Spanish Trece-Television upgrades its IP Intercom Conexia system with Xplorer wireless beltpacks 12-05-2021

Spanish Trece-Television upgrades its IP Intercom Conexia system with Xplorer wireless beltpacks

OB coordination is handled by two SYSTEL-IP systems and a Stratos audiocodec. The AEQ central matrix also manages the broadcast audio, with over 300 inputs and outputs, and the new Xplorer system streamlines the work in the TV studios

 

TRECE TV is a DTT television channel in Spain with national programming that in 2018 renewed its image and facilities to reach a wider audience, increasing its news content.

They moved to the centre of Madrid, renovating and expanding the facilities, which now consist of two TV production studios and a central television control. For this reason, they incorporated a CONEXIA matrix from AEQ to manage all the audio and intercommunication of the studios.

TRECE TV previously had a Kroma digital intercom system with 14 user panels that opened to the outside via an AEQ Systel-IP 12 voice-over-IP coordination system. They also had an IP audio network centred around a production console and AEQ Netbox32 input and output terminals. One of the technical objectives was to integrate the previous equipment into the new system, avoiding discarding a set of equipment that are still in perfect condition.


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Intercom and audio on the same hardware: CONEXIA

 width=AEQ CONEXIA covers these objectives. It is a redundant and modular TDM bus-based audio matrix that simultaneously handles audio for broadcast in lot of different formats and 4-wire circuits for Intercom. A structure consisting of 3 AoIP modules, Dante protocol, of 64 channels each, 12 AES/EBU of 4 dual channels each and two Kroma digital intercom panel modules of 8 channels each was established. The built-in switching and processing capacity adds up to more than 300 inputs and 300 outputs in the final platform. 

The 14 Series 4000 intercom user panels from previous installations are connected to Kroma digital intercom panel modules, while the new 16 TP8000 intercom user panels are connected to AoIP circuits, allowing greater installation flexibility, along with the enhanced speech clarity developed by their new acoustic design and audio processing, both in dynamics and equalisation, and feedback control.

For external intercommunication, 24 input and output circuits have been routed from the matrix to two Systel IP VoIP equipment and a STRATOS audiocodec, as detailed beloww as audio circuits that are not used for intercom link: 

• General-purpose digital inputs and outputs on the CONEXIA chassis itself.

• Analogue and digital on the four NETBOX 32 Dante AoIP terminals with 16 analogue inputs and outputs and 8 dual AES/EBU each, installed in different locations in the studios.

• AoIP Dante links to each studio's audio console.

• Dante AoIP connections with the newsroom, where an AEQ NETBOX 4 MH interface was installed, allowing journalists to send and receive high quality audio to the matrix and consoles to intervene in the programme from their workstation, among other applications.

 

External intercom: SYSTEL IP

TRECE TV has been using Systel IP since May 2015, when a pilot test was carried out for the municipal and regional elections. The great agility of communications in a very dynamic environment made it advisable to keep the system stable, and with the transfer of facilities, the sizing of the Systel IP system was reconsidered. They acquired a second Systel IP 12 equipment and incorporated the new Systelset + terminals. 

So they now have two Systel IP12 units connected to the external 4-wire inputs and outputs of the CONEXIA matrix, which generates the external communications for the TV studios. Each can set up 11 calls in total as one line of each is dedicated to the interconnection with Systelset+. Eleven audio outputs are planned on each Systel to the intercom matrix, with an associated separate return from the matrix to the Systel IP, so that 11 4-wire circuits are established from each Systel IP to matrix. The connection between Systel IP and CONEXIA is made by digital and analogue audio.

The operator establishes communication with remote interlocutors using a Systelset + terminal, which won Radio World's "Best of the Show" award at NAB 2018. 

Compared to the classic way of controlling Systel IP, via handsets without controls and touch screens, TRECE TV staff found that Systelset + makes the process much easier, as it includes a large touch screen, supported by a large telephone keypad and 10 function keys, in a small physical support, very similar to a standard telephone. 

In a very intuitive way it is possible to execute most of the commands and operations needed during TV coordination, where most calls are generated from the studio, as with a normal telephone, as well as receiving calls and routing them through the matrix circuits either to the sound console to pass them to the air, or more frequently to a panel or group of panels to communicate with the studio interior.

Indeed, the intercom matrix can establish bidirectional routes with the console to be able to put calls on air. Although in the most common way of working, for technical coordination, so TRECE TV creates through the intercom system complex routes based on partyline with different panels, depending on the needs of each production. 

The most common application is coordination with ENG equipment via mobile phones. The journalist receives the programme and orders in his earpiece. The cameraman communicates with a partyline group that has been programmed in the matrix via a 4-wire micro headset installed in his phone.

The IP lines are received as data from the Internet provider, in full compatibility with the station's telephone exchange.

Two STRATOS audiocodecs have also been incorporated into the system, which support communications, as they can also work with ISDN lines in the event of a possible problem with the Internet.


Xplorer Wireless Intercom

 width=Five Xplorer technical intercom terminals have recently been incorporated into the technical coordination system. It is based on WiFi technology, which has allowed a very simple installation based on the access points of the WiFi infrastructure of the building. With the Conexia matrix it establishes through the wireless network a bidirectional channel with 7 KHz bandwidth, which gives the voice a great naturalness and intelligibility.

It is equipped with a user interface with 2 programmable keys, a multi-function display and 4 shortcut keys organised in pages, which can select up to 16 different destinations or functions, just like an AEQ stationary panel. In this mode, each key can activate any of the following commands: Talk, Listen, Talk&Listen, Remote One Way, Remote Both Ways, Remote Volume and Dial Call. 

This gives great operational flexibility by allowing each user to communicate in the most effective way, sending messages only to those who need to receive them, receiving only the messages they need for their work, and also allowing automated functions to be executed from the terminal. 

AEQ XPLORER is very comfortable for the user. Its dimensions and weight are reduced, protected from hits and splashes, it can be attached to a belt or hung from a strap, to use it as a shoulder strap. With autonomy for 20 hours of work, it can be recharged in a multiple base. It has a double assignable volume control, which can be configured, for example, to give direct access to the main speaker's level setting, differentiating it from the rest.

At TRECE TV these beltpacks are used for fully mobile workstations, such as television floor manager, directors and lighting assistants, but also to facilitate the movement of dynamic camera operators such as cranes or self-supporting cameras.


Conclusion

The technical and economic objectives that were set in the project all have been extended: the expansion of the system based on the technological update on IP protocol and the optimisation of equipment in use. In addition, the operation has been made more flexible and communication with mobile operators has been improved.

The audio and intercom system has been expanded to attend two studios and a central control, a high availability audio router has been incorporated, with ample processing capacity, controlled through a distributed multi-station application, the AoIP terminals that were already in use have been incorporated to distribute the inputs and outputs, the entire installation has been carried out unifying the audio and intercom with structured cabling over IP, the intercom system has been extended with new processed user panels with extraordinary sound quality and intelligibility, while maintaining the old panels, the external intercom system has been extended and, finally, mobile users have been provided with a system with the same features as those enjoyed by static users.

 

For more information about TRECE TV, its programming and activities, please visit www.trecetv.es.

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