Who is Wheatstone?

Broadcast Tough 
Audio mixing consoles/surfaces. IP routing and control. Audio processors. Digital editing tools.

Wheatstone's products and studio systems are designed and built specifically for the demands of broadcasting. They cover a range from smaller single-station studios to large multi-studio, multi-station complexes with a million cross-points and dozens of mixers, talent stations, and elements connected across a region.

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X5 to Include New Nielsen Audio Software Encoder

Wheatstone has been working behind the scenes with Nielsen developers! In advance of the Nielsen Audio Software Encoding release for FM stations planned for early 2021, Wheatstone has gone through the necessary testing to receive the Nielsen certification. The Audio Software Encoder will be integrated in our Aura X5 audio processor, which will be available to FM stations after the successful completion of the field evaluation conducted by Nielsen in 2021.

Wheatstone's Remote Solutions

We've always had fast and easy ways to get your show to your studio from wherever you happen to be. We've got remote solutions for virtually all of our TV consoles - even consoles that have been discontinued, as well as remote solutions for all our current radio consoles (such as the Virtual Dimension Three pictured).

Our brand new ReMIX is an inexpensive solution that works with any BLADE to give you remote mixing and logic access from anywhere. Check out our wide selection. And we have more coming all the time. 

SEE REMOTE SOLUTIONS

REMIX

Click Here for a Comparison Chart of All Wheatstone Remote Solutions
CONTAINERIZATION, ALTERNATIVE TO VIRTUALIZATION

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By Scott Gerenser and Andy Calvanese

One term popping up more and more in the cloud space is "containerization." If you're paying attention to the trends in cloud computing, you've probably heard about it, or at least about the most popular container platform, Docker.

Containerization is becoming a popular alternative to virtualization for running many different applications on a single machine or cloud instance. It has many of the benefits of virtualization but without some of the downsides, which makes it useful for transitioning from a fixed-location studio to a virtual operation.

Whereas virtualization involves emulating an entire machine, including the hardware and operating system, containerization involves encapsulating one or more applications and supporting files (so called "userspace" in Linux lingo) into containers that can then run on top of a single common operating system (usually Linux).

Continue reading about containerization

For example, in a virtualization scenario, you might have a server running VMWare ESXi hypervisor software, upon which are four Unbuntu Linux virtual machines for Service X, two Red Hat Linux VMs for Service Y, and a couple of Windows 10 Server VMs to handle any Windows applications you have.

Using virtualization this way still provides big benefits over maintaining multiple physical machines. Administration is easier. Spinning up a new server or changing configurations of the individual VMs is much easier than tinkering with hardware. Communication between the VMs is very fast and efficient. The downside, as compared to containerization, is the relatively large overhead associated with virtualization. This is because each VM is running a complete OS kernel, each with their own dedicated memory and each using up a percentage of your CPU to mostly do a lot of the same things.

Containerization, by comparison, also allows the running of a number of different isolated services on one machine, but within containers rather than full virtual machines. Conceptually, a container can be thought of as a very lightweight, resource efficient VM. One container could host WheatNet-IP audio drivers and audio playback software, while another could host the station automation system, each totally isolated yet run off the same OS kernel. Because each container operates independently of the others, you can avoid unintended interactions between software components and eliminate a single point of failure. Each application or container communicates with the others only through their defined APIs. The container virtualization layer is extremely flexible and can scale up to meet rising demand for any of the services. Once you define what services are running in one or more containers, it’s possible to move those containerized services between on-premise machines and the public cloud. This allows you to more easily scale services locally at your regional studio or in a cloud provider such as AWS or Azure.

And unlike with virtualization, there is no extra supervisory overhead to contend for resources, and containerization platforms are even able to run on top of virtualization platforms. This last point is critical for long term planning, since Amazon, Microsoft and other public cloud providers are already running hypervisor software on their cloud instances. Attempting to add your own VM hypervisor on top of a cloud provider's machine instance may work poorly, or not at all. Containers, by contrast, work well on just about all the cloud providers and instance types. Most providers even offer tools to make it easy to manage and coordinate your containers running in their cloud.

Fundamentally, containerization and virtualization are two different ways of doing the same thing. Having several containers running separate services pushed up to a cloud won’t solve issues such as communication latency over the internet, but it will offer some added security protection, flexibility, and let you allocate resource more efficiently, which is the point of the cloud after all.

Scott Gerenser is a Senior Software Engineer at Wheatstone Corporation. View Gerenser’s presentation Studio Elasticity, from Hardware to Virtual to Cloud, right below this article.

AOIP. FROM HERE TO THE CLOUD.

AoIP From Here To The Cloud

 

Virtualization or cloud access is a very good example of what can happen when we combine AoIP with enterprise technology.

Currently, there are a number of cloud service providers, each with unique APIs, service level agreements and cost structures. The critical components of cloud systems include IP connectivity and supervisory software to manage access to virtual machines, which is fairly mature and in use by enterprises today.

But for broadcast purposes, we need to add two other critical components to that list:

• Audio encoding for bandwidth optimization
• AoIP control for system operation and management

Wheatstone has AoIP appliances for the WheatNet-IP audio network that include these critical components. With these additions, broadcasters can transport high-quality programming as well as the routing and control critical for full studio operation between sites.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

VIRTUALIZATION BEGINS HERE

TownsquareGlass

Virtualization began when we replaced sound cards with audio drivers, which effectively let us network audio with control functions together. Inside every WheatNet-IP audio driver are virtual general-purpose logic I/Os that can be queried by automation scripts and routed along with audio signals to perform control functions.

At the same time, we put mixing as a service on the network.

I/O BLADE units that make up the WheatNet-IP audio network have two stereo 8x2 internal mixers, each of which can be used as a source or input to the system and therefore are very useful for grouping several mics to a single output, talkback, or other purpose.

These and other AoIP developments led the way to virtual mixers and an assortment of UIs now hanging off the network. Some WheatNet-IP audio network interfaces are simple standalone virtual consoles, others are tapthrough screens on a tablet, and still others are physical consoles with soft buttons that can be changed as easily as any virtual UI. Wheatstone offers them all, and what we haven’t created yet, broadcasters can create themselves using our ScreenBuilder app.

READ THE ENTIRE STORY

Where Scripters Meet

Are you a ScreenBuilder or ConsoleBuilder power user? Register and log onto our Scripters Forum. This is a new meeting place for anyone interested in developing new screens and workflows for our WheatNet-IP audio network. Share scripts, screen shots and ideas with others also developing virtual news desks, control panels, and signal monitors.

You’ll find documents, starter scripts and a whole knowledge base available to you for making customized screens like those pictured.

Click to register for our Scripters Forum (it's free)

ScreenBuilderRebuild

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RADIO AUDIO CONSOLES

Wheatstone is all about radio. Cool consoles and mixers. Intelligent audio IP studio networking and routing. PR&E Consoles. VoxPro recording and editing. AM and FM on-air processors that rock both loud AND clean.

TV AUDIO CONSOLES

When you think of TV audio, you think of Wheatstone. Our consoles are the control centers for the finest facilities in the world. WheatNet-IP audio networking is becoming THE standard for interconnect.

AUDIO PROCESSING

Only Wheatstone offers processors with the surgical precision of 31-band processing! Sound shaping for FM, AM, HD, television, webcasting, podcasting, mastering or live audio.

VOXPRO AUDIO RECORDER & EDITOR

For live, on-air recording and real-time editing, there's no better solution than VoxPro.

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