User Report: KFM takes a leap of faith with virtual mixing

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We wanted the ability to “do radio” without a “physical radio station”

Posted: July 18, 2021

Virtual audio mixing with Axia Audio iQs virtual audio console at KFM Network.

Over the past 24 years, our small local radio station has grown from a single city to a network of 13 radio stations with studios in five cities.

Whether we were doing a live remote at a local car dealership or trying to stream live content from another city, it always involved having an operator in a local studio to monitor levels and turn channels on or off. on the map.

Then COVID struck and it became urgent to address concerns that had persisted for a very long time. Fortunately, we had researched options that would give multiple employees the flexibility to monitor, operate, and perform full control of the network from any remote location.

[Read more Radio World articles about audio consoles and mixers]

Remote control of on-air programming has been around for a long time, so this was not a problem. Remote control of the control room mixers has been around for a short time and remains an option. But to really give full control of the entire radio station (and network) to all of our on-air staff, we’ve narrowed it down to just a few options.

We wanted to be able to “do radio” without a “physical radio station”.

One of them was a clear winner. We took the plunge and ordered the Axia iQs virtual mixer. In a nutshell, the iQs is a 1RU computer that is routed to a central switch. It uses as many xNode Livewire digital network interface units as you can need, each capable of four inputs and four outputs of digital or analog audio signals as well as GPIO options, all routed to the switch.

Once set up, you have a virtual mixer that you can operate from a touchscreen in a traditional radio studio, or from a laptop in your home, or from a cell phone on your boat. You have all the capabilities of a large-scale studio (or a network of studios) and you can set up and control them from anywhere.

XNodes have a proven track record of reliability, but having a small, one-rack unit to replace a four-foot radio console with 300 wires attached was a bit of a stretch. And to think that the only cable attached to this “virtual console” was a single the width of a straw.

Getting rid of the miles of cables going to our studio and replacing a $ 20,000 18-fader digital mixer with a touchscreen monitor took a little faith. Especially when we were told we were the first station in Canada to do so.

We had anticipated a steep learning curve and were ready to spend a month converting our main studio, four sister studios and 13 broadcast sites. But Telos Alliance engineers made this system so user-friendly that we used it within seven days of installation.

Axia has made this system user definable and extensible. iQs surprises our staff with its simplicity, our engineer delighted with its flexibility and our accountant satisfied with the price.

Radio World User Reports are testimonial articles intended to help readers understand why a colleague chose a particular product to solve a technical situation.

Info: Cam Eicher of The Telos Alliance at 1-216-241-7225 or www.telosalliance.com.


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