Voltair FAQs


What is Voltair?

 

Voltair is the broadcast industry’s first watermark monitor and processor. Its purpose is twofold: to help you understand how well your audio is encoding, and to provide processing options to give you confidence that every panelist tuned to your station is counted.

Who is using Voltair?

 

Well, we promised our customers we wouldn’t tell. We can tell you that we’ve sold over 900, and they’re on the air in every PPM® market in the US, and some markets outside the US.

I heard Telos had given many of these units away to get market traction, is that true?

 

Nope. Everybody that has one paid for it.

What is the lead time to get a unit?

 

Currently, it’s about 2-4 weeks, but is subject to change (we manufacture Voltair in Cleveland, OH, USA).

Where can I buy one?

 

Voltair is sold directly by Telos in the US. Maryann.Seidler@telosalliance.com. All we’ll need to know is whether your encoder is analog or digital.

Will Voltair make my ratings go up?

 

This is important, so let’s get this straight: If you don’t have listeners, or good programming, or a signal people can receive, Voltair isn’t going to help you. We only promise that Voltair will do two things for you: It will show in real time how well (or poorly) your programming is encoding, and -- if you choose -- it will allow you to enhance your chances of getting credit for the listening that actually occurs.

Does Voltair replace my Omnia or other audio processor?

 

No. Voltair is a specialized monitor / processor for watermark signals. Think of your station as having two types of listeners: ones with human ears, and the electronic “ears” belonging to panelists’ meters. Traditional processing works for the former, Voltair for the latter.

Does the Enhanced CBET (eCBET) encoding that Nielsen introduced late last year make Voltair obsolete?

 

No. Our client's toggle-testing proves that Voltair still makes a nice difference, in all formats. Of the dozens of toggle tests we know about, here are five of our favorite examples. Mainstream AC: +8% with Voltair Soft AC: +8% with Voltair Country: +5% with Voltair Top 40: +7% with Voltair Non-comm public Radio: +9% with Voltair

Did Enhanced CBET (eCBET) encoding that Nielsen introduced late last year, help all stations in all formats?

 

Well, from what we hear, not all stations updated to eCBET. And those that didn't seem pretty happy with their ratings, thanks to Voltair.

Critics have said Voltair can make my audio sound harsh or cut up. Any truth to this?

 

Like all processors, there may be a downside to being too aggressive, especially with eCBET. Voltair lets you tune the tradeoff between watermark robustness and audibility, but how you set it is up to you. Some stations use only the monitoring functions of the unit, and this has no effect on audio. Use your ears and tune accordingly.

Is there a “rule of thumb” difference between running Voltair enhancement with eCBET vs original CBET?

 

Extreme Voltair enhancement, at levels that might have been appropriate for conventional CBET can make eCBET even more obvious. Typically, if you were running Voltair at a setting of 20 before, you’ll want to tune it down by 10 to 12 units.

How many signals/stations can a single Voltair handle?

 

Watermark codes are unique, so Voltair pairs with one encoder. It can be moved to a different station with a simple recalibration.

How and where do I install Voltair at my station?

 

Voltair goes in your program chain, at the same point as your watermark encoder.

I’ve already got a Voltair. How do I find out the current software version? How can I update my machine to the latest?

 

We are currently shipping version 2.3.2. You can tell what version you are running by looking at the status page on the front panel. If you think you need an update, check the Voltair section of our website, or contact Telos customer support: Support@TelosAlliance.com. We can send you a link so you can self-install.

Is Telos / 25-Seven® working on any add-ons or sequels to Voltair?

 

Yes. We’ve built a tool that helps us build and refine other tools for broadcasters, and we’ll keep pushing the envelope. Right now, R & D is working on the intersection between Voltair and our Omnia processing line.

What have you learned about audio processing and encoding?

 

From our research, we see great advantage in placing the Voltair and encoder combination at the insertion points available in our Omnia 9 and 11 processors. Savvy programmers have been following this research with great interest and are implementing this strategy. We’ve built new “Voltair aware” presets in our flagship Omnia 11 processor, as part of our new Version 3.0’s G-Force dynamics engine.

Way back when, they said PPM® was a fair and perfect system. Then Voltair came on the scene. Was eCBET a response to Voltair?

 

It would appear so. PPM was designed in the 1990s. It was commercialized in the 2000s. It was never updated. Listening habits have evolved, and audio processing has evolved incredibly since then, but PPM® never did. Voltair pointed out many of the variables in the watermarking eco-system. New discoveries and knowledge help us refine and tune systems. This is true in any industry and with any technology. Technology is not static, it always evolves.

Can you give me a time line of Voltair? When did you go public?

 

The first Voltair went on the air in May, 2014. By September, we sold over 50. Now, we’ve sold over 900, and Voltair is on the air in every major market. We continue to sell them, even after eCBET was introduced. If you compete in an electronically measured market, either you have Voltair, or your competitors do. Or both.

What is Nielsen’s position on Voltair?

 

Complicated. First Nielsen said Voltair had no effect, then they admitted it did have an effect, but only on fringe cases. Then they introduced eCBET, saying this would both make Voltair redundant and proclaimed that all broadcasters would see an increase in ratings.

What if Nielsen declares Voltair illegal?

 

Can an audio processor be illegal? Exactly who would police that? And what about stations who only use Voltair as a monitor? Last we looked, your air-chain, methods and programming choices belong to your station.

Can competitors or Nielsen tell if I’m using Voltair?

 

By design, Voltair leaves no fingerprints, as most audio processors don’t. So we don’t think so.

What kind of results are customers seeing?

 

Believe it or not, our customers don’t talk much about which audio processors they use. They treat that intel as a state secret. We respect this and always have. Anecdotally, we can report that many customers have come back for second and third orders, even post eCBET.

What is “Voltair M”

 

Voltair M is a “monitor only” version of the Voltair processor, introduced in 2016. It is basically the same box, but minus our enhancement algorithms. It provides diagnostic capability with no chance of affecting the PPM signal. It is priced lower than a classic Voltair, and can be upgraded to a full model with a software license.

How come your data export capabilities used to be free, but now you charge for them?

 

Our data export feature set was built as an option, but we gave away free trial licenses for about a year so programmers could try it. We are now charging a modest license fee as was always our plan.

Is Voltair unfair? Doesn’t it create a world of haves and have-nots?

 

No. Some stations have the latest Omnia processors, while some are stuck with older Optimods® or others. Some stations have high-priced morning talent, and some don’t. Some stations have 100,000 watts, and some have only 250 watts.

What led you to build Voltair?

 

True confession: We’re broadcasters and we love Radio. We push the envelope. We invent things to make broadcasting better. Voltair has its place alongside other Telos Alliance inventions, like the Telos 10 (the digital on-air phone system that revolutionized talk radio), the Zephyr (the first use of ISDN in a broadcast product that forever changed remote broadcasting), the Omnia 11 (radio’s first FM audio processor with mutltipath reduction and a digital connection to exciters) and Axia, the world’s first audio consoles using Audio over IP (AoIP).

Why is Voltair good for Radio?

 

Our clients tell us that they see increases in all 3 key measurement metrics since Voltair came on the scene. Cume, TSL and AQH appear to be growing in every PPM market. This is significant. It speaks to a rising tide that lifts the radio broadcast boat. More accurate measurement is in the industry’s best interest and means more advertising dollars flowing back to Radio.

 



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