Tieline Technologies

Merlin PLUS

Studio Codec for Managing 6 Simultaneous Remotes

Rapidly expand your remote capability with the award winning Merlin PLUS and manage up to 6 bidirectional mono connections with IP codecs or smartphones using Report-IT, saving money on codec hardware costs and reducing studio rack space requirements.

--------- 2014 Best of Show Award


--- Merlin PLUS

--------- Merlin PLUS logo with Pick Hit 2013

Now supports 6 simultaneous Opus audio streams, Wi-Fi, ISDN & POTS!

Overview

Merlin PLUS is the ideal 1RU codec for studio installations and offers a simple, compact and scalable solution for managing multiple simultaneous remotes. Use Merlin PLUS for:

  • Up to 6 simultaneous bidirectional mono remote connections.

    --------- Merlin PLUS 6 simultaneous remotes Report-IT Vertical sliders2 x Bidirectional mono or stereo remotes, each with separate bidirectional IFB communications channel.

--------- Merlin PLUS 2 x stereo plus IFB

  • Streaming multiple algorithms simultaneously at different sample rates and bit-rates over a range of connection transports.

--------- Merlin PLUS Multiple Encoding v4.0 20170315

Reliability and Connectivity

Merlin PLUS will connect to all Tieline IP codecs, including G3 codecs, Bridge-IT, the Genie family of codecs and Report-IT Enterprise smartphone applications. It is designed to connect over the full suite of wired and wireless IP networks, including:

  • Public Wide Area Networks (WANs)

  • Private Local Area Networks (LANs)

  • 3G and 4G wireless Networks #

  • Wi-Fi and WiMAX Networks #

--------- Merlin PLUS front panel explained


It has dual Gigabit (10/100/1000) onboard Ethernet ports, dual redundant power supplies, audio silence detection and IP network backup solutions to ensure you’re always on the air. An automated network failure detection feature provides switching to a backup IP LAN connection. You can also fail over to backup ISDN or POTS connections as required using optional ISDN or POTS modules.

--------- Merlin PLUS rear panel


SmartStream: Rock Solid Audio using Inexpensive IP Links

--------- SmartStream logo

As an IP audio pioneer, Tieline was the first major codec manufacturer to integrate SmartStream features such as Automated Jitter Buffer management, Forward Error Correction (FEC) and error concealment techniques in all IP codecs. These features dynamically respond to variable conditions over unmanaged IP networks like the public internet to ensure reliable streaming.

   --- SmartStream PLUS logo

Now SmartStream PLUS has revolutionised IP broadcasting by delivering the rock solid and reliable STL-grade audio quality you would expect over a T1/E1 link by using inexpensive unmanaged IP networks like the internet for STLs, audio distribution and remotes

Save Money Now with SmartStream PLUS Redundant Streaming

Some other manufacturers charge thousands of dollars for IP management software like SmartStream PLUS as if it's an optional extra. However Tieline believes high performance and STL-grade rock-solid reliability is an essential part of each and every broadcast, and delivers its renowned SmartStream PLUS as standard in Merlin PLUS. 

Tieline can show you how an investment in new codecs will pay for itself in just a few months by using SmartStream PLUS over inexpensive IP links to transport STL-grade, high fidelity audio at a fraction of the cost of synchronous leased lines. With SmartStream PLUS:

  1. Stream simultaneous redundant data streams and deliver seamless redundancy by switching back and forth, without loss of audio, from the nominated primary data link to the backup link if one fails and then subsequently recovers. Note: Use IP links from two different IP network providers for optimal redundancy over mission critical STL connections.

  2. When multiple redundant audio streams are sent, the decoding codec automatically reconstructs audio into a perfect single stream on a first packet arrived basis to ensure audio integrity.

Flexibility and Interoperability

  ------ ISDN G5 (Euro) angle
 

Tieline G5 ISDN module

Many broadcast networks are transitioning to IP but still require connectivity over ISDN or POTS. Tieline Merlin PLUS codecs deliver flexibility by allowing you to connect over ISDN, POTS or IP networks as required. Simply purchase optional ISDN G5 or POTS G5 modules, insert them in the codec and you are ready to connect over ISDN, POTS or IP on demand. Click here to learn more about Tieline ISDN options.

Merlin PLUS supports both IPv4 and IPv6 (Dual Stack) protocols, so broadcasters can be assured that they have made a smart investment for the future as new networks and technologies emerge over time.

Connect over IP with any SIP-enabled IP codec brand that supports the EBU N/ACIP tech 3326 standard, as well as VoIP telephone devices supporting G.711 and G.722. Merlin PLUS is also compliant with I3P EBU334 requirements for interoperability of AoIP production intercoms.

Algorithms

Merlin PLUS is capable of 16-24bit 22kHz low latency linear PCM audio at up to 48kHz sampling and features aptX® Enhanced, LC-AAC, HE-AAC v1 and v2, AAC-LD, AAC-ELDv1 and v2, Opus, MPEG II, MPEG Layer-3, Tieline Music and MusicPLUS, G.722 and G.711 algorithms. Merlin PLUS supports up to 6 simultaneous streams of Opus encoding.

How to Create 6 Simultaneous Bidirectional Remotes

--------- Merlin PLUS workflow

# Requires 3rd party device
* Feature not available in the first release.

Features

Audio

  • Robust DSP-based architecture designed for rock solid, mission critical broadcast audio.

  • 24 Bit 48kHz audio sampling.

  • Analog and Digital (AES3) inputs and outputs: Up to six channels of balanced audio in/out via XLRs and DB-25 audio expansion connector (analog or digital AES3).

  • Bidirectional Mono, Stereo or dual mono connections.

  • 6 Simultaneous bidirectional mono remote connections.

  • 2 Bidirectional mono or stereo remotes, each with separate bidirectional IFB communications channel.

  • Uncompressed PCM audio plus the low-delay, cascade resiliant aptX® Enhanced algorithm.

  • Other popular algorithms including LC-AAC, HE-AAC v1 and v2, AAC-LD, AAC-ELDv1 and v2, Opus, MPEG II, MPEG Layer-3, Tieline Music and MusicPLUS, G.722 and G.711.

Connectivity

  • Dual 1 Gigabit (10/100/1000) Ethernet ports support automatic switching for redundancy. 

  • Connect over Wi-Fi using USB Wi-Fi dongles.

  • Primary and backup audio over IP, ISDN* and POTS*.

  • Automated failover to backup connections.

  • SmartStream PLUS dual redundant IP streaming.

  • Fuse-IP network bonding (data aggregation) of Ethernet ports or Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

  • SIP (SDP) compatible with EBU N/ACIP 3326 for interoperability with other codec manufacturers.

  • Deterministic SIP answering and call routing: Configure up to 6 SIP accounts and connect up to 2 SIP interfaces.

  • Compatibility over ISDN with Worldcast, Prodys, Mayah, CDQ Prima, AETA, AEQ, Orban and more.

  • Compatibility over ISDN using aptX Enhanced encoding with Worldcast, Prodys Prontonet and Mayah.

  • Selectable fixed or automatic jitter buffer: 5 automated settings available to manage network connectivity and avoid dropouts (includes configurable min and max buffer settings).

  • Configurable Forward Error Correction (FEC).

  • Highly advanced error concealment strategies.

  • Real-time IP connection packet statistics.

  • Real-time POTS line quality and IP link quality displayed.

  • Support for Line Hunt dialing/answering and caller IDs using Tieline IP.

Operation

  • User-friendly HTML5 Toolbox Web-GUI enables codec configuration and control remotely over WANs.

  • Toolbox Scheduler supports loading/unloading, connecting and disconnecting programs.

  • Auto switching, dual redundant internal AC power supplies.

  • IPv4 & IPv6 compatible and ready.

  • Asymmetric algorithmic encode/decode.

  • Low latency in-band RS-232 aux data channel.

  • Configurable software rules engine via web-GUI for Control Port (4 inputs/outputs) functions, plus WheatNet-IP LIO compatibility.

  • Upgrade firmware from USB sticks.

  • Automated firmware upgrade notifications via Web-GUI.

  • Support for multiple languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

  • Backward compatible with all Tieline IP codecs.

Security

  • User name and password protection of codec and Toolbox Web-GUI.

  • Support for SSL Security Certificate installation.

  • SIP Whitelists and Blacklists allow filtering of SIP URIs and User Agents.

 
* Modules sold Separately
 
MPEG Layer-3 audio coding technology licensed from Fraunhofer IIS and Thomson Licensing.

Specifications

Input/Output Specifications

Analog Audio Inputs

2 x Female XLR line inputs

Analog Audio Outputs

2 x Male XLR

AES3 In

1 x female XLR (Channel 1 in; shared with Ch1 analog input)

AES3 Out

1 x male XLR

Auxiliary Input

1 x 6.35mm (1/4") Mic/Line level Jack on rear panel

Female DB-25

4 additional analog or digital inputs/outputs

Headphones Out/Aux Out

1 x 6.35mm (1/4") Jack on rear panel and 1 x 6.35mm (1/4") Jack on the front panel

Control Port In/Out

Four relay inputs and four opto-isolated outputs for machine control via a DB15 connector.

Audio Input Impedance

High Impedance  > 5K ohm

Output Impedance

<50 ohm Balanced

Clipping Level

+22dBu (input and outputs)

A/D & D/A Converters

24 bit

Frequency Response at 48kHz

20Hz to 22kHz

THD and Noise (Analog)

<0.0035% at +16dBu or -89dBu unweighted

THD and Noise (Digital)

<0.000056%

Analog Signal To Noise Ratio

>98.5dB at +22dBu, unweighted

Sample Frequencies

IP Sample Frequencies

16kHz, 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz

Algorithms

IP

Tieline Music, Tieline MusicPLUS, G.711, G.722, MPEG-1 Layer 2, MP3, LC-AAC, HE-AAC and HE-AACv2, AAC-LD, AAC-ELD, Opus, 16/24 bit aptX Enhanced

IP (uncompressed)

Linear PCM16/24 bit 48kHz sampling

Data and Control Interfaces

USB

USB 2.0 Host port on the front panel supports Wi-Fi using a USB Wi-Fi dongle and USB stick firmware upgrades

LAN

2 x 10/100/1000 RJ45 connectors

Advanced Networking

VLAN tagging (IEEE 802.1Q,802.1p)

Serial

RS232 up to 115kbps with or without CTS/RTS flow control via female DB9 connector, can be used as a proprietary data channel

Protocols Supported

Tieline, DHCP, SNMP, DNS, HTTP, IGMP, ICMP, VLAN, IPv4/v6, FEC, SIP/SDP (EBU N/ACIP Tech 3326 compliant), RTP, I3P EBU3347 compliant

ISDN via module

Optional via module slot

POTS via module

Optional via module slot

Front Panel Interfaces

Display

256 x 64 monochrome LCD

Keypad

21 button keypad

Navigation

5 button keypad

 General

 

Size

1U x 19" Rackmount

Dimensions

19” x 1.75” x 13.5” [482mm (W) x 44mm (H) x 343mm (D) including rear connectors]

Weight

6lb 7.7oz/2.94Kg

Power Consumption

Dual AC 100-240V IEC power inlets; 1A - 50-60Hz

Operating Temperature

0°C to 45°C (32°F to 113°F)

Humidity Operating Range

20% ≤RH ≤70% (0 to 35°C/32°F to 95°F), non-condensing