NAB Insider - April 27, 2004


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News from the Convention

Convention Attendance Hits97,544


Following a few years of declining attendance, NAB2004 has hit a high point. Previous attendance figures for the NAB convention are:
1997: 100,245
1998: 104,805
1999: 106,372
2000: 115,293
2001: 113,363
2002: 93,356
2003: 88,020
2004: 97,544

About 1,400 companies exhibited at the convention.


Crystal Radio Award WinnersAnnounced


Announced during the Radio Luncheon, the National Association of Broadcasters has named the 10 recipient of the NAB Crystal Radio Awards competition. The 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners were selected from a pool of 40 finalists. The winners are:

  • KDFC San Francisco, CA

  • KFOG San Francisco, CA

  • KFOR Lincoln, NE

  • KSTP-FM Minneapolis, MN

  • KSTZ Des Moines, IA

  • KTCZ Minneapolis, MN

  • WDEL Wilmington, DE

  • WDRV Chicago, IL

  • WLUP Chicago, IL

  • WSYR Syracuse, NY

    Established in 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Award recognizes radio stations' efforts to improve the quality of life in their surrounding communities.


Eye on IBOC

Multichannel IBOC MakesImpressions


There were three examples of multichannel IBOC systems displayed during the convention.Two were on the convention floor and one was shown in a suite in the Hilton hotel.

The off-floor demonstration was provided by Telos Systems and Omnia Audio, which demonstrated the latest technology from the Fraunhofer Institute (FhG), the developers of MP3 and other MPEG audio codecs. The 5.1 channel surround demo is able to place the encoded audio data with the 96kb/s spectrum of an FM IBOC signal.

The system works with the existing HD Radio codec and transmission equipment and is fully compatible with stereo broadcasts. It uses about 80kb/s for the stereo information and the remaining 16kb/s for the surround data. Radios incapable of decoding the surround data simply ignore it.

In an in-vehicle demonstration, Harris demonstrated a 5.1 surround sound system that featured Harris' Neustar audio processing in a Hummer vehicle equipped with a Kenwood HD Radio receiver.

Both demos displayed the 5.1 channel capabilities, but did so in different ways. The Telos/Omnia demo compared a source original 5.1 recording to the Fraunhofer-encoded signal, while the Harris demo used stereo music with 5.1 channel promos and liners. The Frauhofer version allowed listeners to compare the coding, while the Harris demo showed the flash of the technology.

In addition, Harris demonstrated the first phase of the Tomorrow Radio Project, a joint research and technology development effort with National Public Radio (NPR) and Kenwood USA. The project was created to explore the possibilities available to public broadcasters with digital radio. Using the increased bandwidth provided by HD Radio, NPR, Harris and Kenwood are able to broadcast a main channel and supplemental audio channel (SAC) on the same FM frequency.

The Tomorrow Radio system was profiled in the March 2004 issue of Radio magazine. You can read that article by following this link

The Radio magazine Pick Hits panel acknowledged the multi-channel audio IBOC technologies during the Pick Hits selection process. The group bestowed one or three Technology Honors to the work being done in this area.


New Products from the Floor

Neutrik Acoustilyzer AL1


The extended functionality of the Acoustilyzer AL1 includes acoustical measurements such as sound level metering with LEQ, SEL and short time LEQ; real-time frequency analysis in 1/1, 1/3 octave bands; FFT analysis down to 1Hz resolution; reverberation time measurements RT60 and delay measurements.


Yes Networks Interactive MusicSystem


This company has developed a system that allows a mobile phone user to rate, share and buy any song that has played in the last 24 hours and to participate in live polls and promotions. By dialing #YES (937) on their mobile phones, callers will have access to the play lists of 2,500 radio stations to respond to any song that played in the last 24 hours. By stating the name of the station and the time the song played, the caller will hear a sample of the song as well as information about the artist, track and album. Participants can rate the song, download the ring tone, buy the CD and tell friends about the song they have discovered.


MGE UPS Systems EPS8000


The EPS8000 uninterruptible power system (UPS) provides true online backup at power ratings up to 800kVA with engine generator compatibility to ensure smooth operation for transmitters, while providing protection from crowbar events. High efficiency operation reduces operating costs, while an informative graphic interface eases operation.


Audemat-Aztec Navigator 007


This portable FM field strength meter offers a built-in modulation, pilot, RBDS monitor. It is delivered with an external GPS receiver for mobile RF survey on a single FM station. While driving, RF readings and GPS coordinates are recorded on a laptop.


Digigram HR series


The HR (high resolution) series of PCX sound cards features 24-bit/192kHz converters, more advanced functions, more processing power and greater flexibility for custom developments. The PCX882HR and PCX881HR multichannel sound cards offer hardware sample rate converters on all inputs for simultaneous recording of digital signals with different sampling frequencies, a 66MHz/64-bit PCI interface and a more powerful on-board DSP. Eight inputs and eight outputs are provided - digital I/Os in the PCX881HR and analog and digital I/Os in the PCX882HR. Maximum levels of the analog inputs and outputs are +24dBu. Digigram plans to continue to grow and develop the HR series.


More New Products

Nautel V10


The Virtuoso, V10, is a 10kW FM HD Radio transmitter using a linear, adjustable bias, broadband design. It is capable of up to 3.2kW digital, 7.7kW hybrid or 11kW analog operation. Because it is frequency agile, it can be used for N+1 configurations in conjunction with the Maestro digital exciter. RF power modules and associated switch mode power supply modules are hot-plug for ease of service. Maximum redundancy features include provision for duplication of exciters, IPA and IPA - power supply and low voltage power supply. The unit features a graphic user interface, diagnostic flow diagram and event log. Compact and lightweight construction allows installation at sites with space and floor loading constraints.


Harris RMX Digital


The newest addition to the family of VistaMax-enabled, networkable consoles is the RMX Digital on-air digital radio console. The RMX Digital was developed for radio broadcasters who asked for a digital version of the PR&E Radiomixer Analog Console-but with the features of the BMX Digital and Legacy consoles. RMXdigital offers a secure upgrade path with analog and digital inputs and outputs, allowing broadcasters to start with analog and easily upgrade to digital when they are ready. The system features the same switches and LED illuminators as those used in the BMX Digital, and the same construction with support for multiple mix-minus feeds.


Middle Atlantic Products FanControl Top


These products are comprised of integrated fans and grills as well as the company's FC-4 proportional thermostatic fan control, varying the speed of the fans, and based on the enclosures interior temperature. The four products in the series all come with fans, fan grills and fan control preinstalled. The MW-4QFT-FC fits the MRK and WRK racks and has four, 4-1/2" fans. The MW-10FT-FC fits MRK and WRK racks and has one 10" fan. The ERK-4QFT-FC fits ERK racks and has three 4-1/2" fans while the ERK-10FT-FC fits ERK racks and has one 10" fan.


Msoft Msoftplayer 2.0


This system works with a standard internet browser and will provide Macintosh or Windows-based DAW users with a file player for sending single or multiple audio file copies from the Msoft server to their workstations. Currently for Macintosh OS 9, OS X 10.2 and above, the company also offers a new Windows version as well, giving Macintosh and PC users a uniform cross platform experience. A scrub-able waveform display that allows users to select just the portion of the audio file to be sent to the DAW. Users can also use this product to batch transfer copies of audio files they have saved to a project list. The download path can be set to any place the user wishes to save their audio.


Mackie Big Knob Command System


This product is a source selection and communications box for DAW-based studios. Big Knob's name is inspired by its most prominent feature - a large, convenient volume knob that provides easy access for precise level adjustments. Also handy are three buttons for quick switching between three sets of studio monitors, a built-in talkback microphone, input source select for as many as four different stereo sources, dual headphone outputs with an independent headphone mix bus, as well as mono, mute and dim switches. A host of rear-panel connections include a dedicated DAW mix input as well as three independent two-track stereo inputs, each with variable gain control as well as +4dB and -10dB selection buttons. Three 2-track stereo outputs also provide +4dB and -10dB selection buttons. Other connections include a DAW phones mix input, a phono preamp input, outputs for up to three sets of control-room monitors as well as one set of in-studio monitors and a talkback foot switch input.


Convention Events

Keynotes Focus on TV


There were several keynote speeches provided at NAB2004, most of which covered television and the transition to DTV nicely. Absent from many was any mention of radio.

One exception was the Broadcast Engineering Conference Keynote speech by Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. His speech covered many points. One mention related to the adoption of a standard for AM stereo, which he used to illustrate his point of an incorrect introduction of technology. Better points were made relating to RBDS and IBOC.

The CEA is pushing Radio Broadcast Data Systems. Shapiro noted that RBDS is an opportunity waiting in 20 million car radios. Shapiro graded the RBDS effort in the U.S. as a B+ because the idea was right, it is happening, but it has taken much longer here than in Europe.

In 1993 Shapiro suggested that digital radio is the inevitable future, but that the then-proposed IBOC system was flawed and had to be redone. With current success of satellite radio and the ongoing work with IBOC, Shapiro gave the IBOC efforts an A.


More from Radio magazine

The Pick Hit Winners ofNAB2004


Radio

magazine announced the 15 winners of the annual Pick Hit Awards. Now in its 20th year, the Pick Hit Awards recognize new product introductions at the NAB convention that offer significant technological improvements and serve everyday applications.

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 2004 issue.

The Radio magazine NAB2004 Pick Hit Award winners are:

  • Aphex 148

  • Belar HD Radio Monitor

  • Broadcast Electronics Big Pipe

  • Broadcast Electronics XPi10

  • Broadcast Tools WRC-4

  • Comrex STAC

  • Dovetail Science DBM-300

  • Enco Guardien

  • Henry Engineering Studio Drive

  • Microgen TS 9000

  • Middle Atlantic WR Series rolling/rotating racks

  • Narda Selective Radiation Meter

  • Rohde & Schwarz FSH3

  • TFT 460

  • Tieline Imix G3

    Complete details will be in the June 2004 issue of Radio magazine.




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