Merlin Delivers Morning Tea to Listeners
Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is a significant fundraising event, which plays a vital role in raising money for cancer research, prevention and support.
Perth’s mix94.5FM, part of Australia’s largest commercial radio network Southern Cross Austereo, was keen to get involved in this important event and broadcasted their regular breakfast show with “the Bunch” from the historic Fremantle Prison.
Dale Sharp (left) & Brad Vellacott from mix94.5 with Tieline's Charlie Gawley (right)
“We still use ISDN regularly for live broadcasts,” said Dale Sharp, mix94.5FM’s Technology Engineer. “However there is no doubt that ISDN circuits are much harder to obtain. Telcos don’t seem to be investing in new ISDN infrastructure and most bearers are now IP switched. That means any new hardware we acquire needs to connect over ISDN when required, and offer a reliable IP solution when ISDN is unavailable. The Merlin codec is ideal as it is designed for IP out of the box and you can add up to two ISDN modules for ISDN interoperability.”
“My first impression of the Merlin codec is that it is intuitive to program, simple to use and when you dial to connect it just works! I also really like the fact you can you manage your data requirements by using a low bandwidth link for communications and a higher bandwidth link for program audio.”
“For Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea we bonded two 64 Kbps ISDN B channels for 128Kbps stereo. On the left channel we sent mono program audio to the studio and on the return path we received a mix-minus program feed for the announcers and the PA. The studio mix-minus was mixed with the live announcer mics and then fed to the PA to avoid any local latency issues. We used the right hand channel for bidirectional communications with the studio.”
“The incoming mix-minus included live talkback callers and one of our engineers commented that usually when we have live callers mixed in with studio program there is an audible delay through the onsite PA. However, we were super impressed that there was no audible caller delay at all when using the Merlin codec.”
“Our announcers Fred Botica, Captain Paul and Lisa Shaw also commented that the studio program mix-minus was very clear throughout the morning and much less fatiguing than usual because of its high quality.”
|Merlin codec in action over ISDN (top)|
“The broadcast from Fremantle Prison was the first time a Tieline Merlin codec had been used over ISDN for a live broadcast, so in that sense it was a world first! We really couldn’t have been happier with the sound of the unit and the flexibility that it provided. In fact other engineers around the Southern Cross Austereo network were tuned in to the gig and were also impressed by the sound of the codec.”
“After the broadcast from Fremantle Prison we did a live two hour broadcast from an electrical retailer as part of a nationwide promotion taking place in several major cities. Given it was the first time we had used the Merlin over IP, we plugged it into the retailer’s DSL connection and tested it thoroughly the night before. We connected in stereo on the day of the OB using Tieline’s Music PLUS algorithm at 96Kbps and it worked very well.”
“Overall I foresee the Merlin codec will be used for a range of broadcast requirements throughout our network. Being able to connect over ISDN and IP delivers the flexibility we require and allows us to use existing ISDN infrastructure and transition into IP in the future as required.”