Urban Brew Studios: A new era in analogue to digital transformation.

Urban Brew Studios: A new era in analogue to digital transformation.

Urban Brew Studios, for the last 30 years, has been one of the leading facilities providers to the television industry. In 2018, they moved to new premises at Ferndale on Republic, Randburg. With the move came the opportunity to upgrade most of their hardware to all-new HD equipment.

Urban Brew Studios: A new era in analogue to digital transformation.

The key specification for the audio solution was the ability to share resources across the entire facility. Based on this and other requirements Wild & Marr proposed a Studer solution which was able to meet these benchmarks whilst maintaining an efficient and logical workflow. A turnkey audio solution was provided through Wild & Marr’s broad portfolio of products.

In place are three audio booths each with a Studer Vista 1 – 22 fader Black Edition Console. The consoles are linked to a Studer D23m Digital I/O System via fibre in Urban Brew’s data centre.

The D23m is a modular I/O frame which is capable of handling 1536×1536 Input and Output channels. Each studio has a Studer Compact Stagebox installed which is also connected to the D23m System via MADI (Multichannel Audio Digital Interface) optical. Every stagebox can provide 64×64 channels I/O when fully populated. A Studer Infinity Core was installed to add DSP (Digital Sound Processing) to the D23m frame.

The Studer Infinity Core comes in a variety of sizes dependent on the client’s needs and two Studer Infinity Cores can be installed to provide full redundancy. The Studer Infinity Core installed at Urban Brew Studios can handle four A-Link connections, which means one can connect four D23m Digital I/O Systems to one core providing 6144×6144 channels. With larger Infinity Cores you can get up to eleven A-Link ports and be able to handle the DSP of 1000 MEQ (Mono Equivalent Channels) at one time. (you can do the maths on the channel count yourself)

Concerning resource sharing, Studer has an I/O sharing system called RELINK, which breaks down into RE (resource) LINK (linking). To achieve this, a Virtual Vista Console capable of managing all cross-point patching between the Studer equipment was programmed.

The result is that the connected Studer Vista Consoles can access every piece of hardware connected to the audio ecosystem. Each compact stagebox is available and RELINK makes it possible for multiple Studer consoles to connect to one stagebox at a time. One console will oversee the mic pre-amp control and the other consoles will be able to use Digital Trim. Pre-Amp control can be given to any console by the push of a button.

In the old analogue days, integration between audio and video was limited but in the digital age (4IR) this can all be seamlessly integrated. Whilst Studer has a wide array of expansion cards that can be installed into a D23m frame, Wild & Marr decided on MADI as the protocol to handle the integration between the audio and video router. Two MADI links were installed, thus providing 128×128 inputs and outputs between the audio and video router, providing more than enough channels for video playback as well as standard or multi-track recording.

Each audio booth has audio playback systems called ENCO HotShots, which can play out 4 discrete stereo channels of audio. (This can be bed music or stings all at the same time.) RTW TM3 units were supplied for the audio operators to measure loudness. These were chosen because of their small footprint.

Tascam SS-CDR250N players were installed for any CD or USB media requirements. These units can play and record media and can also be connected via GPIO triggers for fader start etc.

Comrex STAC Hybrid systems were installed for their callers which operate with SIP trunk lines from their PBX. Studer Vista makes it very simple to run N-1 busses into the Comrex STAC.

Monitoring in the audio booths and control rooms are handled by JBL LSR 305 monitors. In the studio’s JBL EON615 loudspeakers on stands were supplied for their audio quality and portability able to be moved from studio to studio on a production by production basis.

Due to the mission-critical nature of live television, RF dropout can’t be afforded. Shure’s class-leading Axient Digital Wireless solution for the microphones was supplied as well as PSM300’s for presenter IFB. 3x 6RU racks with 3x Shure Axient Quad Receivers, an Antenna Distributor and a PSM300 IEM (In-Ear Monitoring) unit in each was supplied. Shure’s Axient Digital system has Dante capability and is networked to the Dante cards installed into two of the Studer stage boxes. Each of these is capable of 32 channels of Dante over Ethernet, eliminating the need for microphone cables.

Shure Wireless Workbench was installed in the audio booths to remotely view and control the wireless RF, battery levels of the bodypack and handheld wireless microphones etc.

“Those in the TV Broadcast Industry that say ‘Audio follows Video’ should experience this Audio Ecosystem in action…” commented Dwaine Schreuder (Wild & Marr’s Pre-Sales Broadcast Engineer) beaming with pride.

Wild & Marr’s MD Gary Furman concluded: “It’s always a pleasure to work with a professional organization like Urban Brew. All specifications were clearly stated, and this allowed for an accurate proposal from Wild & Marr which met all requirements. The integration of the system was seamless due to clear lines of communication between Urban Brew’s and our engineers. Overall a project that all parties are most proud of!”

Wild & Marr are proud to have been part of Urban Brew’s journey into the digital era.