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The first worldwide studio on the go with a portable audio codec

The first worldwide studio on the go with a portable audio codec

SUCESS STORY – RADIO MEGA

The first worldwide studio on the go with a portable audio codec

The Radio Mega Challenge

The goal of Radio Mega is to “make a link with the people”. Despite having a full-fledged studio in Valence, and another one in Romans sur-Isère, the station had very limited contact with the ground. Raphael Terribile, radio director and music pro- grammer from the station had the idea of creating a studio on a bicycle.

“Radio Mega conceived this studio-bike idea to broadcast and strengthen the projects within the territory to a wider audience.”

The success of this studio-bike, from the idea to the technical realization, is due to the perfect synergy of different assets. It started with the acquisition of a bike with electric assistance and its transformation to include a wooden canopy and seating. Meanwhile, the question of broadcasting was the most important point. The mobile studio must be able to stream reliably from anywhere, and sometimes even while on the move.

Digigram delivered 2 products, an IQOYA X / LINK AES67 – to be compatible with the Axia console in livewire – which can receive the stream in the studio, and an IQOYA TALK on the studio-bike to broadcast the stream. On 23rd, June, for the release of the bike-show, the IQOYA TALK fulfilled its mission with flying colors: it streamed for 7 hours and 30 minutes using cellular networks.

After that, radio Mega organized a five-day tour of the Drome region with the studio-bike, which was a great success: Radio Mega was able to stream comfortably thanks to the dual built-in 4G module and 2 hot-swappable batteries.

The easy user-interface is ideal and simple for a field reporter. The ergonomy, functionality, and “usability” was designed to be maximized.

IQOYA TALK works with a very simple touchscreen with icons, just like a smartphone. “I just have to plug my microphone and click a button to connect my TALK to the radio. I’m going to the town square market to cover a story and I have the option to simply record or broadcast” says Bastien Enard. The audacious studio-bike, conceived by Radio Mega and powered by Digigram creates a perfect synergy that has a bright future.

Discover more stories with IQOYA TALK on

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Being a reporter in times of lockdown = challenge accepted!

Being a reporter in times of lockdown = challenge accepted!

BEING A REPORTER IN TIMES OF LOCKDOWN = CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Remote broadcasting – Audio-over-IP

A smart trick and flawless broadcasts from home thanks to Digigram’s IQOYA Guest Preview.

Basically, reporters’ job is to “report”, therefore they need to be on the field (preferably with an IQOYA Talk) to meet real situations and craft the news. But, in times of nation-wide lockdowns, when social distancing is a golden rule, how do reporters… Report?

Bypassing this new (and hopefully, temporary) normal and reporting from a comfy couch or cluttered garage is a thing: countless images have flourished over the web, depicting journalists happily working from home, with a ton of equipment imported from their usual studio.

However, shipping equipment to each journalist’s place and ensure a smooth news service is sometimes beyond possible. 

At Digigram, we have come up with a ridiculously easy trick – simply hijacking our IQOYA Guest Preview service and turning it into remote reporters’ best companion (beside the coffee shot)! Basically, that hands-down service was designed to host remote guests during a show or broadcast. Whether using a smartphone, tablet or being interviewed from a computer, the guest needs absolute no knowledge of any radio-specific tools, tunings and features.

All it takes is a reliable internet connexion and a web browser. Sound quality for the stream transmission is top notch (you know how much we care about sound quality) and the service has the simplest configuration.

Turning IQOYA Guest preview into a work sidekick is an easy-peasy operation that requires only minimal equipment. This lightweight solution takes no more than 4 steps:

#1 Choose the best place to broadcast

Is it your sofa? Your desk? The kitchen counter? You may roam your home to find the most convenient setting for your computer or smartphone as a scenery for your upcoming broadcast.

#2 Fix yourself a warm drink

Carefully choose the mug for your home made cappuccino – if you were to make a selfie while broadcasting, you’d certainly want to look at your best. So, discard that good ol’ chipped mug you received for your 12th birthday.

#3 Clear the place

Kick the kids or the cat out of the place (but #stayhome anyway, ok?) – This is your workplace, after all. And you are about to broadcast your regular show.

#4 Open your favourite browser

Launch IQOYA Guest. Log in. Sip some coffee. Click on CALL to connect to the studio. Take another sip. Mic on. You are on air.

Discover IQOYA GUEST and broadcast from home (or wherever you want) today!

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IQOYA SERV/LINK: the most powerful AoIP codec in the world

IQOYA SERV/LINK: the most powerful AoIP codec in the world

IQOYA SERV/LINK: The most powerful AoIP codec in the world

Distribution – remote broadcasting – Infrastructure – Audio-over-IP

s

ince 1985, Digigram has innovated in the development of sound processing software and hardware. From the famous PCX3 to its solutions for SIP infrastructures, discover 35 years of history at the heart of this company on the border between IT and audio.

SERV/LINK: one Rack Unit. No compromise.

In 2009, Digigram invented the first stereo audio codec dedicated to transport over IP networks which natively integrated the redundant streaming function on two separate networks.

Always at the forefront of research, Digigram sensed the need to go further in the design of its codecs. In order to develop a tool that would bring an indisputable advantage to the broadcaster, Digigram put the “user” above everything else. 

While radios already offered several simultaneous audio programs, Digigram chose to propose a codec with high channel density in only 1U. This codec had to manage talk-back channels and commentaries via IP. It had to support remote broadcasting of programs between remote studios and generate multiple WEB radio streams for CDNs. This led to the creation of IQOYA SERV/LINK, an extremely reliable and compact codec. 

This new generation codec was the first IP audio codec in the market to offer as many channels in 1U. IQOYA SERV/LINK accommodates Digigram’s professional audio cards and relies on the Fluid IP™ streaming engine developed by the brand. It is available in several versions with different format compatibility: MADI / AES67 / AES / EBU / DANTE / Analog.

The functional scope of the IQOYA SERV/LINK was then extended to support MPEG-TS streaming, followed by applications using DVB Audio transport and then for simultaneous live remote broadcasting applications.

In the “remote broadcasting” configuration, it is the only IP audio codec in the market capable of managing up to 64 mono or stereo full-duplex IP streams, regardless of the audio encoding format and the audio connectivity.

In the “program distribution” configuration, it is the only IP audio codec in the market which supports up to 128 mono, multiple-format, input and output channels with the possibility to simultaneously encode, decode and transcode IP audio streams.

Two redundant hot-swappable power batteries and the 1 + 1 redundancy functionality make the IQOYA SERV / LINK a very secure and reliable, program distribution (WEB radios, DVB Audio, FM) and remote broadcasting (commentaries, talk-back channels, inter-studio links) codec.

For more than 10 years, Digigram’s IP codecs have been used for the distribution of radio programs. More than 10,000 IQOYA are currently in operation 24/7 all over the planet.

They are known for their reliability and versatility, as well as for the resilience of the audio connections they enable. Digigram has put all its know-how and passion to perfect its codecs IQOYA X/LINK and IQOYA SERV/LINK ranges.

Bridging LAN Audio to external WAN: Security is key

Remote broadcasting, on-field coverage, live game commentary, audio distribution to transmitters or web radios – the audio production environment has multiple forms. These streams traditionally travel through dedicated analog/AES-EBU audio infrastructures. Those legacy infrastructures use audio codecs to interconnect the audio world with the Wide Area IP network – among which is Internet. Within a traditional company IT infrastructure, codecs are designed to remain in the so-called DMZ, the first security layer and farthest possible ‘exclusion zone’ from the company’s sensitive data – the latter being lodged into a ‘privileged zone’, a deep layer heavily protected by firewalls.

Simplifying and Reinforcing a DVB multiplex generation workflow with only 2 AoIP codecs

RCF is a network of Christian associative radios, which includes 64 stations in France and Belgium, followed by 630,000 listeners every day. It is the 1st independent generalist radio network of proximity in France. RCF offers local and national programs, implemented by 300 employees and 3000 volunteers, and is available in 5 broadcasting modes (FM, Mobile, Internet, Podcast and DAB +).The national structure, based in Lyon, generates the national program (20h of program / day) and the local radios broadcast 4h of their own program, according to a schedule common to all the radios.

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The first worldwide studio on the go with a portable audio codec

While radios already offered several simultaneous audio programs, Digigram chose to propose a codec with high channel density in only 1U. This codec had to manage talk-back channels and commentaries via IP. It had to support remote broadcasting of programs between remote studios and generate multiple WEB radio streams for CDNs. This led to the creation of IQOYA SERV/LINK, an extremely reliable and compact codec.

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At last – a simple solution for MPX signal transport over IP!

At last – a simple solution for MPX signal transport over IP!

At last – a simple solution for MPX signal transport over IP!

Distribution – Infrastructure – Multiplex – Transmitter

D

igigram has developed a solution to transport composite MPX signals from the studio over an IP network with the same quality and reliability as a point-to-point link.

MPX (multiplex) is the composite signal dedicated to the transmitter site. It is the only signal accepted by the transmitter (exciter) for FM diffusion, and it is traditionally delivered via a point-to-point link.

What are the main differences for an MPX signal delivery, between an IP wireless point-to point-link, and an IP network link?

There are two distinct advantages of an MPX-over-IP transport solution for broadcasters:

The first is a significant gain in flexibility and scalability; and the second is a reduction in equipment to be maintained and deployed on the transmitter sites. However, to ensure the same levels of quality and reliability over an IP network as for a point-to-point link, attention needs to be paid to IP transport and jitter mastering.

IP mastering

Built on the universally acclaimed IQOYA audio-over-IP platform, Digigram has developed a highly reliable solution allowing broadcasters to deliver MPX signals over IP networks.   All the mechanisms that have helped to make IQOYA a worldwide success for rock-solid audio-over-IP streaming have been deployed for MPX transport over IP. That includes FEC, dual streaming with time diversity, network jitter mastering, and smart synchronisation on the incoming stream. Plus, additional smart features have been added, such as decoder synchronisation for MFN, and auxiliary data tunnelling.

Jitter mastering

Why is it important to master the jitter? Mastering the jitter guarantees the same reliability as a point-to-point link. That means that transporting MPX signal can be achieved either via point-to-point or over an IP network depending on the broadcaster’s requirements.

Data rate mastering

MPX is a composite signal, hence smart codec design requires far less dynamic range than baseband audio. For instance for Audio stereo + RDS, 144 kHz sample rate @12 bits encoding with analog transmission leads to a very acceptable 2 Mb/s instead of the usual 3.3 Mb/s or more. With AES192 digital MPX transport 2.6 Mb/s can in addition transport an auxiliary subcarrier.

Conclusion:

The IQOYA hardware codec is a highly versatile codec for program delivery. It delivers analog or digital baseband audio or MPX through point-to-point or IP networks links. These baseband audio links are distributed to FM transmitter sites, web radio CDN, and/or DVB multiplexers for satellite, and DAB encoders for digital radio.

Digigram is proud to be one of the few in the world able to transport MPX over IP network with a very high jitter resilience and acceptable bandwidth.

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Five benefits of using a SaaS application for radio outside broadcasting

Five benefits of using a SaaS application for radio outside broadcasting

Five benefits of using a SaaS application for radio outside broadcasting

Contribution – Infrastructure – Application

The high expectations of today’s audiences are driving up content quality. Listener interests, rather than technical constraints, now dictate the nature of content being produced. Looking at these trends as a whole, broadcasters are seeking more flexible outside broadcasting (OB) solutions capable of supporting enriched content creation. Software as a service (SaaS) applications are becoming increasingly popular because they bring a high ease of use while reducing overall costs. Here are five other good reasons for using SaaS for OB.

1. Less money spent on equipment

Thanks to the SaaS model, there is no need to invest in costly equipment or infrastructure. In addition to enabling users to generate a broadcast-quality interview from any connected device, certain SaaS applications are available on a pay-as-you-go model that further reduces costs.

2. More time for content, less for setup

Accessible directly from a web browser and available after a few clicks, a SaaS application can eliminate the need for a technician to set up interviews. Because technical requirements are reduced to their minimum, journalist or producer staff have the freedom to focus on producing quality content instead of sweating over technical matters.

3. Upgrade or downgrade as needed

The best broadcasting SaaS applications give users the ability to extend the number of contributors to a program, adding and removing contributors with ease. This makes a SaaS OB application the perfect tool for radio stations’ editorial managers!

4. Maximum flexibility

Functions such as master control room (MCR) codec operation may be distributed to each studio or centralized according to the workflow habits of each radio station. Accessible from any connected browser on a local PC or a nomadic device, the simplified operation enabled by the SaaS model can allow the technical team to be more adaptable and agile.

5. Automatic synchronous update to the latest versions

A SaaS application for audio OB productions is a time-saver. Technical setup time is minimized because it is simply not needed anymore. Furthermore, certain SaaS applications dedicated to radio broadcasting provide automatic updates and allow users to benefit simultaneously from all the latest versions and options.

Conclusion:

Broadcast professionals are looking for simple, reliable solutions that will help them to create enriched audio content. Where they previously needed a mobile studio, technicians, and expensive or bulky equipment, they now need only a laptop, the internet and a professional SaaS application in order to maintain broadcast quality, performance and continuity of service.

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Three Tips for Setting Up and Managing a Standard and AES67 Network

Three Tips for Setting Up and Managing a Standard and AES67 Network

Three Tips for Setting Up and Managing a Standard and AES67 Network

Contribution – Infrastructure – Studio

A lthough large radio stations and groups typically have the resources to develop dedicated networks for AES67 (IP audio) and for corporate traffic, small and mid-sized stations often need to pursue a less-expensive approach. Here we provide three recommendations that help smaller radio broadcasters ensure the peaceful coexistence of AES67 audio-over-IP (AoIP) traffic and standard network traffic on a single network.

Seamless Handling of AoIP and Standard Traffic on One Network

The AES67 standard makes AoIP protocols such as Dante, Livewire and Ravenna interoperable, in turn simplifying connectivity and reducing hardware and overall clutter. To identify the requirements of handling and optimizing AoIP traffic and standard traffic — web, video transfers, and corporate data — on one network, we examined the interoperability of AES67-compatible products from four different manufacturers and then created three recommendations for small and mid-sized radio broadcasters in setting up and managing AES67 (IP audio) on an existing network.

In short, we recommend the use of Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) snooping protocol to distribute predictable bandwidth on a high number of streams; installation of PTP (Precision Time Protocol)-enabled switches; and activation of quality of service (QoS) mechanisms to limit disruption and avoid audio glitches.

Making It Happen: Three Keys to AES67/AoIP on a Standard Network

Recommendation 1: Enable IGMP

First step: Activate the IGMP. By realizing select communications, IGMP enables the management of subscriptions to the multicast addresses. It manages the distribution of network and audio packets, in turn preventing saturation of bandwidth and reducing clutter on the network.

Recommendation 2: Consider PTP

The switch used to support this single-network model can be PTP-enabled or not. If it is, it facilitates better synchronization of the network and is less sensitive to the disruptive effects that can be generated by the corporate network. Although a PTP-enabled switch is more expensive than the alternative, its benefits often are worth the extra cost. When the switch is not PTP-enabled, synchronization or jitter problems may occur during heavy use of the network. (One way to avoid this issue is to configure the QoS present on the switches.) Without PTP support, clock jitter on AES67 traffic becomes quite high above 100 audio channels.

Recommendation 3: Configure Packet Priority via QoS

QoS is used to manage the priority of packets over the network, and it improves the network capabilities of a switch that does not contain PTP. The AES67 standard imposes rules on manufacturers regarding QoS eligibility. It integrates the management of the priorities of the IP packets and to which class of service they are associated. The equipment and the network must follow the AES67 recommendations to ensure a uniform understanding of priorities.

Optimizing the Single-Network Model

Enabling the IGMP is the most important step radio broadcasters can take to avoid saturation of the audio network, regardless of whether or not they are using a PTP-enabled switch. That said, the bottom line is that the combination of PTP and Qos makes it possible to increase the quality and quantity of available audio streams. Through our tests, we determined that the combination of a non-PTP-enabled switch with QoS enabled made it possible to exchange 120 full-duplex channels on the network without loss of packets and without any latency problems.

Conclusion: Creating an AES67 Network is an Option for All

Network audio competence is increasingly essential for radio broadcasters, but today’s AES67-compatible IP-based products for AoIP — and a few helpful tips for implementation — can go a long way in enabling small and mid-sized operations to take advantage of IP audio and its many benefits.

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