With its brand new waterfront headquarters in downtown Toronto, which heralds the resurgence of the East Bayfront District, Corus Entertainment takes evident pride in being state-of-the-art.
The company’s eight-story LEED Gold-certified Corus Quay building consolidates operations from 11 locations, including three radio stations and 24 television services, and brings together 1,100 Toronto-area employees. Touted as North America's most advanced broadcast facility, Corus Quay features a fully integrated digital infrastructure for broadcast and digital content creation. The system integration for the broadcast facility was handled by The Systems Group of Hoboken, NJ, who contracted Bexel to provide its wireless engineering expertise.
With six TELEX BTR-80N wireless base stations, each with 24 TR-82N dual-channel belt packs in operation for the new facility working in conjunction with 20 wireless microphones and 16 wireless IFB systems throughout the space, Bexel’s Distributed Antenna System allows maximum coverage facility wide.
In addition to being a worldwide provider of broadcast services, including video and audio equipment rentals, fiber services, new audio sales, used equipment sales, and repairs/maintenance, Bexel also has had a strong history in wireless support for the broadcast industry since it purchased the former Systems Wireless in 1998. “Wireless is our specialty,” says Bexel’s senior project engineer, Jim Dugan. “We often work with The Systems Group on facilities where they are the integrator; they bring us in to do the work specifically on the wireless portion of a project. We design, install and commission the entire RF system for the facility. We like the TELEX BTR products because they’re robust, extremely durable, and reliable. The BTR’s have definitely proven their worth over the years.”
At Corus Quay, The Systems Group provided an RTS ADAM digital matrix as the heart of its intercom system, which interfaces directly via four wireswith the TELEX BTR-80N wireless intercom base stations. “The TELEX BTR-80N’s integrate seamlessly with the ADAM frame,” Dugan explains. “It’s such a perfect virtual wireless extension of the intercom’s functionality. TELEX has made many enhancements on interfacing with the BTR-80N. It’s very easy to get around and very simple to interface either two-wire or four-wire. There’s also a very convenient aux Input on the base, which can be used as a program input.”
The wireless intercoms used are six TELEX BTR-80N narrow band 2-channel UHF synthesized wireless base stations. The new narrowband design simplifies frequency coordination and planning because of its more efficient use of spectrum. “You can, in effect, get more beltpack frequencies to take advantage of as much spectrum as possible, especially in the ever-popular and changing UHF spectrum,” added Dugan.
To illustrate the practical benefits of this spectral efficiency, Dugan also makes clear that the intercom at Corus has to operate in an environment that is shared with 20 wireless microphones and 16 IFB systems for wireless foldback to talent. “The BTR-80N base stations transmit on two frequencies,” he says, “and if you have four beltpacks then you have another four frequencies being transmitted back to the base. So for each station we use six frequencies, and with six stations that makes 36 frequencies – just for intercom. It’s because the TELEX narrowband systems are so efficient that we’re able to use that many channels without interfering with the mics or the IFB.”
In addition to the narrowband design, Dugan cites several other features that make the TELEX system his intercom of choice. “It’s a two-channel system,” he says, “which is phenomenal for TV, because you often want to offer the ability for individual level and keying control simultaneously on two channels, like the stage managers who may also want to talk on a production channel.”
The TR-82N wireless belt packs also have a Stage Announce feature which conveniently allows production staff to hit a button on the pack and talk directly to a PA system for audience coordination. “The TR-82Ns also have a wireless talk-around feature,” Dugan adds, “so all the belt packs can talk to each other without going back through the base. This lets production relay messages on the floor without disrupting the control room. The beltpacks also have an RF auto power-control setting, which will adjust power as needed. Depending on your distance from the base, this feature both reduces the chance of intermix and also gives you much more efficient use on battery life.”
The TELEX BTR-80N bases, wireless mics, and IFB systems are all connected to a distributed antenna system custom-built by Bexel. The distributed antenna system services eight separate zones in the building, including four studios, various green rooms, and hallways. According to Dugan, “The distributed antenna system lets us extend the range into eight times as many places as any one base station would reach on its own. The TELEX system works great with a distributed antenna topology because of TELEX’s band management strategy, in which the transmit and receive frequencies are 100 MHz apart. That makes TELEX intercom systems perfect for large-building installations.” We are very proud of the work we do with The Systems Group and are always grateful for the opportunities they provide us.