TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

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mikenelson41
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TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

Post by mikenelson41 »

Hi,

I'm doing some personal research on the different equipment used for audio processing on television over time.

I am aware that today, many broadcasters use Linear Acoustic DTV or Orban Optimod-TV products for this task.

In the first few years of the 2000's though, what was commonly used for this? Were analog versions of Orban Optimods used along with some pre-processing (Aphex Compellors) used or something else?

From my understanding, analog was still dominant back then-right? So if say Orban was used, it had to be an analog model that contained pre-emphasis, correct?

Any insight would be very appreciated.

Thanks!
w9wi
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Re: TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

Post by w9wi »

In our case yes, analog Orban Optimod. Our stations (the one I work for now, and the one I left 30 years ago) were stereo, so the stereo generator was built-in and preemphasis was part of that.

In the analog era, many TV stations did NOT broadcast in stereo. Preemphasis was built in to the transmitter; if you fed analog audio directly to the transmitter, the preemphasis happened there. In stereo, you fed composite audio to the transmitter and the preemphasis had to happen in the processing gear.

Before stereo, we had a CBS Audimax/Volumax pair. That's going back 35 years so expecting my memory to be accurate may be a stretch.
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Doug Smith W9WI
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PID_Stop
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Re: TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

Post by PID_Stop »

Adding to what Doug said... my facility was the first centralcasting hub to go on the air in 2000. (Not the first to be built... but the first to get the fiber circuits working, fix the various bugs, and go live.) Everything was handled as SD-SDI, and until our stations started simulcasting DTV signals, these feeds were converted to analog and fed to the NTSC transmitters.

In our plant, we de-embedded the program audio from the video and fed it to a number of Rane RPM44 digital processors' AES inputs. The AES outputs were then re-embedded in the video for distribution and broadcast. The RPM series was a generic processor: using Rane's DragNet software, you create whatever sort of processing you need by dragging different elements (mixers, filters, AGC, compressors, limiters, and so forth) onto the workspace, then virtually connecting the elements together. I created a multiband processing setup that was conceptually similar to the Optimod, and it served us very well until the CALM act came around and we replaced everything with Cobalt Digital 9985s, which we use to this day. It turned out that the output of the Rane processors actually met CALM requirements, though I didn't realize it until we had the equipment to actually measure CALM compliance. I keep one of the Rane processors running as a hot standby that can be patched into any of the stations in case the Cobalt card dies.

One of the other things the Ranes did (and that the Cobalts are now doing) is to perform the GPI-driven breakaway to Emergency Alert System audio... it's a particularly convenient way to do it.

Prior to Centralcasting, when we were a completely analog plant, we used CBS Labs Audimax and Volumax processors. The main, as I recall, was a 4400 Audimax paired with a 4110 Volumax; the backup was a set of the original tube type Audimax and Volumax units.

Jeff
mikenelson41
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Re: TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

Post by mikenelson41 »

Wow, what insight!

Doug:
A follow-up if I may--Since you said you used the analog Optimods, do you remember the model? Based on Orban's timeline, it must have been 8182 or 8282--true?

Jeff:
Wow, that was very, very detailed and very fascinating. I need to read over your post a couple more times to comprehend all of the information you shared in it.

Thank you both so much! I wasn't expecting such didactic responses.
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Re: TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

Post by w9wi »

(concur, on the kudos for Jeff's detailed explanation of his plant!)

They were 8182s.

The Audimax/Volumax are so far back I have no idea what model numbers -- except to say there were no tubes:)
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Re: TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

Post by PID_Stop »

Back when we used to welcome school field trips at the station, one of my co-workers used to explain audio processing by saying that he was the guy who turned up the really annoying commercials. He was also the fellow who, when a teacher asked what sort of preparation one needed to be a broadcast engineer, replied: "H". I had to leave the room.

:lol:

Jeff
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Re: TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

Post by Kelly »

Here at NBC, we use a lot of GVG 3901 cards to do CALM/audio processing, and SAP switching/mix-down. They're tricky to set up, and the reliability has been hit and miss, but when they're working, they do a good job.

We measure our outbound audio in LKFS.
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Re: TV Audio Processing (circa 2000-2003)

Post by jthorusen »

Back in the day, KCBS (channel 2 analog for Los Angeles) used a Modulation Sciences TSG as the primary processor with an Optimod TV for backup. Both ran BTSC composite stereo into Larcan exciters which had a wide band non-preemphasized input.

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James K. (Jim) Thorusen
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