Radio 3ZZZ has installed Tieline Merlins as Studio Links. Brian King tells us why these codecs were selected.
Radio 3ZZZ, the largest and most diverse speaking language radio station in Australia needed a solution to upgrade their Studio Transmitter Link (STL). This came about due to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) “restacking” of the STL link band 845 – 849Mhz.
As Melbourne Australia is very busy RF wise, and we transmit from one of the major TV/FM sites, we could not get a reallocation in the band. The only alternatives we had at our disposal was to move into a different licenced band, or explore the use of a dedicated fibre link. Unfortunately, a dedicated fibre link was out of the question at the time, as the National Broadband Network (NBN) fibre wasn’t installed in the area. We had an ADSL line to the site, but that was less than satisfactory to run a 24/7 service.
So this landed us back with option of either an Analog RF link, or a High powered IP Wireless link. After more consultation, we decided to go with the IP link (NEC).
This is where the Tieline Merlins came into the picture. As most of our studio plant is analog, and our main program output is analog, we needed to convert Analog Audio to IP. At the transmitter end, once again Tieline Merlins convert IP to AES. We are running PCM encoding with only 80ms delay. We use the return audio from the Tieline Merlins for confidence monitoring in Master Control. As they have main and redundant power supplies, we have one plugged straight into the mains and the 2nd is running through a UPS at both ends
We have employed 4 Merlin codecs in total in a 2 x 2 configuration, and by using managed Switches / Routers, have come up with a system that will seamlessly switch from main to backup codec, or main IP wireless link to backup ADSL link if there is a failure. A nice feature is that we can monitor remotely using the Tieline Toolbox web-GUI and can receive an alert if something goes down.
The links have been running for over 6 months now and have been super reliable with minimum packet loss. Our station runs Tieline gear exclusively including i-Mixes, G3 rack units, and Bridge-ITs. All very reliable.
For more information about Merlin and other Tieline codecs, visit http://www.tieline.com/merlin