Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Gotta watch those Fresnel zones!
Fran3
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:30 pm

Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by Fran3 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:08 am

What are some options for lowbcost local remotes where...

a - Remote Announcer has cell phone in pocket with an external mic with mic-flag connected to it?
b - Same as above but with a laptop or tablet
c - Remote setup has a mixer with a couple of mic's and a pc with music or other audio

1 - Options for doing this using a cell phone back to the studio to an old Gentner Auto Coupler

2 - Options for using internet via local wi fi hotspot

2a - in 2 above I guess there would be software on each end... on the remote computer and on the studio computer... any free ware or low cost options... or how is this typically done?

Thanks for any help.

Fran3
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:30 pm

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by Fran3 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:26 am

Skype

TPT
Posts: 630
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: St. Marys, WV

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by TPT » Fri Mar 04, 2016 4:17 pm

Skype? Nice when it works--but not very reliable for more than a few minutes at a time.

1. For simple "drop-in's" look at the I-rig adapter for the I-phone: I-Rig Pre--$40 at Amazon. Has an xlr mike input & preamp for same, plus 1/8th inch headphone jack for return audio. Most cell phones use condenser mikes, so simply jeeping in a dynamic mike won't work very well--there may not be enough level to drive the device.

2. We've done remotes using a USB mixer, laptop and an internet connection--but from the cable company! Most locations we visit may only have wireless internet connections, which --if we can even get into them--are not very reliable.

3. Unless you can get a hard-wired internet connection I wouldn't try to run music from the field. Even then, it's a risky venture. Leave the music at the station, hire a board op. If you really need to mix music with the remote talent--find a hard wired (POTS) phone line (borrow the fax line). That way, you won't have the cellular delay driving the talent nuts.

4. If you are planning a series of remotes from the same location--install a phone line & pick up a pair of Comrex units off E-bay. You can find Matrix and Vector units in the $300~400 range if you keep an eye out.

5. Work on the studio end. I have 31 band EQ's on my hybrids--essential to make cell phone audio tolerable.

User avatar
Shane
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
Contact:

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by Shane » Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:38 pm

Well, we use Skype, except when we don't! Yesterday and today became examples.

State Prep Basketball Tournaments about 50 miles away in the telco backwater that is Lincoln, NE. The talent was absolutely freightened by the thought they'd have to use landline from this relatively new arena, because in years past they had crazy problems where EVERYBODY on Press Row would get dumped all at once! So they were, oh shall we just say "highly disappointed" when we could not get decent enough internet to run Skype.

After a lot of shouting into microphones and hard feelings we wound up on the landline anyway.

However...the week before when we did some of the districts closer to Omaha, Skype was near perfect.

Had a remote on our Spanish station a few years ago (which we now seem to do annually) where the store owner, from whom we' were supposed to get AC power, didn't arrive until we were on the air for 1-1/2 hours!

The emergency setup: one mic into the mic input of the laptop on battery, running Skype, over 4G LTE using my iPhone as a hotspot (and the iPhone also connected to the USB port to help keep it alive. The whole mess was about to crash for running out of battery power when the owner turned up!

We could have had more mics if we'd thought to bring 9V batteries for the M267.

So finally (!) this brings me around to our normal setup for this kind of remote.

2 old (2005) Dell XP laptops each running Skype connected back to two different studio PCs, one for each direction of audio. (Skype just don't do duplex very well.) Both of the computers are on wired Ethernet when we can get it and the local IT dept hasn't blocked all social media. If not, store Wifi sometimes works really well, sometimes not so well. Lastly we do the hotspot thing with the iPhone.

So the backhaul is mix minus and goes into their headphones and PA by way of a 2nd M267 (we just really like those) to mix in the local sound both for the talent 'phones and the PA.

The music and all other production elements are played at the studio and come down the mix minus. It takes a little getting used to the sound of the music coming back on Skype but once you do it doesn't sound bad at all.

Our Skype tricks involve a lot of trimming down frills in the Options screens (forbidding video, e.g.).

When it's good it's quite good. When it's bad it's real bad!
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

lewiscallaway
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:02 pm

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by lewiscallaway » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:25 pm

Skype is great as long as you have a decent internet. You can tap into the mix minus bus on your console, and then return audio works just fine over Skype.

User avatar
kkiddkkidd
Posts: 487
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:13 am
Location: Lawrenceburg, TN

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by kkiddkkidd » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:21 pm

lewiscallaway wrote:Skype is great as long as you have a decent internet. You can tap into the mix minus bus on your console, and then return audio works just fine over Skype.
I have clients using Skype and have recently found that IF the IFB audio is too hi, it mutes or somehow stops the incoming audio. This seems to have just started recently. I don't know if it is happening in the app or server but never had a problem until the past few months.
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

ChuckG
Posts: 899
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Moo
Contact:

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by ChuckG » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:21 pm

kkiddkkidd wrote:
lewiscallaway wrote:Skype is great as long as you have a decent internet. You can tap into the mix minus bus on your console, and then return audio works just fine over Skype.
I have clients using Skype and have recently found that IF the IFB audio is too hi, it mutes or somehow stops the incoming audio. This seems to have just started recently. I don't know if it is happening in the app or server but never had a problem until the past few months.
It's always been that way with the remotes I've set up. We treat it as a a half-duplex system, only sending IFB back to the talent during local breaks.
<><><><><><><><><>
Chuck Gennaro
Central Wisconsin

User avatar
kkiddkkidd
Posts: 487
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:13 am
Location: Lawrenceburg, TN

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by kkiddkkidd » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:49 pm

ChuckG wrote: It's always been that way with the remotes I've set up. We treat it as a a half-duplex system, only sending IFB back to the talent during local breaks.
I guess that I was just lucky before. The station that had the initial (and most) problems had been working fine for months. Then they started hearing the remote"talent" (using the term loosely) cutting off or ducking when the studio cued callers or ran bumpers & sound effects up the IFB at what had been normal level. As far as I know, nothing had changed in the studio but have no idea if anything had changed at the remote studio.

I eventually put an RDL stickon limiter module on the IFB computer input to keep it from happening if a board op wasn't paying attention and as far as I know it hasn't happened since.

Later,
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

grich
Posts: 299
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:19 am
Location: MP89.5, Mason City Subdivision

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by grich » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:46 am

Shane wrote:Well, we use Skype, except when we don't! Yesterday and today became examples.

State Prep Basketball Tournaments about 50 miles away in the telco backwater that is Lincoln, NE. The talent was absolutely freightened by the thought they'd have to use landline from this relatively new arena, because in years past they had crazy problems where EVERYBODY on Press Row would get dumped all at once! So they were, oh shall we just say "highly disappointed" when we could not get decent enough internet to run Skype.

After a lot of shouting into microphones and hard feelings we wound up on the landline anyway...
If all the press row phones are coming in on a single flaky T-1, I can see that.

Same thing has happened in Des Moines at the now-10-year old arena. And you get to pay $175 for the privilege of the not-always-reliable press-row line.

And no refunds.

And you aren't allowed to order in your own line.

And it costs $200 for a hard-wired Ethernet jack.

User avatar
Slab Bulkhead
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:34 pm

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by Slab Bulkhead » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:05 am

grich wrote: If all the press row phones are coming in on a single flaky T-1, I can see that.

Same thing has happened in Des Moines at the now-10-year old arena. And you get to pay $175 for the privilege of the not-always-reliable press-row line.

And no refunds.

And you aren't allowed to order in your own line.

And it costs $200 for a hard-wired Ethernet jack.
Got to love these places that charge highway robbery prices for a line. I usually tell them that I think their prices are obscene and that we will take our chances with the Jetpack and cell phone so they will see $0. If technical problems happen, the talent is always free to make pointed comments about the venue on the air. :twisted:

We typically hardwire the 4G connection over USB just in case there are multiple hotspots in use. So far I have yet to see a venue that is overtly jamming private hotspots -- If I caught someone doing that I would turn them in after the FCC's Gaylord Hotel ruling for sure.

I do keep a butt set in the sports kit in case someone leaves a phone cord out on a table somewhere, just to see if there's tone... :mrgreen:

User avatar
Shane
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
Contact:

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by Shane » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:25 pm

kkiddkkidd wrote:
lewiscallaway wrote:Skype is great as long as you have a decent internet. You can tap into the mix minus bus on your console, and then return audio works just fine over Skype.
I have clients using Skype and have recently found that IF the IFB audio is too hi, it mutes or somehow stops the incoming audio. This seems to have just started recently. I don't know if it is happening in the app or server but never had a problem until the past few months.
i have almost always had this problem which is why I went to two separate Skype connections for longer remotes.

Otherwise they come running to me because, for example, the remote audio is cutting in and out. Then I go to the studio and find they are trying to run beds under the remote audio. Which is fine but you can't send that back down the same line and not expect dropouts unless you keep the level way down. The beds get Skype confused as to which way audio is supposed to be going.

When we do sports on a single connection, the bumper is not in the mix minus for this same reason.
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

User avatar
Shane
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
Contact:

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by Shane » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:29 pm

We typically hardwire the 4G connection over USB just in case there are multiple hotspots in use.
How do you do this?
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

lewiscallaway
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:02 pm

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by lewiscallaway » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:43 pm

Shane wrote:
We typically hardwire the 4G connection over USB just in case there are multiple hotspots in use.
How do you do this?
iPhones can do this and you can use an app on Android such as this: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... fi.hotspot

It's not perfect, but Skype is probably the easiest to use solution out there.

User avatar
Shane
Posts: 725
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
Contact:

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by Shane » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:38 pm

Interesting. We have been connecting wireless. I was aware of the USB option but I don't think I've actually used it yet. Seems like there was some kind of problem when I did. The problem could have been a lack of time to mess with it!
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

User avatar
Dale H. Cook
Posts: 739
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:08 am
Location: Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
Contact:

Re: Budget Local Remote Options Are ???

Post by Dale H. Cook » Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:27 am

Shane wrote:When we do sports on a single connection, the bumper is not in the mix minus for this same reason.
Our solution to that when using Skype is that after the remote talent hears the bumper begin they wait a pre-determined number of seconds before they begin talking, giving the board of time to kill the mix minus and duck the bumper.
Dale H. Cook, Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
http://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html

Post Reply