VOIP in the newsroom

Where the magic happens...or something...
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VOIP in the newsroom

Post by awsherrill » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:21 pm

Don't mean to hijack Dave's thread, but the questions about VOIP/SIP kinda dovetail with a problem I'm currently working.

I have been asked to do something about the phones in our radio newsroom. We have about 7 or so reporter cubicles, and a couple of production rooms, that need to have telephone interview recording capability. Some of these locations are currently served by an ancient 1A2 phone system that has seen better days.

I'm just wondering if VOIP/SIP is a viable option for getting decent-quality phone audio to each reporter location. I have looked into the Telos VX system, but there is nowhere near that kind of budget for this project. Right now I'm looking at installing digital office-type phones at each position, and using the JK digital hybrids that interface using the handset cord. It's a clunky solution, but the audio at least is good.

Are there any VOIP solutions out there that are practical and reliable for this application, and that don't cost a fortune? I'm guessing...not yet.

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Re: VOIP in the newsroom

Post by Deep Thought » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:46 pm

This isn't actually what you asked the question about but I have a Linksys SPA-2102 successfully feeding a 1A2 system here at my office. I had to crank up the ring voltage a bit to trigger the line cards but it works great.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Re: VOIP in the newsroom

Post by TPT » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:44 pm

Would be a nice alternative...but an inexpensive improvement to your present set-up is to put in an EQ on the output of the hybrids. I have a half-dozen of the inexpensive ART 31 band equalizers scattered around for this purpose--run a little above $100.

Very useful for phone lines with hum.

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Re: VOIP in the newsroom

Post by Baylink » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:10 pm

Well, what you can do here, and what you can spend, depends a lot on what IT expertise you have laying around.

The audio on Polycom 601 phones, in both directions, even at normal bitrate (not the wideband codec) is really impressive. What you hook them to determines, a lot, how you would record the conversations. I'm pretty sure that both Asterisk and Freeswitch can be rigged to make a stereo (directionally split) recording of a specific conversation at the press of a function key. But that would require some actual coding.

I *think* FreePBX (which lives atop Asterisk) has a plugin module that will do this sort of thing too, but I haven't looked in a couple of years -- that would reduce the task from "coding" to "configuring", with the associated reduction in experience or cognitive load. :-)

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