Big renewal of Radio Renascença in Lisbon by AEQ 13/01/2017
This is, so far, the largest installation in the world of a Radio Program Production Center with Audio over IP distribution using Dante protocol.
4 AoIP networks using Dante technology have been deployed as a flexible audio transport and distribution infrastructure, centralized on a TDM-bus based matrix that combines the circuits of all 4 AoIP networks with several hundreds of other signals through other direct connections. This way, the matrix audio processing and hierarchical control capabilities are extended to all circuits distributed with AoIP.
Radio Renascença is a Portuguese radio network corporation. It is part of R/Com, also running RFM, Mega, Hits FM and Rádio Sim music stations. In 2016, Radio Renansença moved to a new building located in the outskirts of Lisbon at the same time extending its technical infrastructure which was contracted to AEQ.
Radio Renascença stated a number of technical requirements based on their understanding of the current state-of-the-art of radio production equipment:
- All studio mixing consoles should be digital.
- Critical equipment deployed in the studios cannot generate heat or noise: in particular, all the engines or cores of the main studios consoles should be concentrated within a technical room located in the control center.
- Signals generated or ending in the studios, such as microphones, CD players, headphones or control speakers should be transported between the studios and the technical room over IP networks.
- All studios should be interconnected using a centralized infrastructure allowing the use of any signal from any location with a high level of availability and reliability.
- The use of AoIP technology is mandatory to overcome the lack of flexibility of multi-pair bundles and MADI cables.
- Technical center will be assisted by technicians. Circuit routing operations won’t rely on controllers or entertainers.
Studios and Programs
Radio Renasença produce 4 different programs: Radio Renascença (RR), RFM, SIM and MEGA FM. Each program has its own installations for broadcasting and recording studios.
Broadcast studios in Portugal are typically using two or three audio consoles:
- A main console operated by the controller and another auxiliary console used by the talent or journalist from the studio.
- Additionally, frequently there is a third main console inside the main broadcasting studios that is configured for automatic programming for the time slots where the programs are not complex and the presence of an audio technician is not justified.
Above, Broadcast Studio 1 at Radio Renascença (RR1). Bellow, its auxiliary console.
Two consoles have been installed for RR1 broadcasting studio: One AEQ Arena for automatic broadcasting and an AEQ Capitol for the journalist. In the Control room, behind the glass, another AEQ Arena console has been installed that is configured for Audio Technician addicted Control-Studio Operation and for the On-Air production of programs of certain complexity.
(Arena is a high-level broadcast Modular Digital Audio Mixing console. Capitol is a small Digital Audio Mixing console for small broadcasting studios or ancillary use. Both are designed and manufactured by AEQ and feature multichannel MADI and Dante AoIP connectivity)
RR2 broadcasting studio is identical to RR1, with the same equipment and topology and the SIM broadcasting studio is very similar in its layout.
On the other hand, RFM broadcasting studio never operates in Control-Studio configuration, so two consoles have been installed (Arena for automatic broadcasting and a Capitol for a journalist).
MEGA FM is a music station with a very straightforward programs production, so a single Arena console for automatic broadcasting has been installed.
All recording studios in Radio Renascença are automated. Three studios have been equipped with an ARENA console, one with a CAPITOL console and another two studios are using FORUM consoles.
Further, there are 4 ancillary information cabins using Capitol consoles.
(Forum is a mid-range broadcast Modular Digital Audio mixing Console. It is designed and manufactured by AEQ and features multichannel MADI and Dante AoIP connectivity)
Technical Control Center
All systems and technical equipment that are usually distributed throughout the different studios and cabins of a large radio station have been centralized and integrated in the Technical Control Center, a controlled and safe place.
This includes, for example, the audio engines for all ARENA audio consoles installed in the different recording and broadcasting studios, audio PC frames, Off-Air receivers for FM, satellite and television, and encoders for the links to different destinations. This centralized installation has reduced the use of radial cabling, as all the devices are located together. Also, and as is common practice, all devices for communications, audio processing and management, Transmission, Receiving and monitoring are installed here.
These pieces of equipment have been wired to an audio switching and distribution system based on BC 2000 D digital audio matrix, terminated in AoIP Dante and an ARENA mixing console. Everything can be managed from the Technical Center, the Studios or remotely from any place that has Internet access. Maintenance tasks are simplified, as technicians no longer need to travel to the Program Production Center for every intervention.
(BC 2000 D is a top-range Modular Digital Audio Matrix. It is based on two TDM bused with a maximum capacity of 5000 x 5000 audio channels. It is designed and manufactured by AEQ and features proprietary multichannel connectivity using 1000-channels optical fiber modules, as well as standard MADI and Dante AoIP technology.)
Structured cabling, switches and other connectivity devices forming a set of 1Gbps IP networks with QoS management are located between these elements.
IP networks topology
4 redundant Dante Gigabit Ethernet networks have been deployed between the BC 2000D matrix and the different audio equipment in the station, most of them located in the Technical Control Center. Each network has a maximum capacity of 512 audio channels and is built using a pair of main and backup switches.
Each one of these redundant networks provide connectivity to part of the Studios, so in case that a network failure happens, only part of the connected Studios would be affected and, besides, it would fail over to the Backup network.
On the other hand, an emergency Broadcast System has been installed: using a special configuration for the AoIP networks, broadcast is possible even if the matrix is not operative.