8 Things You Need to Know About IP Consoles


Lower-Console-CropWe’re going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably can’t keep your hands to yourself in a studio showroom. You have to work the faders, right? And there’s no stopping you from touching at least one control button. There’s just something about that subtle “click” of the controls and the way those Penny & Giles glide up and down.

Are we right?

Yeah, we’ve been known to cop a feel every now and then, too, and we make them — hundreds of Wheatstone and Audioarts consoles every year.

We don’t need to tell you that the newer IP consoles, or control surfaces, have pretty much the same look and feel as the first radio console you laid your eyes – and hands — on. But in case you haven’t noticed, and we bet you have, there are some rather radical differences between the analog consoles of the past and the newer IP audio network control surfaces of today.

For starters, there’s no audio on those faders. You can scrub all early memory of wiring audio up to a fader module. All of that is now virtual in the network, along with everything else. Here are eight things you need to know about IP control surfaces.

  1. A/B sources? How about A-Z and then some? Every channel on the IP control surface has access to every source in the network, so that whole fixed, hard-wired A/B concept has gone where lost luggage goes. You’ll never see it again.
  2. Mixing counts. Number of sources? Not so much. How many sources you’re likely to mix at any given time is the important number now that sources are ubiquitous across the network. That translates to a much smaller board for, say, a television studio that might bring in 50 sources but rarely has more than 12 faders up at a time.
  3. Mono counts, too. No need to waste a stereo pair when a discrete mono feed to the console will do. That’s the beauty of a Wheatstone or Audioarts networked console, which isn’t hardwired for stereo across the board and leaves all those details at the BLADE access unit.
  4. Networks talk. If you’ve done your homework, the IP control surface should talk directly to the automation playout server for crossfading between songs and turning faders on/off. It all happens through Ethernet, eliminating the soundcard, the GPIO and any associated hardwiring.
  5. Logic is everywhere. In the WheatNet-IP world, logic no longer lives on the board. It’s part of the source. Sources come to the board complete with all their start/stop and remote control logic.
  6. Say goodbye to sound abuse. EQ and mic processing is no longer on the console, and instead is under the security of the network. For experimental jocks, it may as well be in the next county.
  7. Say hello to some R&R. If you change formats, you don’t have to rewire the building. Anymore, it’s just a matter of changing a few presets on the control surface.
  8. The console (gasp) is no longer at the center of the universe. It can be anywhere you want it to be, actually. Some broadcasters prefer not to carry a mixer while doing field reports and some don’t want to bother with a console in the voiceover booth, for example. Instead, they remotely mix to a Wheatstone or Audioarts control surface back at the studio or in another room using our Glass-E virtual mixer interface on their laptops or PCs.

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