Way back when enormous cart machines still roamed the earth freely, we used XLR connectors to get recorded audio into the console. But when PCs replaced the cart machine, we... continued to connect to their sound cards with plain-Jane XLRs and a thick bundle of discrete wires that can't carry logic, PAD or any of the useful information that PC playout systems provide. What's up with that?
There's a better way. (Several, in fact.)
The PC is the heart of the modern radio studio. And Axia gives you lots of ways to connect to it.
Choice 1: The Axia IP-Audio Driver for Windows and Linux. These software drivers are your preferred way of sending pure, clean digital audio to your Axia network. They work like this: using a special driver, your digital audio is fed directly from your PC's Ethernet port, to the Livewire network. Your audio stays digital, linear and uncompressed from end to end. If you need to use it with analog devices, an Axia xNode performs the WAV-to-IP Audio conversion. For individual workstations, 1x1 Stereo and 4x4 Stereo Drivers are available; up to 24 stereo playback channels and 24 stereo record channels (48 stereo streams, total) can be accessed using our OEM Driver that's provided by your favorite digital delivery system provider. This multi-channel version also has GPIO functions, so that playout systems can remotely operate console channel states, route swtiching, even fader levels (dependent upon vendor support).
Axia xNodes are professional audio devices with broadcast audio specs that rival those of any professional audio console; they come in Analog, AES/EBU, Mic-level and Mixed-Signal versions. Like any professional audio device, they're rack-mounted, with internal auto-sensing AC power supplies, PoE (Power over Ethernet) capability, and high-rez front-panel confidence meters. xNodes are RAVENNA and AES67 compliant, too, so you can exchange audio between your PC and other compatible devices.
Choice 2: AudioScience has joined the ranks of Axia hardware partners (companies with broadcast gear that features built-in Livewire support) to offer another way to connect PCs to Axia networks. Their ASI6585 PCI and PCIe Livewire Sound Cards are "Super Audio NICs" that install in your PC and integrate with your playout software the same way a regular AudioScience card would - but instead of a bundle of cables for output and GPI/GPO, you just connect an Ethernet cable from the ASI card to your network switch.
Along with having 8 stereo or 16 mono record/playback channels each, plus logic and PAD on one skinny Ethernet cable, you also get the advantage of AudioScience's realtime MPEG encoding/decoding, time stretching and on-the-fly pitch adjustment. The streams are sent directly to the network without passing through an Audio Node. An additional advantage is that the since the AudioScience card has an Axia Node "built in", it can send and receive Livestreams -- extremely low-latency audio streams meant for live broadcast applications -- like any other Node.
Choice 3: Use your old faithful sound card. Yes, your existing cards will work just fine with Axia: simply bring the output of your sound card into an Axia xNode like any other source. Use a Mixed-Signal xNode and you can send control logic as well as audio.
Even though sending PC audio over Ethernet offers you lots of convenience and control, Axia systems let you do things your way. After all, it's your studio! And you still get the benefits of Audio-over-IP: once your audio is in the Axia network, you can share and access it anywhere in your connected facility.
Microsoft in the house? Our software scientists have made sure that the Axia IP-Audio Driver for Windows is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista, as well as earlier 32-bit versions of the Windows OS. It also adds compliance for use with the Windows 8 operating system. So whatever flavor you've got, we've got you covered.
Deciding how PC audio gets into your network is your job.
Making it sound great - that's ours.
Axia clients tell us that an all-digital playout path helps make their audio sound clearer, cleaner and better than ever. Our Audio Nodes were engineered with some pretty great specs too, to make sure your audio sounds the best it possibly can.