17 February 2004, Cleveland Ohio, USA
Pippin Technical, based in Saskatchewan, Canada (www.pippintech.com) recently became the official Axia representatives in the Great White North. We talked with Bruce Wilkinson, Pippin’s Vice President of Engineering, about his views on IP-Audio and the outlook for this new technology in Canada.
Axia: Bruce, welcome. It’s great to have you representing Axia in Canada.
Bruce: Thank you. Our company is always looking for better ways to serve our clients using new technology, so naturally we’re pleased to offer Axia to Canadian broadcasters.
Axia: Tell us a bit about Pippin?
Bruce: Pippin Technical started out as a broadcast technical services company in the 1970's. Since then we’ve grown significantly; we still provide technicians to install studio systems, but now we supply much of the hardware and software too. We can do turn-key systems for radio broadcasters as well.
Axia: Why did you decide to add Axia to your product line?
Bruce: Well, as I mentioned, Pippin has always been pretty forward-looking, and from our perspective, digital audio consoles for on-air studios have never really made sense. For production studios, sure; but it seemed to us that most digital console manufacturers were not looking at the big picture. Once we found out about Axia and your agreement with Scott Studios – one of our key partners – we were very excited about the possibilities for Axia in Canada. Canadians are quite interested in new technology and we have had a lot of interest in Axia already.
Axia: Why do you think that is?
Bruce: Because Axia – using Ethernet technology to distribute audio – is a great concept! There are lots of things we like about it. When looking at a replacement technology, I ask 3 questions: “Will it sound better?” “Is it better from a service perspective than the technology it is replacing?” “Does it cost less?” In the case of Axia we feel that the answer is “yes” in all cases.
Axia: So, you think that Axia will be a hit with Canadian broadcasters.
Bruce: Yes! It’s an obvious technical progression, so there are lots of reasons why it will be popular. Price is one, and linear audio. Excellent modularity. Ease of integration. And one more: ease of relocation. Personally, I think this is a very important one point.
Bruce: Well, anybody with a need to relocate who is using a standard hardwired router will probably need to buy a new router. But with Axia, we can move it in pieces and easily reconfigure it to work in the new facilities. The fact that Axia uses off-the-shelf Ethernet technology is also highly appealing. As the performance of hardware advances, we gain the ability to have larger and better systems. We also see possibilities with extending this technology to the transmitter site via a dedicated microwave link. Goodbye analog STL!!
Axia: Who do you think will benefit most from Axia?
Bruce: I know it sounds trite, but everyone! Since the product is so scalable, we expect to sell it to both large and small broadcasters. Many of them will probably use it only for routing at first; some will use the control surface and mix engine. We have interest from two very large Canadian broadcasters — in fact, we’ve already made sales!
Axia: What kind of reception have you gotten when you showed Axia to clients?
Bruce: Very good. Without exception, they are very interested and excited about the possibilities. For example, we received lots of attention at the recent CCBE conference (Central Canadian Broadcast Engineers – Ed). This conference doesn’t include an actual trade show, so all we had was a few nodes and a laptop at our hospitality suite. It didn’t matter — I almost lost my voice answering questions and explaining the concept to our guests!
Axia: We’ll send you a case of throat drops, Bruce. We’re glad you’re part of the Axia family.
Bruce: Make ‘em cherry, please. And, likewise!
Axia, a Telos company, builds network-based professional audio products for broadcast, production, sound-reinforcement and commercial audio applications. Products include digital audio routers, DSP mixers and processors and software for configuring, managing, and interfacing networked audio systems.