NEXUS in use at Cadena SER
Cadena SER is Spain's biggest private radio station. Where two years ago it had seven channels operated from Madrid, there are now already 14. The number of studios was increased from 14 to 22, and six voice-recording booths for journalists and reporters were added in this process. This increased capacity called for NEXUS and its exemplary reliability.
Private Radio in the Big League
Our formidable growth in the last year meant that we also had to look into a new system for our routing center because our analog devices simply could not cope with this increased capacity. After a thorough market analysis, we decided that a digital solution with NEXUS as signal router was the only viable option.
Today, our private radio station boasts six NEXUS base devices, two of which are located in the routing center and take care of connecting it to the outside world. Programs for the Madrid area are distributed using directional radio transmitters while the rest of Spain is covered via satellite uplink. ISDN lines, analog and digital outputs, and O.B.-van connections offer links to external sources. The four NEXUS base devices in the building connect the studio consoles to the routing center.
What's Your Profile
Our entire installation is configured and controlled by the NEXUS NT Multi-User Software that allows for working with various access levels. Access to the system is possible via eleven PCs: one of them is located in the routing center while the others are distributed among the various studios.
The Multi-User Software helps us to avoid technical problems or even downtimes caused by erroneous system operation. Our production and broadcasting activities involve users whose levels of expertise range from DJ with only basic technical awareness to fully trained technicians. We therefore created four user profiles: Basic User, Experienced User, Special User, and Supervisor, each with their own privileges and access to a varying number of projects, sources, and settings.
From Simple to Complex
Basic Users can only modify the studio's signal inputs and outputs. They can also monitor subsequent signal paths but cannot alter them. The Basic User profile was designed for all 14 radio channels with the intention to simplify and speed up daily routine.
If a Basic User needs to make a more fundamental modification to the signal path, he can contact an Experienced User who has access to almost all inputs and outputs and can therefore establish the desired routing. Applications that go beyond our regular operations are only accessible to Special Users. This profile is mainly used for training sessions, technical checks, and special broadcasts. Finally, the Supervisor can control the entire system.
Via Network or Directly
The worst thing that can happen to a radio station is an interruption of the broadcast signal. To avoid this, our NEXUS NT Multi-User Software runs in duplicate on two servers, each connected to its own NEXUS base device at the routing center. One server is actually active at any one time, while the other is on standby to take over in the event of a problem.
Just in case the NT network should go down despite these two servers, NEXUS can also be operated from a computer connected directly to a base device. Four base devices are linked to their own computers and can be controlled in local mode via a serial connection if all else fails.
To ensure system reliability, we have chosen to take advantage of the remote-service facility and to grant our Experienced Users modern access to the system for emergencies at night or during the weekend. Although mainly designed to help us solve serious problems, this safety net can also be used for special requests.
NEXUS also takes care of monitoring our on-air activity. The so-called multi-channel option allows for simultaneous monitoring of all signals being broadcast.
Yet another function of the signal router is switching between studios during normal operation by pressing just a single button. Specially programmed NEXUS XRI boards are used for this relay control. All audio signals are processed with NEXUS's internal DSPs that provide bus functions, delays for TV synchronisation, equalizers, and gates. The fader function has proved especially useful for crossfades involving various inputs and outputs in on-air situations. Quite a relief for live broadcasts when things start getting hectic.
NEXUS's extensive DSP capabilities triggered a series of »what-if« questions that gave us some interesting ideas. At the moment, we are thinking about new ways of using NEXUS that could make handling easier and even save money! We are currently contemplating setups for standard broadcasts where NEXUS itself acts as »broadcast console«. For we have discovered it is more than just a digital router.