Field Report: BW Broadcast DSPX-AM
The KSRM radio group delivers programming on five radio stations serving the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska since 1967. Located 140 road miles south of Anchorage, KSRM sits between Kenai and Soldotna Alaska and covers an audience of around 40,000 people. The flagship station, KSRM 920AM, has broadcast a news/talk format for more than 40 years. It is particularly popular during the morning drive when it pulls in its largest listening figures.
A great sounding radio station will keep listeners coming back. If audio is fatiguing people won't like what they hear. This often is due to the loudness war. You try to be as loud as the competitor, but quality suffers when you push the processor past its limits in the quest for loudness. You could have superior content, but if the audio quality is poor, people will turn off.
In Alaska, we have the disadvantage of being a sparsely populated state. So, KSRM did not want to spend $7,000 on an AM audio processor. As I searched for a lower-cost solution, Doug Tharp with SCMS recommended I try the BW Broadcast DSPX-AM. The price was right, but I wasn't sure about the quality. SCMS provided a 30-day try-before-buy unit. I decided to try it.
I found the DSPX-AM easy to set up. It was clear that BW Broadcast had spent lots of time building the factory presets. In fact, I ended up choosing a rock preset to get the desired high-energy sound. With the built-in sine and square wave generator, setup was fast. I tweaked the sound a little and was impressed with the difference. I then decided to go to the car and listen. With the remote control software I could make changes from the parking lot. It didn't take long for staff to take notice. The GM was pleased with the sound. The DSPX-AM produces a clean, crisp and punchy sound that stands out.
The unit has analog and digital inputs and outputs. All the audio connections are via XLR connectors. The digital inputs accept 32-96kHz inputs. The digital output is selectable for 32, 44.1 or 48kHz. The XLR digital sync input provides for an external clock source.
The unit can be remotely controlled via the front-panel USB connection or the rear-panel connections, which include a DB-9 for RS-232, a DB-9 for external triggers, and the RJ-45 for a LAN or network connection.
|Performance at a glance|
|■ Adjustable clipping asymmetry
■ Four-band window-gated AGC and four-band limiting
■ High-pass filter, adjustable low-pass filter
■ Simultaneous AM, HD Radio and Web stream processing
■ RS-232 and TCP/IP Net Interfaces for Remote Control
The front-panel display has an array of LEDs to show stereo input level, gate level, the four-band AGC, the four-band limiter and the stereo output.
There are four main menus to adjust the processor. They are input, process, output and schedule. In addition, there is a system menu to access the unit's non-processing functions and security.
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