Tee Time

Tee Time

Magic-937Meet Tee Thomas, who is a bit of an audio eccentric even by our standards. It's straight up 24-bit, 44.1 kHz sampling all the way for his stations in Lubbock, Texas. And by way, we mean Wheat Net-IP AoIP routing through fiber optic link from the studio to the transmitter site.  So, when Tee says he's gone kind of nuts with the Wheatstone stuff, we have to wonder.

There’s something you need to know about Tee Thomas, aside from the fact that he’s Ramar Communications’ Chief Engineer for three FMs, an AM and ten TV stations in Lubbock, Texas.

He’s a bit of an eccentric when it comes to sound quality, even by Wheatstone standards. He’s known to squeeze every bit of quality from audio. We can’t tell you some of the cool audio techniques he revealed to us (we promised), but we can tell you that he installed the WheatNet-IP AoIP Intelligent Network earlier this year using about 15 BLADEs, and elected to use software drivers for his BSI OpX automation system instead of soundcards. No 16-bit, 44.1 kHz sampling for his stations. It’s straight up 24-bit, 44.1 kHz sampling all the way. And by way, we mean WheatNet-IP AoIP routing into a fiber optic link to the transmitter site.

As a result, he says, the sound is more dynamic and open and loud. “The WheatNet really improved the quality of broadcast because while most of the digital audio equipment is 16-bit, 44.1 kHz (sample), the BLADEs are 24-bit, 44.1 kHz (sample) so you have so much more bit depth and the audio quality is so much more superior than standard audio,” explains Tee, who admits he’s gone “nuts with the Wheatstone stuff.”

He has two E-1 digital consoles and a smattering of digital boards that run off the WheatNet-IP. He has mic processors built into most of them, many used as pre-processors for streaming, which Ramar Communications does a fair amount of these days. No surprise, then, that he has a couple of BLADEs with audio processing built in for each of the 16 streams feeding the stations’ programming on the web. The Aura8-IP BLADEs take up two rack spaces for all 16 streams. Sixteen streams of multiband processing in two rack units? It still amazes us.

Audio programming comes out of a server in the back room, then goes through a network cable to the studios, and then to the fiber optic link out to the transmitter. It’s 100 percent IP all down the line.

Tee says he noticed the difference in quality immediately after installing the BLADEs.

We’re not surprised.

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