Field Report: Harris PR&E NetWave
It makes far more sense to localize the networking options for a facility of our size. This is why we are leaning toward a distributed networking architecture based on Harris's new PR&E range of distributed audio networking devices. We are particularly interested in the VMExpress and VMConnect products, which deliver a 32x32 localized network routing solution for under $7K.
The system is easily expandable should we need to add another router and double the I/O capability to 64x64. All connections from console to router are made via simple CAT-5 connections, minimizing the wiring infrastructure within the studios. This feels like the perfect fit for our two studios as our needs evolve.
Installation was simple. The NetWaves used the same familiar connectors as the previous consoles we were replacing, making it a matter of simply relabeling each input. The sensible layout and intuitive nature made setting levels and programming the console easy. This was accomplished under the hood, further centralizing and simplifying the setup process. The hassle of crawling around under the console and tinkering with a GUI at a laptop for hours was eliminated.
User-friendliness extends from the operator to the engineer. The light, compact 2RU universal power supply made life easier during the integration process. Training the staff to use the new NetWave consoles also proved easy. The console retains the looks and feel of a traditional on-air console while offering the modern flexibility that digital studios require today. It is easy to add sources and adapt to changes from the board operation perspective. The on-air staff report positive feedback on its look, sound and operation.
With the NetWave operating in standalone fashion today, we have made great strides in out studio upgrades by adding two 24-fader consoles to our facility. The project was done well ahead of time and came in under budget. We look forward to adding the VistaMax networked audio solution to our system in the near future.
Klima is chief engineer for WCTO-FM and WLEV-FM, Bethlehem, PA.
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