With over 1,200 students a year enrolled on a range of courses from television and radio, to visual and animation, Salford University is well known for preparing students for the realities of the media industry. Central to this preparation are its dedicated studios, opened in 2011, which offer students practical experience and are also used by industry veterans including the BBC and ITV.
Since their opening, the studios have evolved Salford University’s capabilities substantially. Where previously they had one single older 4 camera, 4 mic system, the university now houses 3 industry compliant TV studios and a vast array of cameras, lighting and audio solutions.
“In this space we produce everything from 1 on 1 interviews all the way through to performances of 18-piece Latin bands. We have a large variety of different shows that come in and out. It’s not only for the students, it’s also for working with commercial clients like the BBC, CBEEBIES and ITV,” commented Ash Tidball, the TV studio manager.
Revolutionising the studio’s audio
In the summer of 2019, Ash and the team (Joseph John, Liz Starkie and Ben Jackson) turned their focus to audio equipment. The studios needed a current, professional and reliable system, with top of the range performance, design and engineering.
“The university tries to mirror the industry as much as possible, not only in what the academics bring from the outside world in terms of production, presenting and educating, but we also have people like us, Creative Technical Demonstrators, that are bringing in skill sets from the Live Broadcast and Engineering industry. We need to mirror the industry so we can prepare our students to have the transferable skills they need for their jobs in the real world later on,” explained Tidball.
After extensive research and testing, the team decided to invest in the new SONY DWX Gen3 Digital Wireless Series, installing the range across Salford University’s 3 TV studios.
“The Sony DWX series was something that we felt was needed for the studio, not just as a new microphones system, but for the network capabilities it offers. It was further needed for the robustness and the quality of features offered,” continued Tidball.
The Sony DWT-B03R wireless microphone bodypack transmitter, for example, is known as the most robust of its kind. With a strong magnesium-alloy casing, resistant to rain, spray and sweat; and weighing under 100g, it’s perfect for round-the-clock operation in a wide variety of applications at Salford’s busy studios.
Future proof solutions and students
Since completing the installation, Salford University has been highly impressed with the solution’s performance.
Drawing on 60 years of heritage as a leader in the professional audio category, the DWX Series includes an advanced Sony codec design to assure superb audio quality, with a high dynamic range of more than 106dB and excellent transient response. Further features such as support for high density multi-channel operation, accommodating up to 21 channels per 8MHz TV band, make the solution perfect for a diverse range of productions.
“It’s fantastic to see Salford University’s dedication to providing students with a truly representative experience of the broadcast industry while exceeding the expectations of their commercial clients. The DWX Gen3 Digital Wireless Series offers rock-solid reliability in any audio environment and is a perfect fit for today’s audio-over-IP AV workflows – increasingly an industry standard. Entering work with experience of these systems will provide a real boost to the next generation of broadcast professionals Salford University is training,” commented James Leach, product manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe.
“We replaced the existing system with Sony solutions and now no longer have issues with dropouts and disconnects or white out noise; things that were happening in a space where they shouldn’t be happening. Our new Sony DWX Series transmitters and receivers are extremely versatile, offer fantastic audio quality, are future proof and, keeping our students in mind, robust! With hundreds of student studio users each year, we needed asystemthat offered cutting-edge features alongside reliability. The quality has surpassed our old system, delivering clarity for every studio situation. Itreflects the growing standards of the industry and will provide us with bright and reliable audio recordings for many years to come,” concluded Tidball.
Salford University is a facility for everyone whether students or professionals. In fact, the organisation could be viewed as closer to a training centre for the industry than a traditional school. With a new Sony system, Salford University can not only capture extremely high quality, reliable and professional wireless audio for their diverse range of productions but also set students up with the skills they need to kick start successful careers in broadcast.