Questions About Axia Consoles
- Your competition says they've got a track record of many years' building consoles, and Axia doesn't have that experience.
Axia is 10 years old, with more than 4,000 consoles shipped and on-the-air so far. That's actually quite a lot of consoles... more than Klotz, more than Logitek, more than SAS, and more than the post-PR&E Harris. We think our track record speaks for itself..
- The other guys say Axia consoles don't have all the features they have. Like voice processing.
Sure we do. Voice dynamics is a standard feature on all Axia consoles — and it was developed by Omnia's Frank Foti, who knows a little something about audio dynamics processing. Other standard features include per-source EQ and panning, automatic mix-minus, talkback to individual mic positions, and even headphone EQ and one-touch off-air recording functions on most consoles. All of these features can be set and saved to instantly recall each jock's favorite settings using Show Profiles console snapshots built into each board. Axia consoles also do things that no other console can do. For example, you can connect the latest Telos broadcast phone systems with one RJ-45 — all audio I/O for four hybrids plus line-selection control from a tightly integrated drop-in panel enter the system using one skinny Ethernet cable. The console can feed individual mix-minus, generated on-the-fly, to every phone or remote codec that’s on the air. You can talk back from the operator’s mic to individual guest headphone channels. Step through automation events using “soft keys” located right on the fader strip. Even combine multiple channels of audio with Virtual Mixer (VMix) technology to ride gain on groups of inputs using a single fader. Add our Pathfinder routing control package, and you get extensive user-programmable event handling, built-in silence-sense that automatically switches to a backup audio feed, interactive on-screen virtual control panels for studio PCs, and much more.
- Will my Axia network need an appliance to perform Mic processing?
Some other console companies make outboard mic processing boxes that they want to sell you at extra expense. But Axia believes in building in all the tools you need, not charging you more for them. So nearly all of our consoles come with built-in mic processing, designed by the experts at Omnia, that's very configurable and sounds great! You can assign processing to nearly any mic, codec or phone source (unlike other systems that "hard-wire" processing to a specific source). Best of all, you can develop personalized mic processing settings for each talent, and apply those settings at will to your on-air microphone using our consoles' Show Profiles, which allow you to set, save and recall console configurations at the touch of a button.
- What does Telos know about console design, anyway?
Quite a lot, actually. We've got the biggest R&D department in the broadcast industry, and it's filled with folks who've spent years around consoles, figuring out what works and what doesn't. We have a couple dozen ex-broadcasters and broadcast engineers on our staff, by the way. It's fair to say we know our way around faders and buses.
- I wouldn't buy Axia consoles; I want modular boards.
Our Element console is modular. Element modules contain groups of four faders, which are easily accessed for service by removing just two screws and a cable or two. They're hot-swappable, too – since all the mixing is done away from the board, in the StudioEngine, you can even take out a module while it's on the air without affecting the audio in any way. Indeed, you can hot-swap the entire console without disrupting audio.
- The other guys say their lower-cost consoles are better than Axia's because they have individual fader modules. Is that true?
Back in the old, analog days, when all of the console's audio went directly through the faders, individual modules were a must-have. They got dirty, and the audio became scratchy. Or the windings would develop a flat spot. Or the wipers would snag and break. You needed individual faders back then. But that was 30 years ago. Fader technology has come a long way since the '70s! Axia uses recordiing-studio grade, 100mm. conductive-plastic faders with a sliding noise level of less than 100mV. They're rated for hundreds of thousands of operations, so the likelihood that you'll need to change one over the life of your Axia console is low. Not only that, these faders are side-loading (versus the old-style top-loaders used by other console companies), which means that dust and dirt that simply drop past the fader, instead of falling into it. This pretty much eliminates the need for the periodic removal and cleaning necessary in the old days. To further reduce the need for maintenance, the switches used on Axia consoles (from On/Off controls to bus-assignment buttons, are aircraft-quality, rated for millions of operations, and lit by LED.) With all this modern technology, the chance that you'll need to replace worn-out parts in an Axia console is pretty low. But if your talent drops a Coke into the board, call us - our Support crew is online and ready to help 24/7, 365 days a year.
- What happens if I need to replace an on/off switch? Do I have to send the whole module back to the factory?
Our console components are chosen for their ability to stand up to even the most heavy-handed jocks. For instance, we use switches designed for avionics, and rated for long life. We even designed our our own buttons and protective bezels specifically to prevent switch element damage from abuse. Of course, we realize that all equipment requires maintenance eventually, so our consoles are made to be serviced easily in the field. On/off switches, for instance, can be individually replaced, as can individual faders. And since actual audio mixing is done outside the console, you can actually pull an Element module while it's on-air without disrupting any audio streams controlled by its faders. In fact, you can disconnect the entire console! All of our consoles - Element, iQ, Radius, DESQ, RAQ - are designed in this manner.
- I've heard that your consoles are good at mix-minus. What's so different about the way you do it?
We're part of Telos, so as you might imagine, we've studied mix-minus for a long time. And we've always been amazed at how complicated and confusing it is to set up correctly. With today's radio shows relying heavily on phones and remotes, something needed to be done. Our consoles generate mix-minuses automatically, on-the-fly, without any intervention needed from talent. The way it works is simple: when a caller is on the air, he hears the main Program feed, minus himself. When off the air, he hears a special "off-line" phone mix that can contain audio sources: pre-fader audio from the host mic, other phone callers, etc. Best of all, mix-minus settings for audio sources such as phone hybrids and remote codecs are assigned to the source itself, not the console fader — so when a source that needs a mix-minus is loaded onto any fader, on any console, the mix-minus settings are automatically loaded too. At the physical level, mix-minus is easy, too. Livewire carries audio in both directions, so one RJ-45 covers everything.
- How many mix-minuses can your consoles have?
One for every fader! There's a lot of processing power in our mixing engines, enough that Axia consoles can provide automatic mix-minuses simultaneously for every fader on the console. You'll probably never need to have 40 mix-minuses running at once, but isn't it nice to know that you could?
- I just need a router — I don't need consoles. Can I still use Axia?
No problem. Axia networks can work with your existing consoles. Just plug the inputs and outputs into our audio nodes and use Router Selector nodes to control X-Y switching functions. For sophisticated systems, use our Pathfinder router control software package. You can do everything any other router can do – and much more.
- One of your competitors talks about 'islands of reliability.' They claim that a networkable console with built-in inputs and outputs is more reliable than an Axia console.
Our consoles have built-in I/O, too, thanks to our state-of-the-art PowerStation and QOR mixing engines. And these have something our competitors don't: a built-in, designed-for-broadcast, zero-configuration Ethernet switch. Axia is the first and only IP console maker to put the switch right into the console, saving your configuration time and worries. PowerStation and QOR engines even have optional redundant backup power sources, with automatic switchover, so it's not just your console that has backup power - it's your I/O and network switch as well. Larger networks of more than 4 consoles need an external switch to manage inter-studio traffic. But each Axia studio has its own edge switch built into the console, and each edge switch (with all its studio peripherals connected) is its own self-contained audio network. This includes all of the inputs and outputs to and from that studio. So, in the unlikely event that the core switch failed, each studio can still be operated independently of the rest of the network.