.  Console inputs also have onboard mic preamps and full processing.

Cumulus Axia console set up
Cumulus Axia console set up

Axia console control software.

New WICC talk studio furniture
New WICC talk studio furniture

The new talk studio set up.  This is located where the news room used to be.  In order to stay on the air and maintain the old studios, a sort of musical chairs system needs to be played.  In the end, the WEBE studio and one production room will end up where they started, everyone else will be in a new space.  The news room will end up where the current WICC control room is.

Cumulus Bridgeport network switches
Cumulus Bridgeport network switches

Network audio switches.

Cumulus Bridgeport network patch panel
Cumulus Bridgeport network patch pane

Network patch panel, notice the T568B markings.

Currently, the program directors are loading all there material in the Op-X system.  The time schedule is to transfer WEBE into a temporary studio in about two weeks.

More updates as the project progresses.

Update: The new Axia equipment and Op-X automation is on line as of 2/24.   More pictures to follow.

Update 2: For more information on how the Axia consoles are made, check out A broadcast console makers perspective.

Update 3: More pictures:

WICC new studio with Axia console
WICC new studio with Axia console

WICC studio is nearly done, just a few odds and ends here or there.   This is located where the former talk studio was located.

WICC talk studio
WICC talk studio

WICC talk studio, host and four guest positions.  This is located where the former news room is.

Former WICC air studio, gutted
Former WICC air studio, gutted

This is the former WICC control room.  It has been gutted and several walls are being removed.  This will become the permanent WEBE control room when it is finished.

WEBE temporary control room
WEBE temporary control room

WEBE temporary control room.

WEBE old control room, gutted
WEBE old control room, gutted

The former WEBE control room, gutted.  All the carpeting has been removed and 1/4 inch drywall is going over the old, glue encrusted drywall.  This room will become a production room.

WEBE WICC rack room
WEBE WICC rack room

WEBE WICC rack room viewed from the hallway, approximately where the door to the room used to be.  The old racks to the left are being stripped out and removed.  All of the stations are now on the air from the new racks.