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Field Report: APT WorldCast Systems Horizon NextGen
Setup and management
The codec comes with WorldCast's Network Management System (NMS) software, which is the Windows-platform proprietary GUI system present in many of WorldCast's products. The NextGen has the added convenience of an embedded Web GUI, giving the user two ways to access the unit. Either works well, with the NMS additionally displaying a one-screen family tree of all connected codecs and computers. Multiple configurations of streams, destinations and algorithms can be saved and recalled from a profile list. The Web GUI and the NMS software configure network addresses, audio codecs, stream destinations as well as the SureStream redundant stream setup.
The redundant Ethernet interfaces afford ultimate accessibility for troubleshooting or network maintenance. If a problem occurs on a redundant link, the user can access the unit via the one working link.
Alarms and remote control
The NextGen includes alarm indicators and contact closures for audio silence detection, IP transmit and receive errors, and physical Ethernet disconnections. The audio silence detection alarm offers a user configurable level threshold from -3dBFS to -42dBFS and a timeout period of a few seconds to 2.5 hours. If a gap occurs in the audio stream due to dropped packets, a sync failure alarm displays. The alarms are available as relay contact outputs on the rear panel of the unit and viewable through the built-in Web GUI and NMS software.
The unit provides a basic wired GPIO remote control system. The Web GUI controls four relays at the far end unit. The user may configure four opto-coupler inputs to monitor status of external equipment. An AUX data RS-232 port is available to send and receive serial data, such as RBDS/RDS or HD text.
The front panel contains a headphone monitor jack with input/output selector switch, left and right bar graph LED audio level indicators, and Alarm, Connected and Power LED indicators. The rear panel hosts the RJ-45 Ethernet jacks, XLR AES3 digital audio input and output and AES3 reference clock input, XLR analog balanced left and right audio in and out, DB15 alarm relay outputs, and DB15 for status opto-coupler inputs. The DB9 AUX Data port may be used for transmitting RBDS/RDS, HD Radio PAD or other serial traffic.
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The unit supports the Scripteasy control software, and can actually control and monitor other equipment using the SNMP protocol. Firmware may be updated via Ethernet and Internet.
Holtz is vice president of technology for All Classical Public Media, Portland, OR.
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