Innovation, harmonisation, simplification


You could reasonably argue that “innovation, harmonisation and simplification” is a good motto for designers of any product to bear in mind. It is certainly true for mission critical monitoring, and it is what TSL has tried to do with its range of rack-mounted professional digital audio monitors.
Checking audio quality, and particularly levels, at various stages of the workflow is important. Viewers are particularly acutely tuned to changes in audio level, and complain loudly if there are problems. Keeping audio well balanced is an important requirement.
So for some time we have offered small and simple units which can be bolted into a rack wherever there is a need for an audio monitoring point. They accept digital audio streams or can de-embed audio from video signals. They handle surround sound and LRC signals as well as stereo and mono. Most important, as well as providing precision metering they include good quality stereo speakers for a quick qualitative check: you can hear that the sound is correct, clean and at the right comfortable level.
As part of its move to Salford Quays, BBC Sport identified a need for more capabilities, including simple mixing, alongside the monitoring points at some parts of its production chain. We looked and could not find a suitable device, so we developed our own, the AVM-TMIX, or Touchmix for short.
The requirement was for something that could de-embed audio from one or two SDI signals simultaneously, then mix this with analogue or AES signals. Obviously individual levels needed to be controlled, and the requirement also specified the ability to balance stereo signals and pan mono feeds.
This is not an unreasonable requirement: it might be the need to monitor multiple talkback feeds as well as the programme in an operational control room, for example. By extension, it could also be used in creative areas, as a simple audio mixer in an edit suite.
The basic construction – a 2U cabinet with high quality speakers – already existed in the range, as did the precision metering and digital signal processing required. What was needed was the innovation to create a practical user interface, which would be intuitive and offer the core functionality as simply and directly as possible.
The solution was to put a large 22:9 touchscreen display across most of the front panel. This shows stereo bargraphs for the 10 inputs and the master output. To control a channel simply touch it, then use the single rotary control to adjust levels and stereo position. For 5.1 signals you can group stereo channels together and down mix them automatically. This fulfils the requirement that the device should be simple, and the bargraph meters show levels.
Channels can be muted and soloed, again using touches, and single-level menus take you to routing and set-up screens. There is a front panel USB socket so set-ups can be stored on memory sticks. Programmes can build their preferred way of working and carry it with them should they be in a different studio or area next time.
Digging further into the operational requirements our first customers needed, it seemed clear that there would be applications when a single 10 channel mixer would not be enough, so we added a second identical but independent mixer into the unit. That means that, for instance, one mixer could be handling communications feeds or a foldback sub-mix while the other was controlling the programme feed.
On the other hand there are applications where the audio paths and levels need to be absolutely consistent and the device is just present for monitoring and reassurance. In these cases there is a lock-down mode in which users have no control apart from the monitor level and the ability to recall a single ‘default’ snapshot denoted by the ‘Home’ push switch.
The more you play with the Touchmix the more applications you find. The Salford Quays project has already ordered more than 80 for a whole range of areas, from creative suites to technical monitoring areas and master control.
It is a classical example of a product which is designed to tackle real-world complex tasks and make them easy. It is innovative because we could not find any other vendor making anything like this; it brings harmonisation because users can go into any one of 80 areas and know how to access the audio control; and by using the simple point at a touchscreen paradigm it is certainly simple to operate.

Tags: iss059 | tsl | salford quays | bbc sport | avm-tmix | touchmix | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • TSL at BVE 2012

    TSL at BVE 2012

  • The Latest Production Control Solution from TSL Products at IBC 2018

    The Latest Production Control Solution from TSL Products at IBC 2018

  • Latest audio product updates from TSL Products at IBC 2018

    Latest audio product updates from TSL Products at IBC 2018

  • PAM-IP and ST-2110 support from TSL at NAB 2018

    PAM-IP and ST-2110 support from TSL at NAB 2018

  • TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

    TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

  • TSL Products PAM1, SAM1 and PAM PiCo at IBC 2013

    TSL Products PAM1, SAM1 and PAM PiCo at IBC 2013

  • TSL Products at IBC 2013

    TSL Products at IBC 2013

  • TSL Systems at IBC 2013

    TSL Systems at IBC 2013

  • TSL Systems at NAB 2013

    TSL Systems at NAB 2013

  • TSL Products at NAB 2013

    TSL Products at NAB 2013

  • TSL Systems at BVE 2013

    TSL Systems at BVE 2013

  • TSL Products at BVE 2013

    TSL Products at BVE 2013

  • TSL Systems at IBC 2012

    TSL Systems at IBC 2012

  • TSL Products at IBC 2012

    TSL Products at IBC 2012

  • TSL at NAB 2012

    TSL at NAB 2012

  • TSL at BVE 2012

    TSL at BVE 2012

  • TSL at IBC2011

    TSL at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • TSL Produts on the sofa at BVE

    TSL Produts on the sofa at BVE


Articles
NEP Student Day
KitPlus The world of broadcasting is in constant flux, with undefined boundaries between broadcast, TV, film and interactive media. With a changing consumer demographic now a key influence on the industry, many companies no longer specialise in a single medium, but have had to become adaptable to deliver multiple services through a combination of media.
Tags: iss134 | students | tvfutures | NEP | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Keeping it remotely real
Reuben Such Everyone wants to do more with less. Always have, although it could be argued that doing more with more is something to aspire to, not many have that luxury. So let’s stick with the prevailing winds of doing more with less, and not just doing more, but doing it remotely, particularly in terms of production. Remote production, in particular, is getting a lot of attention in the field these days, but not so much in terms of the remote operation of fixed studios.
Tags: iss134 | remote control | IPE | IDS | Reuben Such
Contributing Author Reuben Such Click to read or download PDF
Protecting the continuity of transmission
Lorna Garrett Your viewers love you. You consistently bring them their preferred channels 24/7. They’ve come to rely on you for their viewing pleasure. They never miss cheering on their beloved sports teams. They’re the envy of their friends as they watch live concerts of their favourite bands. They gather the family around and catch up on their must-see shows. They don’t have a bad word to say about you.
Tags: iss134 | garland | gpl | streaming | artel | disaster recovery | Lorna Garrett
Contributing Author Lorna Garrett Click to read or download PDF
The Wireless Way to 4k
JP Delport DTC’s AEON group of products have been specifically designed for the 4K market. We encode with the more efficient HEVC algorithm, which means we are taking a 12G signal and compressing it to a bitrate that can be managed over an RF link. So what makes this a leading idea in the 4K revolution?
Tags: iss134 | wireless | 4k | transmission | JP Delport
Contributing Author JP Delport Click to read or download PDF
What content providers need to know about OTT
Hiren Hindocha As OTT (Over-The-Top) technology has gotten more mature and established robust standards over the years, the concept of OTT monitoring is gaining popularity. With customer expectations soaring, it’s vital for OTT providers to deliver superior quality content. To deliver Quality of Experience (QoE) on par with linear TV broadcast, the entire system, starting from ingest to multi-bitrate encoding to delivery to CDN must be monitored continuously.
Tags: iss134 | ott monitoring | qos | logging | compliance | dash | atsc | cloud | Hiren Hindocha
Contributing Author Hiren Hindocha Click to read or download PDF