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The FM Class C4 Proposal: The Latest

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 19:05
Matthew Wesolowski

The author is CEO of SSR Communications, owner of WYAB(FM) in central Mississippi.

A proceeding currently before the Federal Communications Commission to provide eligible Zone II Class A commercial FM broadcasters an opportunity to upgrade from 6 kilowatts to 12 kilowatts has not attracted a great number of headlines this year, but that has not prevented the FM Class C4 proposal from making some significant strides as of late.

Most noteworthy, the Class C4 FM idea has attracted some powerful allies. In January, the proposal won the backing of the Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, sitting chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Congressional body that maintains direct oversight over the FCC. Sen. Wicker noted that the power increase could be of particular benefit to “small and rural radio stations” in a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. In his February, 2019 reply, Chairman Pai agreed by saying that the FM Class C4 option “could be especially important for small, minority-owned stations that currently cannot serve their entire communities.”

Sen. Wicker now joins the list of approximately 130 small broadcasters who filed comments in full support during the FM Class C4 Notice of Inquiry (MB 18-184, FCC 18-69) filing windows in September, 2018. Several years prior, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai first advocated for the new station class in September, 2016 at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Nashville, Tenn., and going back further, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) supported the effort in 2013 when it helped author the original proposal.

[Read: Where Things Stand for FM Class C4: the Waiver Route]

Predictably, a turf war has erupted between the small broadcasters that the FM Class C4 proposal would benefit, and larger license holders who generally control the biggest signals in any given market. The National Association of Broadcasters did not support the introduction of a new station class, which is unsurprising, as that same organization vehemently opposed the creation of the FM Class C0 allotment type some 20 years earlier. Although larger companies stopped short of endorsing the idea fully, some nationwide broadcasters did come out in support of the FM Class C4 concept, including Educational Media Foundation, while iHeartMedia did not oppose the new station class in its comments.

The current sticking point in the FM Class C4 proceeding appears to stem from a component of the proposal that would give certain underbuilt Section 73.207-licensed stations a Section 73.215 designation, provided that the affected station has operated under its maximum antenna height, power level, or equivalent thereof, for a period of ten years or more. Under the current FCC rules, a neighboring station looking to upgrade that is adjacent to an underbuilt Section 73.207-licensed station must treat that station as if it were fully built out, whereas a Section 73.215 station can be protected assuming its actual antenna height and power level.

The practice of treating underbuilt stations as if they were fully constructed can have large implications for smaller adjacent stations wanting to upgrade in power or situate their antenna sites more favorably. For example, a full FM Class C1 station is able to broadcast with 100 kilowatts of power from an antenna height above average terrain of 299 meters. If that station were to have an antenna height of only 200 meters above average terrain, then its primary service contour would be about 5 miles short of what a fully built FM Class C1 facility could reach. Any competing neighboring station looking to upgrade is compelled to protect that underbuilt station for five extra miles of coverage that it does not (or if underbuilt for more than 10 years, likely will not ever) serve.

In August, 2019, SSR Communications Inc., which co-authored the FM Class C4 petition with MMTC, presented a revised version of the Section 73.215 aspect of the proposal to the FCC’s Audio Division. The amended plan would still call for redesignation of certain underbuilt Section 73.207 licensed stations as Section 73.215 authorizations, but would also provide a 3 dB protective “buffer zone” to allow the affected stations an opportunity to relocate or build out more fully in the future. The buffer zone would create a protective bubble around underbuilt stations, usually amounting to anywhere from 3 to7 miles, depending on how severely underpowered or under-height the affected station may be.

This 3 dB buffer zone “compromise” would resolve the controversial aspects of the FM Class C4 proposal and should allow the proposal to advance. The buffer eliminates almost all scenarios in which an affected reclassified Section 73.215 facility could be hemmed in and blocked from making future service improvements or tower relocations. It would also disincentivize the Section 73.215 conference procedure for stations seeking such towards neighboring underbuilt Section 73.207 facilities in almost all cases, except for those involving Section 73.207 stations that are the most decidedly underbuilt with respect to their class. Indirectly, the buffer prevents almost any scenario in which a secondary service could be affected by the Section 73.215 component of the FM Class C4 idea.

Meanwhile, an alternative waiver-based path towards a FM Class C4 equivalent facility may also soon exist. In July, 2018, WRTM(FM) 100.5 MHz asked the Federal Communications Commission to consider allowing the station to double in power from 6 kilowatts to 12 kilowatts. If granted, the WRTM waiver application would establish new precedent and provide certain Class A FM stations an opportunity to enjoy an improvement in coverage.

Unlike the FM Class C4 proposal, the WRTM application (BPH-20180716AAC) suggests that, in order to double in power, a Class A FM licensee should guarantee that its upgraded signal would not impact vital LPFM and FM translator services. Also departing from the Class C4 FM proceeding is the idea that a neighboring Section 73.207-licensed station could still be reclassified as a Section 73.215 facility if it is not built out fully, but only if that station has been operating below its antenna height or maximum power level for a period of 30 years (the FM Class C4 proposal states that a 10-year window is appropriate). The WRTM filing backs this argument by saying, “No zoning problem, FAA issue, or cost consideration could not be resolved within 30 years if the desire is truly there to build out fully.”

Whether moving forward “as is,” as an amended proposal with a 3 dB buffer zone consideration, as a waiver-based procedure for eligible stations, or something else altogether, what will happen next in the FM Class C4 proceeding is anyone’s guess. What is clear is, however, is that hundreds of FM Class A stations would be able to double in power and would gladly do so if given such an opportunity. With support in high places, it seems as if a breakthrough is just around the corner, and it could be sooner than later that the FM Class C4 idea moves from concept to reality.

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The post The FM Class C4 Proposal: The Latest appeared first on Radio World.

Small AM Station Hit With Violation Notice Over Tower and Station ID

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 17:06

A recent visit to the small agricultural town of Hughson, Calif., led Enforcement Bureau staff to note that one Spanish-language station was in alleged violation when it came to lighting and painting its tower/antenna and noting on-air proper station identification.

The agent noted that on more than one occasion, there was no station identification announcement at the hour for KLOC(AM) 1390 kHz, which is licensed by La Favorita Radio Network. FCC rules say that broadcast station identification announcements shall be made hourly and as close to the hour as feasible.

[Read: FCC Pulls License of Alabama Station a Second Time]

The agent also noted several alleged tower and antenna issues, including irregular painting on an antenna installation, inadequate lighting, failure to notify the commission about inoperable lighting and faded painting.

The FCC Rules lay out specific requirements when it comes to painting and lighting towers and antennas — even relying on a paint tolerance chart created by the Federal Aviation Administration and given the heavy name of an In-Service Aviation Orange Tolerance Chart. FCC Rules also say that antenna structures should be cleaned and repainted as often as necessary to maintain good visibility.

So, too, are the FCC rules clear on tower lighting. A tower must be painted for visibility during daytime; during the night, a series of top flashing red obstruction lights and midpoint sidelights must be lit and operational. When those lights are not operating for some reason, the owner of the antenna structure has to report the problem to the FAA unless the lights are corrected within a 30-minute time frame. That notice — called an FAA Notice to Airmen — hadn’t yet been filed by the station, the Enforcement Bureau said.

The FCC has given La Favorita 20 days to submit a written statement explaining the violations and to clarify what action will be taken from here. The commission said it may take further action if warranted, including issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture.

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The post Small AM Station Hit With Violation Notice Over Tower and Station ID appeared first on Radio World.

FCC: The Time to Request Repack Reimbursements Starts Now

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 16:36

When it comes to requesting a reimbursement for repack-related expenses, the clock starts now.

Low-power TV, translator and FM radio stations have a pool of $150 million from which to request funds after the Federal Communications Commission voted in March to allocate additional funding for those adversely impacted by the post-incentive auction TV station repack. The FCC Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau have since outlined procedures for reimbursing those left out of the first round of funding from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund.

The first step, according to a webinar hosted by Hillary DeNigro, deputy chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force, is to get a reimbursement form filed in the LMS database (known as FCC Form 2100, Schedule 300). The deadline for that filing is Oct. 15. That form includes an eligibility section as well as a broadcaster relocation reimbursement estimates section.

[Read: Where Did Those Applications Go? Check the LMS]

Next up: file a banking form (Form 1876) in the CORES incentive action financial module database to clarify where funds should be sent.

In the webinar, attorneys and specialists from the FCC walked listeners through the eligibility requirements charts for this process, noting that are unique and separate rules for LPTVs, translators and FM stations when it comes to eligibility.

See the charts for eligibility requirements for both LPTV/TV translator stations and FM stations.

But DeNigro stressed stations should not wait to receive feedback on whether or not they are eligible for stations to start submitting expenses. “You should not wait to receive feedback on eligibility,” she said. “We encourage you to not wait but to [go ahead and] submit the forms because we are reviewing materials as we receive them.”

How much can a station expect to receive? That will be dependent a number of factors, DeNigro said, including the number of stations that file, the aggregate dollar value of verified estimates received by the commission, and the amount available for reimbursement based on that category of stations.

Payments will be made on a rolling basis; so get your invoices in, she said. “You don’t need to until you have everything together before you submit payment.”

Once a station’s move is finalized and all expenses have been accounted for, a final form 399 is needed to let the commission know that you’re closing out your account. The deadline for those forms is July 3, 2023.

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The post FCC: The Time to Request Repack Reimbursements Starts Now appeared first on Radio World.

How to Get Rid of That Mouse in the House

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 11:40

“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

Component old age is not the only cause of equipment failures. Another, more disgusting, one is vermin infestation, which will become common again now that cooler weather is upon much of the nation.

If you haven’t taken steps to place bait traps and moth balls around your remote transmitter site, now is the time. All sorts of animals are attracted to the warmth of your transmitter building; and they will quickly set up home, sometimes in or on your equipment. See Fig. 1.

Fig. 1: DA parameters out? No, the antenna monitor was being used as a mouse outhouse. The top vents on the monitor served to channel liquid inside, destroying printed circuit boards.

Stop the problem before it begins. Rodents like to travel along walls; place your glue or bait traps there to snag them before they get into your equipment racks.

Little black mouse droppings on the floor of the building or enclosure are a signal for action. If you find that your site has been infested, protect yourself while removing nest and droppings. Wear gloves, a gown and above all a mask to avoid breathing hazardous airborne pathogens.

Fig. 2: A useful resource can be found at www.bestwaytogetridofmouseinhouse.com/mouse-infestation/#risks.

John Wells has written a useful tutorial on illnesses spread by rodents and offers useful tips to ensure their removal. The URL is in the caption for Fig. 2. YouTube also has a number of videos; search “removing mouse infestation” for tips.

 

***

 

Broadcast engineer Tom Norman read with interest our discussion about Frank Hertel’s experience with electrolytic capacitors in an FM exciter. It brought back memories that may be useful for other readers.

Tom remembered an instance in which a remote control system failed. His tests couldn’t produce a reason, but its operation remained horribly intermittent. Tom decided to station himself at the transmitter site until he could figure out what was wrong.

He started with the usual, checking power supply voltages using a VOM. No issues. He checked the same power supply rails with the ’scope. Still nothing wrong.

At one point in the circuit, one of the power supply voltages was further regulated using a three-terminal regulator. Scoping the output of that regulator, he hit the regulator with freeze mist. The tiny amount of ripple disappeared. Tom is not sure what possessed him to check the input terminal of the regulator, but when he did he saw significant ripple. Why was there more ripple on the input of this chip than was present at the output of the regulated power supply feeding it? He froze the chip again and it calmed down.

Tom replaced the chip. No difference. That’s when he considered what was attached to the input and output terminals of the chip. You guessed it: There was a small electrolytic on the input. Tom replaced it. The power supply calmed down, but he still had erratic behavior from the remote control unit.

Tom’s next step was to freeze mist all the active components. He was about to freeze a 741 Op Amp but inadvertently touched it with the little straw from the nozzle of the can of mist. The remote control unit went from erratic to totally dead. He poked the Op Amp again, no difference. He froze it. Back to erratic operation. Tom replaced the Op Amp. Operation was still erratic. Checking the schematic, he noted power supply bypass electrolytic capacitors on the power supply pins. Tom replaced those capacitors. Still erratic.

Pulling out what little was left of hair, he removed the Op Amp and stuffed in a fresh one. Problem solved.

This all took place shortly after a huge electrical storm during which Tom had witnessed multiple direct strikes to the tower.

Although not certain, Tom sees two issues here. One is that lightning can affect components deep inside a circuit, where normally you’d expect them to be safe and sound. His guess is that the electrolytics, being old, failed due to the exacerbating influence of the lightning. Then, for reasons he cannot fathom, one or the other of the Op Amp’s power supply bypass capacitors became inductive and caused oscillations whose peak voltages exceeded the limits of the 741 Op Amp, thus frying it. Although this is speculation, it reminds us that electrolytics should be replaced every seven years or so.

Tom also recalls that as a station engineer, when he found Mallory-brand electrolytic capacitors in a piece of equipment, he would shotgun all of them. He said he’d had so much difficulty with Mallory electrolytic capacitors that he specified that new equipment must not contain any electrolytic capacitors of that manufacture.

Tom writes that he still carries this prejudice, even while acknowledging that things may have changed since then. He doesn’t do much bench work now, but from time to time he will design little circuits for use in his home environment, and when he orders capacitors, he selects another manufacturer — which is funny, because Tom has never had a Mallory Sonalert fail.

Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips and high-resolution photos to johnpbisset@gmail.com.

John Bisset has spent 50 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles western U.S. radio sales for the Telos Alliance. He holds CPBE certification with the Society of Broadcast Engineers and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.

The post How to Get Rid of That Mouse in the House appeared first on Radio World.

From IBC: Tieline Unveils Gateway Multichannel IP Codec

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 09:11

At IBC2019, Tieline unveiled the new Gateway IP audio codec, which the company says, is a compact and powerful multichannel IP audio transport solution for radio broadcasters. The Gateway streams up to 16 IP audio channels with support for AES67, AES3 and analog I/O as standard.

Featuring Tieline’s SmartStream PLUS redundant streaming and Fuse-IP data aggregation technologies, Tieline promises the Gateway will “herald a new era in multichannel IP codec streaming.”

Tieline Gateway is suitable for STL, SSL and audio distribution applications, as well as managing multiple incoming remotes at the studio. The compact unit is interoperable with all Tieline IP codecs and compatible over SIP with all EBU N/ACIP Tech 3326 and 3368 compliant codecs and devices.

“The new Gateway codec delivers up to 16 mono channels or eight stereo streams of IP audio in 1RU to increase efficiency and reduce rack space requirements,” said Charlie Gawley, Tieline’s VP Sales APAC/EMEA. “The Tieline Gateway interfaces with legacy analog and AES/EBU sources, as well as newer broadcast plants with AES67 IP audio infrastructure. An optional WheatNet-IP interface will also be also available.”

Configurable through an embedded HTML5 Toolbox Web-GUI interface, the Gateway can also interface with the TieLink Traversal Server for simpler connections and is fully controllable using Tieline’s Cloud Codec Controller.

The post From IBC: Tieline Unveils Gateway Multichannel IP Codec appeared first on Radio World.

HD Radio Trial Set to Begin in India

Radio World - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 08:19

Joe D’Angelo, senior vice president of broadcast radio at Xperi, announced during the Xperi HD Radio market update held on the Nautel booth at IBC that HD Radio tests for FM will begin in New Delhi shortly.

Joe D’Angelo announced plans for HD Radio tests in India during a speech on the Nautel booth at IBC.

“We worked with Nautel to get the authorization required to install a test station in Delhi,” D’Angelo said. “We expect to start on-air trialing within a couple of weeks and continue into next year.”

The FM station will broadcast an HD Radio multicast hosting up to four HD signals. According to D’Angelo, in India there is a remarkable interest in second- and third-language programming, mainly due to the large number of languages spoken throughout the country.

The HD Radio test will demonstrate the entire feature set of the digital radio standard, such as dynamic visual content, station logos and emergency alerts services.

“We will run the trial using standard broadcast equipment from Nautel with the same configuration adopted in the United States, as well as with standard commercial receivers, including the first HD Radio-capable cellphone, named BeatBoy,” D’Angelo explained.

[Read: AoIP, Cloud and Digital Radio in Focus at IBC] 

He added that many of the vehicles shipped to India are equipped with the same HD Radio receiver they feature in the U.S. So, even if it’s disabled by default, local dealers can easily activate it. This means thousands of vehicles will potentially be able to receive India’s first HD radio broadcasts once the service begins.

The post HD Radio Trial Set to Begin in India appeared first on Radio World.

In the Matter of Promoting Diversification in the Broadcasting Services

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00
Order extending filing window and deadline for filing of FCC Form 323 and 323-E

Applications

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00
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Broadcast Actions

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00
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Actions

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00
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Pleadings

FCC Media Bureau News Items - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 21:00
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Podcast #211 – Surveying Community Radio’s Deep Archives

Radio Survivor - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 19:43

More than 600 community radio recordings from 1965 – 1986 are archived at the University of Maryland. These tapes were shared through a program exchange operated by the National Federation of Community broadcasters. The breadth of programming contained in these programs is remarkable, and underscores the still-active mission of the NFCB to support and promote the participation of women and people of color at all levels of non-commercial broadcasting.

Laura Schnitker is the curator of the Broadcast Archives at the University of Maryland, joining the show to tell us more about this special archive of programming, highlighting some of the gems in the collection.

This episode of the program was recorded and originally aired in September of 2018 and is being rebroadcast this week. The original episode number was 158

Show Notes:

The post Podcast #211 – Surveying Community Radio’s Deep Archives appeared first on Radio Survivor.

KRK Rokit G4 Monitors Keep It Clean

Radio World - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 12:31

KRK’s popular and affordable Rokit line of near-field studio monitors has now reached its fourth generation, replacing the G3 models and ushering in a significant redesign. The new lineup includes three two-way models, the Rokit 5 G4 (5-inch woofer), Rokit 7 G4 (7-inch woofer), Rokit 8 G4 (8-inch woofer), and the three-way Rokit 10-3 G4 (10-inch woofer). The 4-inch and 6-inch models in previous lineups have been dropped from the line, while the company has added the 7-inch version.

The Rokit 8 G4, like the other monitors in the series, has matching Kevlar woofers and tweeters.

For this review, KRK sent me a pair of both the Rokit 8 G4 and Rokit 5 G4, so we’ll focus on those.

The G4 models are physically similar to their G3 predecessors. The black composite cabinets are close in height, width and depth to the models they’re replacing. The monitors themselves are lighter, however, thanks in part to redesigned Class D power amps that are smaller and lighter. The total weight of a Rokit 5 G4 monitor is about one pound less than the Rokit 5 G3. The Rokit 8 G4 is about four pounds less than the Rokit 8 G3.

Another significant difference is the composition of the woofers, which are now made of Kevlar instead of the glass Aramid composite of the G3 Series. The G4 tweeters are also Kevlar. According to KRK, the Kevlar not only reduces distortion but offers superior damping capabilities and is more resistant to resonances and ringing.

Like the G3, the G4 monitors are front-ported. However, KRK enlarged the ports and made them wider and taller. The company describes the new ports as being “scientifically tuned.” I had to chuckle when I read that, because what else would you use besides science to tune a speaker port? All kidding aside, the point they’re trying to make is that they used their expertise in speaker development to design the port and other physical characteristics of the monitors to work harmoniously and create the best-sounding result.

The G4 monitors feature isoacoustic pads on the bottom panel, just like on the G3 line. These are designed to help decouple the monitors by reducing the transfer of vibrations from the cabinet into your desk or monitor stands. Though not as thick as dedicated third-party monitor pads, they definitely help and are a nice extra.

DISPLAY OF PLENTY

Other than the larger ports and tweeters now in the familiar KRK yellow (the tweeters on the G3s were black), the G4 monitors don’t look all that different from the front compared to their predecessors. On the back panel, however, you’ll find some pretty significant differences.

For one thing, instead of separate 1/4-inch balanced and XLR inputs, you now get a combo input. What’s more, KRK no longer includes the third input option from the G3s, an unbalanced RCA input. From my point of view, that’s no great loss. If you want to connect the monitors to the line out of your stereo system, you can always get adapters.

More importantly, the EQ and volume knobs that were on the back of the G3s have been replaced with an LCD display and an encoder knob. The G4s are equipped with DSP Room Tuning EQ, which can be accessed with the encoder, with a visual assist from the display. You also get a range of setup features, which make the G4s more customizable than previous versions.

Pressing the encoder turns on the LCD, and shows a home screen, which features a volume control along a frequency graph that will show any EQ settings you’ve already made. Turning the encoder adjusts the volume, which is represented in the LCD by a slider and a numerical readout making it easy to set precisely (a much better solution than some monitors on the market, which sport analog volume knobs that aren’t detented). Pressing the encoder lets you select the EQ or setup categories.

The EQ section offers five different filter types for customizing the frequency response to your room acoustics. You get four presets plus flat in both the low EQ and high EQ categories. This arrangement makes dialing in adjustments easy, but doesn’t allow you to customize the boosts and cuts or the corner frequencies.

Low Shelf is designed for situations where you have a bass boost due to placing the monitors close to a wall or corner. Its presets include a –3 dB or –2 dB cut at 60 Hz. You also get a low-shelf option that boosts by +2 dB at 60 Hz.

Low Peak is a peak filter that cuts –2 dB at 200 Hz with a wide bandwidth. KRK refers to it as a “desk filter,” because it’s meant to reduce muddiness caused by reflections off of a console or table. There’s also a setting that combines the Low Shelf and Low Peak filters in one.

For cutting or boosting highs, you get both shelving and peak EQs. These include High Shelf, which cuts by –2 dB at 10 kHz. Another combines a high-peak filter cutting –1 dB at 3.5 kHz and high-shelf filter cutting –1 dB at 10 kHz. On the boost side, you get a similar shelf/peak combination, which boosts +1 dB at those same frequencies, plus a high-shelf filter that boosts 2 dB at 10 kHz. The LCD shows a frequency graph for each setting, which gives you a visual representation of the effect of the selected filter.

The setup menu offers adjustment for backlight brightness and contrast for the LCD. You can also choose whether to light the logo on the front of the monitors, factory reset and settings, lock options and the standby function. With standby on, which is the default, the monitors will sleep when they’ve seen no signal for 30 minutes. They wake up automatically when a signal is detected, but it takes several seconds. (When I first encountered a wake-up situation with the monitors, I thought something was wrong with my system, because I hit play and no sound came out. Then it popped on, and I realized that the monitors had been in standby.)

REALITY CHECK

I have been using the Rokit 8 G4 and Rokit 5 G4 monitors in my studio for the last couple of weeks. Because my studio acoustics tend to reduce bass, I ended up setting the EQ to the low shelf +2 dB boost at 60 Hz.

I started just by listening to a lot of different types of musical styles, switching back and forth between the 8-inch and 5-inch — everything from bass-heavy styles like hip-hop and EDM to midrange-heavy rock music to genres with wide frequencies and dynamic ranges such as jazz and orchestral music.

On the 8-inch monitors, the bass sounded full but not flabby. Mids were vibrant, and the highs were plenty bright. They were almost bright enough that I considered cutting them with the EQ, but I decided against that.

The 5-inch models impressed me right off the bat with their bass response. Although they obviously don’t go as deep as the 8-inchers, the bass was present and didn’t feel like it was dropping off the table when I switched to them from the Rokit 8 G4s. They are quite punchy-sounding, too. For example, kick drums cut through nicely. Overall, their frequency response was surprisingly full for 5-inch speakers.

KRK says that the matching Kevlar drivers provide a consistency in imaging, which I found to be the case. The speakers have a wide sweet spot.

The company also claims that new models create less ear fatigue. That’s a harder one to judge, and I didn’t come away with an opinion one way or the other about it.

I monitored with the 8-inch and 5-inch G4s exclusively on a couple of mixes I was working on. One was a rock song with guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, and the other a country-influenced instrumental track with pedal steel, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass and drums.

The back of the G4 speakers have been redesigned and feature an encoder-and-LCD user interface for dialing in EQ and setup changes.

After I mixed the songs, I gave them the old “car test” and also listened on my living room speakers. I was pleased to discover that both mixes translated well. The balances remained accurate from one system to the next, and nothing jumped out as sounding out of whack. The KRKs were clearly performing as designed.

I was definitely impressed with the 5-inch and 8-inch Rokit G4 monitors and would have no problem using either in my studio on a regular basis. I like the sound of the new drivers and the redesigned power amps and cabinets. The LCD/encoder interface and the DSP-based EQ are easy to use and let you precisely match settings between the left and right speakers.

Although I didn’t try out the 7-inch model, it features the same design, so I’m guessing that it will offer similar, accurate sound reproduction. I can’t speak definitively to the Rokit 10-3 G4, because it’s a three-way monitor and therefore a somewhat different animal. That said, based on the upgrades to the two-way models, I have a feeling it, too, will surpass its G3 predecessor in performance.

KRK has raised the prices a little on each model in the series, but the speakers are still quite reasonable and are one of the better monitor values on the market.

PRODUCT CAPSULE

KRK SYSTEMS
Rokit 5 G4 and Rokit 8 G4

Thumbs Up
+ Accurate and consistent sound quality
+ Tight-sounding bass
+ Rokit 5 G4 offers good bass response for its size
+ DSP-based EQ offers plenty of room-tuning options
+ Encoder/LCD interface allows for precise L/R matching
+ Acoustic pads on bottom help with decoupling
+ Good value for the money

Thumbs Down
– Slightly higher prices compared to G3 monitors
– EQs offer preset values only

Prices: Rokit 5 G4 ($179 each);
Rokit 8 G4 ($299 each)

Contact: KRK Systems/Gibson at 1-800-444-2766 or visit www.krksys.com

The post KRK Rokit G4 Monitors Keep It Clean appeared first on Radio World.

AoIP, Cloud and Digital Radio in Focus at IBC

Radio World - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 04:10

AMSTERDAM — As IBC2019 draws to a close, the giant conference and exhibition once again showed why it describes itself as “the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show”.

Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Center is home to IBC.

Across 15 halls of the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam, almost 60,000 broadcast professionals gathered from around the world to see new products launched and to debate key media topics.

This year’s exhibition saw a focus on AoIP products and cloud-based “radio-as-a-service” solutions. The Telos Alliance used IBC to launch the Axia Quasar sixth-generation AoIP console. Available in sizes from four to 28 faders per frame, with support for up to 64 faders in multiple linked frames, the console is powered by a new native AoIP Quasar Engine.

Ruxandra Obreja, DRM Chairman, speaking on the Gospell stand.

Meanwhile, Broadcast Pix launched RadioPix, an integrated production system for visual radio applications. “We felt it was time to produce a dedicated product for visual radio featuring a complete toolset and a streamlined user experience,” said Tony Mastantuono, product manager for Broadcast Pix. Multiple macros can be assigned to each microphone, which allows the system to select between camera shots to create more dynamic productions.

Elsewhere at the exhibition, Netherlands-based Broadcast Partners showed SmartRadio, a web and cloud-based, radio-as-a-service platform, consisting of newly-developed micro services, running in the cloud. The system comes in modular form, allowing users to scale up or down on a monthly basis.

Finland’s Jutel demonstrated RadioMan 6 Live, which it describes as “a virtual browser-based radio production, editing and playout system, where the audio processing is done in the cloud, so that no specific hardware is needed.” The latest version adds new cloud-based tasks: audio contribution streaming, on-air playout and production mixing in the cloud, along with web-based audio editing without the need for browser add-ons.

Luca La Rosa on the Telos Alliance stand with the new Axia Quasar console.

Xperi’s stand offered a preview of how the new over-the-air in-vehicle Hybrid Radio experience will look with DTS Connected Radio. The system, which is set to launch in 2020 supporting analog, DAB+ and HD Radio, includes real-time broadcast metadata for all programming types, and can also gather new data on how listeners are engaging with broadcast content in the vehicle.

Two events focussed on the development of Digital Radio Mondiale. On Friday, Gospell unveiled five new products that all include DRM technology, including a portable receiver, car adaptor, and a high performance active HF antenna. Then on Saturday, on the Nautel stand, Fraunhofer IIS launched the latest R7 edition of its ContentServer head-end technology for DRM and DAB+.

At the IBC conference running alongside the exhibition, Monday morning saw a WorldDAB session on “Radio Distribution Strategies for a Connected World,” led by Patrick Hannon, the organisation’s president. It explored broadcast digital radio’s place in the distribution mix, including a case study of Norway’s multi-platform strategy, and reports from recent broadcast 5G trials in the U.K. and Germany.

IBC also saw Rise, the advocate group for gender diversity within the broadcast manufacturing and services sector, announce the winners of its new Rise Awards. Woman of The Year was Morwen Williams, Head of UK Operations for BBC News, and recently also appointed chair of the World Broadcasting Unions’ International Media Connectivity Group.

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