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Thread: Vs4000 - Only one caller's audio on-air at a time via XLR?

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    Vs4000 - Only one caller's audio on-air at a time via XLR?

    I've read the manual, and I'm wondering what's going on with the audio outputs. First, there's no mention in the manual that the XLR's are LINE LEVEL OUTPUTS. That'd be great to add to the manual somewhere. I spent way too long figuring that out on my own yesterday.

    Is it not possible to have all four analog outputs online concurrently via XLR? Right now, it seems like you've got to select which input you want to send down the XLR's and it only lets you do one at a time.

    Were I to use NDI I could pot up any combination of the 4 at one time, but this doesn't appear to be the case with the XLR.

    Am I wrong?
    Thx

  2. #2
    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    No, you're not. (How would you get 4 discreet audio outputs out of two connectors?)

    I'll have to look to see whether the docs mention Line level output, and I'll see that it's added if not - but this is definitely called out in the specs:

    http://www.newtek.com/talkshow/vs4000/tech-specs
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBowie View Post
    No, you're not. (How would you get 4 discreet audio outputs out of two connectors?)
    Have them mixed internally or have the operator mute/unmute channels as needed. I was thinking that capability was buried in there somewhere. You've confirmed that its not. I'll submit a feature request because this would make the Talkshow useable as a multi-channel Skype box for everyone in any environment instead of just those places that are using NDI.

    The only mention of line-level is in section 2.3.2. It says the following, and only in relation to the 1/4 plug:
    2.3.2 A/V INPUT AND OUTPUT
    - Two each XLR inputs and outputs for analog audio i/o.
    - One ¼” TRS (balanced, line level) local Phones output for local call output monitoring

    As long as you're looking at the manual, it would be nice to go into detail about how the analog section performs in regards to pushing a caller to the XLR's (as it currently stands). Its almost as if the assumption was made that nobody is going to use the XLR's to feed audio to a mixer, so there's zero instruction about how to use the drop-down box shown at the top of page 15 / 3.6.2. (Nor is there mention of the line-level thing..)

    I.E. "If you are using the XLR outputs on the back of the unit, you can only push one caller's audio at a time to air. In order to do this, using the drop-down box in the lower left of the VS4000 interface (IMAGE) select the corresponding channel of the caller you wish to put on-air. Doing so will automatically mute any previous caller."

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    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Actually, the XLR's are not intended for sending audio to an external mixer, and then to air. If they were, there'd certainly be a lot more of them. A mix down is possible, I suppose, but it's not meant for that purpose and I'm not sure how useful it would be lacking independent channels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBowie View Post
    Actually, the XLR's are not intended for sending audio to an external mixer, and then to air.
    Not being snarky, really, but what was their intended use?

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    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Local monitoring of selected callers ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBowie View Post
    I'm not sure how useful it would be lacking independent channels.
    Ridiculously useful for any facility that isn't using NDI or SDI audio de-embedders. So much so that it kinda blows my mind that nobody has considered this. The last non-NewTek control room I was in was a $7m build-out with a GVG Kayenne and a Calrec Apollo as two vital bits of the build - neither are NDI capable. This facility wouldn't be able to use the VS4000 in its current configuration simply because of the way the XLR's work. As it stands now, should a broadcaster buy one of these as their only bit of NewTek and/or NDI gear, its of no more use to them than a single channel unit, and arguably even less useful than the far cheaper single-channel box. Why? Because with the VS100, the XLR's are active 100% of the time as they output exactly what the unit itself is processing. The VS4000 requires the operator to go through quite a few non-intuitive steps to select which channel they want to send down the XLR's and to the mixer, and you can only use one caller at a time.

    Assuming that the VS4000 is going to have a dedicated operator to gin-up the calls, its not much of a stretch for the op to click a button on the interface panel for each channel that mutes/unmutes the selected caller, adjusts a virtual dial to set the level, and sends their selections as a mixdowndown via the XLR pair. Now any facility can use all 4 channels concurrently - even if they don't own any other NDI gear. And as an incentive to purchase more NewTek/NDI gear, why not have it auto-sense which channels are on-air via NDI and send those channels corresponding audio down the pipe - automatically? And even better still - give the operator the option to enable/disable this capacity via a checkbox in each channel? Something like "NDI Autosense Audio"? The operator establishes the calls, sets the levels, enables autosense, and sits back and lets the unit do it all as-needed by the TD. And lord knows the A1 is going to love you for taking a bit off their plate (provided the levels are set correctly by the TS op...).

    I'm not a software engineer - just a television production goat-roper who's worked in every conceivable environment for every major network for over 20 years. I can easily see where the VS4000 would be a really, really important piece of gear in, let's say, a remote truck running anything other than a NewTek switcher - but not as it stands now.

    Give it this capability and there's not a systems integrator or EIC around that wouldn't spec one of these for any facility that wants to use Skype. It would be a no-brainer and as much a part of the "basics" as SDI cabling.
    Last edited by dhodlick; 01-03-2017 at 08:44 AM.

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    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Sending the studio a) a mix-down of either all incoming calls, or b) a mix of program return audio and a single call doesn't seem particularly useful. Both defeat any method I can think of to prepare clean return mix-minuses. The latter (b) might have some application for local monitoring but that's about it I think. If you want to send individual incoming calls to the analog outputs, you can do that already, and the Talk Back feature handles the operator/screener requirements. That said, providing a mixed output wouldn't likely be a great challenge, I just fail to see the point. I'm listening, though ...
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    Yes, the mix-minus would be a trick in a situation where you wanted your four callers to interact with each other as well as your studio - didn't think of that. After chewing on it for a while, I don't see a way for this machine to be useful to us at all in its current state and I may be returning it after having it for 6 days. All of our audio is handled on an external mixer in our shows. The way this machine is currently configured, I can't really see a way to use all 4 channels on-air at the same time with an external mixer handling the audio. For that matter, I don't even know how to get 4 discrete mix-minuses AND my studio feeds into the VS4000, were I to completely tear out my mixer and have the TC handle all the audio for everything.

    The way we are currently set up, all studio mics hit the mixer directly (8 mics) and never touch the TC. DDR's are sent out of the TC via aux 1, (assigned 1/2) - not assigned to program and hit the mixer on two channels (L, R). TS is hitting the mixer on its own two channels and never hits the TC directly. The TS gets a mix-minus of everyone but itself, shot down an aux-out of the mixer into the TS. A total of 12 channels of audio are mixed, and then sent back to the TC on a L/R pair, where they come in on the 1a and 1b XLR's. Those are the only two channels pushed to air via the TC.

    Were I to tear everything out and re-wire to have the TC handle all of the audio, I still dont see a way for each TS channel to have its own mix-minus that includes the callers, the DDR's, the studio, but not themselves. There are only 4 inputs available via NDI. How would I accomplish this?

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    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Any TriCaster running AE2 (i.e., Rev 4-0) can easily create four discreet mix minuses - one for each caller - and return them as mono channels accompanying a single program video return. A single Aux bus will suffice nicely. So, let's say you use Aux 4 for this purposes. Each of the four audio channels has a unique mix minus on it.

    In TalkShow, then, all you need to do is assign that single (SDI or NDI) return feed to all four Skype calls, and mute 3 unwanted audio channels for each individual audio return.

    I suspect you can probably set up something similar using the SDI or NDI a/v feeds to your TC without disrupting your external mixing pipeline ...
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    Thanks Steve - I came to the same realization about 10 minutes after I submitted my comment above. Using an aux and the appropriate tick-marks, the mix minus could be set up if using the TC as my mixing console. However, I am still noodling on how to do it with an external mixer...this may be the impetus to get into a LiveMixer remote sort of config.

  12. #12
    I think an audio IP solution is ultimately the best solution for integrating the Talkshow VS4000 with any production equipment. With NDI and the TriCaster running AE2 this is pretty easy to do.

    Dante is the other solution and I realize that current support on the VS4000 is Dante input, with output support coming in the future. When that is available, this might be a good solution if you need analog audio with a VS4000.

    https://www.kramerav.com/product/FC-404Net

    I think analog is still going to be a difficult way to go because only higher end analog audio mixers can create of the number of mix-minus channels needed for these workflows.
    Kane Peterson
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    NewTek, Inc.

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    What about using the TC's internal audio capacity, and something like the Avid Artist Mix?

    We just really don't want the TD/director/gpx op/VT op to also have to run audio from the same interface. Having outside control and another operator for audio makes life much easier.

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    After digging in to this thing and deciding to install it and keep it - I've run into something that appears to be insurmountable. What I was looking for was a way to take the audio out of each caller on the TalkShow, and spin it down one SDI (of the 4 available) to a de-embedder and use the audio channels to feed my mixer. Then use 4 (of 6) aux's from my mixer back to an embedder, and use the SDI inputs on the VS4k to supply my mix-minuses via one SDI input. Easy peasy, but not possible since the TalkShow doesn't allow you to assign the outgoing audio to ONE SDI's audio channels. Instead, you've got to use each SDI individually, even if you're only using one audio channel out of the 4 available. I.E. - 4 SDI's feeding 4 de-embedders. It does allow you to assign the 4 channels of audio coming in on an SDI to the caller's return, as well as the ability to mute any one of the 4 channels - thereby giving you the mix-minus.

    Of course, if the TalkShow allowed the TS operator to send any combination of caller's audio down the XLR's - we'd be in much better shape, but given what's been stated here, that's not possible either.

    Am I missing something regarding the SDI's assignability or am I on the right track?
    Last edited by dhodlick; 01-05-2017 at 12:27 PM.

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    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    You are correct that SDI outputs each carry the audio and video for one unique Skype call. Regarding "this requirement could also be eliminated by having the TalkShow allow the TS operator to send any combination of caller's audio down the XLR's ", I have to question the utility of munging all incoming caller audio onto one output, as this inevitably prevents the signal isolation and discrete control you are after in the first place.

    Setting aside Kane's suggestion of a mixer with Dante support, but still wanting to use an external mixer, I can of several approaches one might consider. You could, for example, use Connect Pro to send audio outputs from TalkShow's NDI output(s) to a suitable audio card, and thence to any system you like. Or - if you have a 4RU TriCaster - you could use it to achieve what amounts to the same thing, handling all VS4000 audio i/o using the TriCaster, then routing just Skype caller audio to Aux analog outputs and thence to your external mixer. This course easily provides the mix minus handling you need without any external gear, and still gives you the discrete external Skype caller output you want. OTOH, it only works if you have a 4RU TriCaster, which has the requisite number of analog connectors.

    This all said, and while the industry is clearly moving toward digital pipelines, we're not entirely there yet are we ... so you raise some interesting points which we will consider further.
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