Wheat:News August 2022

WHEAT:NEWS August 2022 Volume 13, Number 8


Four Key Reasons to Run on Servers

Nothing prepares you for a studio buildout like shopping for an automobile in 2022. Entirely different scene, same familiar issues. Too many choices? Check. Not enough inventory? Check. Disrupted supply chains. Labor shortages. Your future and everything else riding on it. Check. Check. And check. Let’s also not forget about cloud or virtualization, the electric car of studios that has immediate and future implications. 

Certainly, all the above make a good case for moving studios over to a cloud, even if that “cloud” is a server in your own facility. It just so happens that key broadcast functions now live in software and are easily ported from broadcast-specific hardware to commodity servers, as is the case with our Layers software suite. The mix engines for our WheatNet-IP audio console surfaces, for example, are built on Linux, which runs on the embedded chips in our mixing Blades just as readily as on a Dell or Hewlett Packard server. One server can run multiple Layers mixing instances for several consoles throughout your facility, plus serve Layers FM audio processing instances with full MPX out to the transmitter, as well as provisioning and metadata for multiple streams out to the CDN provider.

We can now do all that from a single server, but does that mean you should jump on the software-in-a-server bandwagon today? Not necessarily. We can think of four good reasons why you might consider adding a server with Layers mixing, processing and streaming to a WheatNet-IP networked studio in place of the equivalent in hardware. 

  1. 1. You’re running out of space. One server running Layers can serve mixing instances for all the LXE and GSX consoles throughout a facility, saving the cost and space for each mixing engine that would otherwise sit in racks. Not having a mix engine in every single studio or a rackfull of them drawing electricity or heating up the room reduces the cost of cooling and electrical and it might even free up some room for another work area, like a voiceover booth. 

  2. 2. You’re running out of time. Adding a new studio or consolidating stations can be done much faster in software than by adding hardware. Instances can be added to the server as needed for backend mixing, FM processing and stream provisioning. Plus, you can mix and control from a laptop, tablet or other glass or physical control surface another time and money saver.

  3. 3. You need redundancy or expandability now. If you wanted to build in more redundancy,  traditionally you’d budget for a spare mix engine for a few control rooms and/or a backup audio processor or streaming appliance. One server with Layers can now give you redundant mix engines for any control room that needs an emergency backup. That same server also can add an FM/HD audio processing chain as a backup to the main or add streams as you need them, such as for a special holiday program channel or ad promo. In fact, you can back up an entire WheatNet-IP studio facility with all the AoIP routing crossovers and configuration settings in one server, onsite or off.  In some cases, there’s a financing advantage for a software backup system compared to a fixed studio (ask our sales engineers for details).

  4. 4. You need to be cloud ready.  Maybe you’re thinking about a third-party cloud provider for the future or maybe onsite cloud is on management’s requirement list. This is an ideal starting point because you can host mixing, processing and streaming locally on your server or stack of servers now and, if or when the time comes, you can move all or part of Layers software offsite.

  5. Still not sure? You’ll be glad to know that adding a server with Layers software suite is an option you can add to your WheatNet-IP audio networked studio now or down the road.


Kidd Chris

Kidd Chris dials it in with an RE20 mic into the Wheatstone M1 mic processor for his morning sound-off on everything socially unacceptable. The KiddChris show streams and airs weekday mornings on Cincinnati rocker WEBN-FM. Wheatstone mic processors are known for their super quiet pre-amps, high base sample rate, precision de-esser and protection limiter, and loads of headroom. Read last month’s Open Mic Season at the Station, or for a deeper dive into little-known mic processing techniques, click to Oh, the Voices, Part 1 or Oh, the Voices, Part 2


Jay Tyler and Carolyn Kneller New WheatieNew Wheatie

The smiling face to Jay Tyler’s left is Carolyn Kneller, shown here during a recent visit to the Wheatstone factory. Carolyn, who joined our marketing team last month, grew up helping in the family broadcast business, doing everything from on-air promotion and voiceovers to general operations and websites for the Kneller stations in Florida. Already, she’s earned the unofficial title of Chief Get Stuff Done (GSD). 


There’s been a lot of discussion lately about hybrid work, hybrid cars, and now hybrid media as broadcasting and IP converge in studios and in standards like ATSC 3.0. What does it all mean? Is hybrid in the broadcast context a brookie (part brownie, part cookie)? Or, is it more like a Sharknado, the shark/tornado creature in the 2013 movie? We discuss this and so much more during a recent chat with Edward Caleca, a systems integrator with HA Design Group and a Wheatstone technology partner.

WS: How will the merging of broadcast and IP change the television industry?

Ed CalecaEC: It makes it possible to engage the public in a way that has always been somewhat marginal for television. The best example is the low-tier stations or stations that don’t have a stick or transmitter, which used to be considered second-class in many ways. Now with streaming and OTT, these same stations can do what any other station does. They can import at 4K or HD programming from local distributors, so all of a sudden they are no longer a low-tier player. I’m working with a small station in DC on upgrading their routers and their systems to IP and that will literally take them into the same competitive environment as any other broadcaster today.

WS: What about hybrid changes in the studios?

EC: Studio sets are changing; the complexion of radio and television is changing. As you know, I’ve been working with USAGM/VOA on transitioning a number of their radio suites and control rooms to be more like a television studio set (VOA is using Wheatstone consoles and AoIP for the project). We’re now putting PZT cameras and just about everything else you would have in a TV studio in these radio suites. We’re emulating the main VOA television studio sets, right down to the colors and lighting. VOA is doing this in part because they want to be able interchange talent and content between radio and television. 

WS: So they’re building in more crossover between radio and television? 

EC: Yes. For example, they have a multitude of different video feeds that come in from across the world and in the past, those traditionally went only to the TV side – and most of that was cut. Now there’s a lot of crossover so that some of that content can be used in radio. 

WS: Here’s where we should mention that VOA is transitioning from TDM routed studios to AoIP routing using our WheatNet-IP audio network, and both of those systems cross over. That’s nothing new but this idea of a hybrid television and radio crew, that’s something new.

EC. Right. The interesting part of this is how they’re able to interchange talent as a result. Their radio talent is already doing more with cameras and streaming and live discussions, and now that they have almost the exact same studio as what’s on the TV side, the next step is to produce video content for VOA TV. It’s a big transition but it makes so much sense. 

WS: Thanks, Ed, for taking time out. We’ll check back with you on that VOA project in the near future. 

Edward Caleca is a former SVP of Technology and Operations for PBS and is a consultant with HA Design Group, a Wheatstone partner with experience in transitioning broadcast clients for IP, ATSC 3.0, 4KHDTV, channel swapping and media supply chain efficiencies.



Q: In examining our IP audio network options, I’m discovering that one of the key criteria is the software that configures the system. You don’t hear much about this, but it’s key to the system, right?  

A: Absolutely, because much of the setting up and control is done through a navigator type program, which ironically, is what we call the one for WheatNet-IP. As part of the system, when activated, WheatNet-IP NAVIGATOR can continuously query the network so that you have the option of always having a monitor and control center for the current configuration and status. While NAVIGATOR can provide all the parameters related to a connection, including audio level and any salvos associated with it, the system can and does run perfectly when NAVIGATOR isn't running. So yes, it’s key to everything, but you don't need to leave the key in the lock, so to speak.


Huizhou Radio Television 1

From our factory in New Bern, North Carolina, to Huizhou, Guangdong…

Huizhou Radio & Television flipped the switch to a new studio in early 2022 with this GSX console surface powered by the WheatNet-IP audio network, courtesy of systems integrator Jasen Zhang of Beijing Y&B Technology (www.yandb.com.cn). With this AoIP system, Huizhou Radio’s first, “Much of the management and maintenance can be done easily at home, and as a result a lot of manpower can be saved,” said Zhang. Huizhou Radio has been able to reallocate resources and more easily integrate with its sister television station as a result.

“This is quite different than the PR&E mixers that we know but Wheatstone products have a certain understanding. With remote installation, it went very smoothly. It only took one session to get up and running with the GSX,” he added. 

Huizhou Radio Television 2

Huizhou Radio & Television is in the China province of Guangdong. In addition to systems integration, Y&B Technology makes automation systems that integrate with WheatNet-IP audio through our ACI protocol for a total IP integration of automation and consoles, talent stations,  and other elements in the AoIP network. 


Its all in WheatNet IBC 2

Introducing Wheatstone Layers, a new software suite that runs on commodity servers. One or two servers can host mixing instances for all your AoIP consoles, locally or remotely, replacing racks of hardware. Plus, Layers gives you backup mixing, audio processing and stream provisioning in an instant. All controlled from your laptop or tablet. See it and hear it at IBC, stand 8.C91.

Also at IBC stand 8.C91: everything you need for your broadcast studio. Processing, virtual consoles, routable codecs, signal metering, AES67/NMOS interoperability, and more. Ask about the WheatNet-IP audio network ecosystem – engineered, manufactured, and supported by Wheatstone. 

Stay up to date on the world of broadcast radio / television.
Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

The Wheatstone online store is now open! You can purchase demo units, spare cards, subassemblies, modules and other discontinued or out-of-production components for Wheatstone, Audioarts, PR&E and VoxPro products online, or call Wheatstone customer support at 252-638-7000 or contact the Wheatstone technical support team online as usual. 

The store is another convenience at wheatstone.com, where you can access product manuals, white papers and tutorials as well as technical and discussion forums such as our AoIP Scripters Forum

Compare All of Wheatstone's Remote Solutions

REMIXWe've got remote solutions for virtually every networkable console we've built in the last 20 years or so. For basic volume, on/off, bus assign, logic, it's as easy as running an app either locally with a good VPN, or back at the studio, using a remote-access app such as Teambuilder to run.

Remote Solutions Video Demonstrations

Jay Tyler recently completed a series of videos demonstrating the various solutions Wheatstone offers for remote broadcasting.

Click for a Comparison Chart of All Wheatstone Remote Software Solutions


Curious about how the modern studio has evolved in an IP world? Virtualization of the studio is WAY more than tossing a control surface on a touch screen. With today's tools, you can virtualize control over almost ANYTHING you want to do with your audio network. This free e-book illustrates what real-world engineers and radio studios are doing. Pretty amazing stuff.

AdvancingAOIP E BookCoverAdvancing AOIP for Broadcast

Putting together a new studio? Updating an existing studio? This collection of articles, white papers, and brand new material can help you get the most out of your venture. Best of all, it's FREE to download!


IP Audio for TV Production and Beyond


For this FREE e-book download, we've put together this e-book with fresh info and some of the articles that we've authored for our website, white papers, and news that dives into some of the cool stuff you can do with a modern AoIP network like Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP. 

Got feedback or questions? Click my name below to send us an e-mail. You can also use the links at the top or bottom of the page to follow us on popular social networking sites and the tabs will take you to our most often visited pages.

-- Uncle Wheat, Editor

Site Navigations