Dimension One Put to Superhero Test at WYFF-4


If they made consoles out of admantanium, we're certain Doug Durkee of WYFF-4 would buy one. But he bought the Dimension One audio console instead because he appreciates craftsmanship and reliability almost as much as our factory guys do. And also because indestructible admantanium metal doesn't exist except in the fictional world of superheroes.

Meet Doug Durkee, the Director of Broadcast Operations for Hearst-owned WYFF-4 in Greenville, SC.  Doug is a long-time Wheatstone customer who had one of the last analog Wheatstone TV audio consoles made, the TV-80, until he replaced it with a Dimension One this year.

We know him to be a practical operations guy who is serious about audio console reliability, serviceability and craftsmanship.  WYFF-4 puts out five hours of news every weekday and as Doug likes to say, “If there’s no audio, there’s no news.”

So, when he ordered the Dimension One audio console to complete WYFF-4’s conversion to HD news production, we were anxious to find out how he liked it. We knew he’d like the size and price of the Dimension One. No one ever complains it’s too compact or too affordable. And, we had no doubt that he’d like the power. If he liked the way the TV-80 handled sources and mixing, he was going to be blown away by the Dimension One’s Gibraltar DSP engine.  As all our Wheaty friends know, Gibraltar does the work of four or five DSPs, so any operation that needs to happen through the audio console – level adjustments, equalization, mix-minuses – does so with lots of power to spare.

In fact, Gibraltar is how we were able to double the number of mix-minuses in another, slightly larger audio console, and it is why we can offer the Dimension One at a mid-market price point and still offer high-end features. Dimension One has 16 mix-minus buses and eight AUX sends, with four digitally controlled masters and 16 true audio groups. Each input, each subgroup, and each program bus output has equalization and dynamics processing available.

They ought to name a superhero after this one.

But of even more importance to Doug is the Gibraltar engine’s incredible uptime. This was one more item he could check off his reliability checklist. Another was Dimension One’s modular architecture.

We reminded him that the Dimension One console is different than his TV-80 in that all logic functions are taken out of the console and put into a separate rack unit. We can add more power and build in more redundancy at the same time by separating the signal processing from the control surface.  And instead of the typical internal routing found in most audio consoles, Dimension One has an interactive digital network. Adding this kind of network allows traditionally fixed audio functions to work interactively…and independently.

Which gives operations guys like Doug unbelievable peace of mind.  Console operators can access a backup audio source on the fly, for example. If a source goes dead or needs replacing, a console operator can select a preset backup source on the Dimension One network simply by selecting the B side of an AB selector on the channel strip. This can be done even while that fader is on the air during a live broadcast.

Not that Doug is expecting trouble. Wheatstone equipment adheres to some tough quality standards. Our guys do a lot of tweaking and prodding, tuning and double checking before anything leaves our factory. We build all our consoles and routing systems from start to finish in our New Bern, NC factory.

We also design in some safeguards, like separating processor heat dissipation from the control surface to minimize stress on critical components. We get more power out of our systems as a result, and in the case of Dimension One, we can deliver 1,024 channels of DSP processing and support for 72 faders, each 5.1 capable.

Doug likes all this about his new audio console, especially the 5.1 surround sound feature. He plans to implement surround sound sometime in the next year.  He can expect upgrades like this to be uneventful, at least with regard to the console.

All in all, we are encouraged by Doug’s assessment of his new Dimension One network console. We haven’t attained superhero status yet, but we’re getting there.

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