Example of the input compressor on the ViA codec's touchscreen

Stand Out From the Crowd with Fall Sports Remotes

Jake’s Take on ‘How to Stand Out From the Crowd with Fall Sports Remotes’

Fall remotes equal money! Yes, it’s a great opportunity to deliver revenue upgrades for your stations by providing rock-solid and high-quality broadcast opportunities to advertisers. Your choice of codec is critical as it can offer operational flexibility that creates significant match-day advantages over your competition.

Let’s dive into discussing some of the common functionality people overlook when purchasing audio codecs. Outside of algorithms, bitrates and redundancy, people tend to overlook some of the great quality of life functions that some codecs offer. We tend to see three areas that people overlook: audio routing, audio processing and remote Control. Let’s begin with audio routing or what we call the audio matrix.

Audio Routing Advantages

The audio matrix is one of the most powerful tools that we expose to you the engineer, and also to the talent (if you decide to provide them with access). The audio matrix is used to customize the audio routing between audio sources and audio destinations within the Tieline codec being configured. Sources within the Tieline ecosystem include audio inputs (labeled “IN #” – followed by the channel number/name), as well as your audio decoders (labeled “Dec #” – followed by the decoder number). The audio destinations within the Tieline ecosystem include items like your audio encoders (Labeled “Enc #” – followed by the encoder number), and the audio outputs (Labeled “Out #” – followed by the output number/name). Depending on the codec, you also might see multiple headphone channels (labeled as “HP#L” and “HP#R” – followed by the channel number).

ViA's Matrix Editor with input sources listed on the left and outputs/destinations listed at the top.
ViA’s Matrix Editor with input sources listed on the left and outputs/destinations listed at the top.

 

The audio Inputs and audio outputs are physical connectors (or virtual if using AoIP) for piping audio into and out of the Tieline codec, as well as monitoring the audio using the headphone jacks. Whereas the encoders and decoders are specifically used for transporting digitized audio via one of our IP streams. If you send an audio input to the audio encoder, then that specific audio input will be mixed into that specific encoder’s final mix to be transmitted. The matrix is something that can be preconfigured, and saved/recalled with the use of Tieline programs. As an example, you route inputs 1 to 3 on the ViA, and the aux left and right to flow to the XLR outputs for an external camera to capture the audio from the radio team. Another great example of this would be to customize a producer microphone input on the ViA to route to specific headphones only, and perhaps to the studio when the Cue/TB button is pressed.

How to Stand Out From the Crowd with Fall Sports Remotes
Customizing communications routing is a major benefit of configurable matrix routing.

 

There are several ways in which the audio matrix can be configured to customize your audio workflow. Apart from what I have mentioned, you can stream to multiple stations from a single ViA codec and configure unique output mixes as required. One mix may include a sponsor’s message, and another may not. Therefore, a single remote codec can also broadcast to multiple markets.

Stand Out from the Crowd with Dynamics…

The next area for discussion is the processing capabilities within Tieline equipment – specifically in the field unit, ViA. Tieline for years has been known for offering high-quality, low-latency broadcast codecs for getting real-time audio data. However, since the release of the ViA the codec’s capabilities have expanded to assist broadcasters to reduce the amount of outboard gear taken on-site to broadcast remotes.

With this in mind, Tieline added a few extra features to the ViA specifically to help with this burden. One of these items is the record and playback system within the codec, and the other function is the audio processing capabilities built-in to the ViA and Gateway codecs. The first thing to note is all our processing by default is disabled, you will manually need to enable input “Dynamics” menus on the ViA or Gateway. Next, you have the options of enabling “10-Band EQ,” and/or a “Dynamic Range Compressor.”

Example of the input compressor on the ViA codec's touchscreen
Example of the input compressor on the ViA codec’s touchscreen

 

Both options can really help clean up audio input sources before you transmit them to the studio. In addition, a future firmware update will include a “Noise Gate” and “Expander” on all inputs. With these four processing capabilities built-in to the ViA, engineers will have the ability to really clean up the audio signal and tailor the specific audio they want the audience to hear. Just think of noisy environments like a stadium full of 40+ thousand people screaming for their favorite team, our processing will help you better manage the audio mix and reduce the possibility of unwanted noise taking over the primary commentary audio sent.

Remote Control

Lastly, let’s discuss the idea of remote control, specifically controlling equipment on the remote side of the codec link. Within the Tieline ecosystem, we offer additional services that allow our clients to take full remote control of Tieline equipment from anywhere using our Cloud Codec Controller software, however this doesn’t give studio (or other remote equipment) control. Therefore, we also provide the ability to use General Purpose Inputs and Outputs (GPIOs / Relays), and depending on the Tieline unit support for between 2 and 16 GPIOs is offered. These relays/GPIOs can be configured to:

  • Provide status of the codec.
  • Be wired to 3rd party equipment to provide some control of those devices remotely.

A common situation is the ability to trigger automation remotely by pressing a button out in the field, and with the proper hardware on your automation server (i.e. Consult your Automation Company for information about GPIOs and LIOs), this can be wired to the GPIOs of the automation server to control events or spots that could be triggered. GPIOs are great for this kind of remote control, but in a more modern environment you might not have access to GPIOs as easily, and instead you have an AoIP environment.

Tieline’s Gateway, as we’ve discussed in the past, offers a wide range of AoIP technologies built-in. Some of these technologies include Virtual LIOs as well as audio transport (i.e. Livewire+, Wheatnet-IP, Ember+). Between our LIOs and GPIOs you can map multiple tasks that can act upon connections, or just simply get packaged with the audio stream. In addition, we can even convert logic from one environment to another (i.e. Wheatstone LIOs to Livewire+ LIOs), allowing media groups to be more flexible to the specific market needs in their studio environment.

Quality of audio is important here at Tieline, but the quality of broadcast and ease of use and flexibility is equally as important. Whether you need to configure a custom audio output for a niche use-case, or you need heavy in-field processing to tailor commentary with other background sound effects, Tieline has you covered with all the gear for your remote broadcast. For more information feel free to contact us, or come by and see us soon in a city near you.

To contact Tieline sales:

(“Stand Out From the Crowd for Fall Sports Remotes”, first published on October 6th, 2023)

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