Guests are seated on tall stools (or stand) around the table extension behind the console. Two people can be accommodated on each side. A 6" high center riser section in the middle of the counter supports six Mika microphone arms. The Mika arms are very streamlined and reduce the visual clutter.
Located in the center of the microphone nest is an omni-directional Mirage Nanosat speaker for the phone caller audio. The unique Nanosat has a 2 ¾" woofer pointed up, which is dispersed by a cone containing the tweeter. The near uniform dispersion allows everyone to hear the caller equally well. The mounting location is ideal — at the minimal sensitivity point of the Shure SM-7B microphone pattern.
A separate Benchmark Audio amplifier with volume control and ¼" and ⅛" jacks mounted on a stainless steel plate in front of each person provides headphone monitoring. The panel can be unscrewed from the riser and the entire assembly unplugged for maintenance when needed.
The audio for the headphones is chosen by either a source selected on the console or 7" LCD touch screen placed between each set of headphone positions. A small computer in the pedestal running Logitek's Vscreen software drives the panel. Vscreen allows complete flexibility in designing an interface used for selecting the monitor source, turning on/off the microphones (with virtual buttons), timer and VU metering. This can be easily changed in the future to meet any need without having to rewire anything, just add the software code.
Under the right side countertop is a rack opening that holds the control surface power supply and a rack panel with jacks to bring external sources in and out. This is where the TV crews would plug in to get a program feed. Just about all levels and formats are provided, so external adapters are not needed, including AES-3, balanced line, mic and -10 consumer-level on RCA jacks. The sources are selected on the control surface and can provide just one microphone or the entire program.
Removing the blank rack panel above reveals another small rack with the CAT-5 patch panels, surge suppressors and network switches. Twenty-four separate CAT runs are made to a matching panel in the technical area. At each end, the runs are first looped through APC rack-mounted surge suppressor modules before going to their destinations.
Running KVM data through CAT-5 is a lifesaver, but on long runs the video can become blurry from the individual red, blue and green colors arriving at different times. This skew is because each pair of rated CAT-5 cables has different twists per inch that are used to control timing and reduce data collisions. Some high-end KVM extenders can compensate for this, and in many cases the length may not be a significant problem. But if it is, KVM-type cable is available with all the pairs having the same twists per inch. Be careful, this cable cannot ever be used for networking. To get the best of both worlds, Belden has introduced Video Twist 7988 cable with minimal skew, used for either application.
The lower cabinets on the right have two roll-up doors. One is storage for the DJ mixer and turntables, the other provides access to several computers located in the studio. The entire cabinet is cooled and a positive pressure is maintained by taking a 4" tap from the main air conditioning.
The upper cabinets contain four 8RU openings for the commonly used CD recorder, players, EAS, light controller and other equipment. In the center space is a 1RU power strip to provide convenient access to ac for DJ mixers, chargers and other equipment temporarily brought in.p>At the very back are remote control buttons for the Broadcast Tools Program Switcher. This is an independent controller that will allow the operator to bypass the control room entirely and place another source on the air directly. To be used in an emergency or maintenance, selections include control room, on-air playback computer, production room or router. The buttons are large, require a deliberate press and have a circular guard to prevent accidental triggering.
Shadows from the riser and the cabinets were substantially reduced by placing white LED rope lighting in a groove under the lip of the countertops. This also illuminated the keyboard shelf very nicely. The idea was also to provide accent lighting that would reflect from the patterned stainless steel.
The original thought was to use RGB rope light where each of the primary colors could be varied to produce a wide range of colors. A 10' piece was purchased to experiment with. The rope was actually a rectangular flexible strip that could be mounted underneath the counter lip, but it could not accommodate the sharp bends. It did not go to waste, as it was positioned in the upper horizontal truss segment pointed at the ceiling, creating a light show for the entire room.
The wing to the left is general-purpose counter space with plenty of room to place briefcases or spread out papers. When cleaning up, trash can go directly down a chute in the center to a removable trashcan inside the support column.
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