Sizing Up (or Down) TV Audio

SizingTV UPPhil Owens remembers the days not so long ago when getting a television audio console into the studio meant taking a window out, cutting holes in walls, even getting a crane to lift the behemoth thing through a window. Now, "I've had guys tell me that the hardest part of putting in one of our digital audio consoles is taking the old one out," he said.

It's understandable then that a trend we've started to call Big Console/Little Console is a laughable concept to Owens, one of our sales engineers who rightly insists that today's digital console is anything but "big."

Our Wheatstone digital audio consoles for television are a good deal smaller than yesterday's monster-sized analog consoles, thanks to networking. Which is exactly the reason for a new trend we've noticed in which stations are installing a bigger console such as a Dimension One, Dimension Two or D-32 as their main production controller, and a smaller console such as our D-8EX for remote or emergency control, or for automation purposes.

"It actually makes sense these days because the littler board is now able to grab all the sources that the main board has access to on the network," commented Owens.

Mass consolidation of studios and stations in the early 2000s essentially centralized master control of several stations into one facility, in part because of new console networking capabilities. Now, consolidation has moved to the studio level, with audio console size, complexity and costs downsizing in the process. Said Owens, "It's one of the nicer points of working with the engineers in an installation, when we're tearing all that old stuff out and suddenly they get 'the look' – like, is that all that's behind the console? A power cable and an RJ45 network cable?"





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