WURD Checks Out DSPXmini
“Audio processing is a very personal art – often what sounds good to one person will make another cringe. But at its base, broadcast processing is about producing a tight but clean audio package”.
A Station in Need
Dana Puopolo, Chief Engineer at WURD not only found a processor that does the job, but one that is easy on the budget too. WURD Radio in Philadelphia is locally owned and operated and features a variety format based on talk but also running block and music programs. Dana found that the station radio, though very loud, sounded thin and quite distorted.
“Initially I suspected the old audio processor as the problem, some major problems with the 15 kHz analog audio line did not help. Once we dealt with the program lines the sound became quite a bit better, but just not right”.
After speaking with a friend I met at NAB, he suggested I try his new AM Audio Processor, the DSPXmini-AM. I told him that I had only a limited amount of money and a lot of projects pending, but when he told me the list price, my curiosity was aroused. How good can a processor this cheap sound?
A Very Quick Install
When the demonstration unit arrived, I immediately put it on line. The setup was quick and easy. Once the DSPXmini-AM was operating (Which took a total of about 10 minutes from opening the box to getting it in the rack and ready to listen), I went out to the car and checked it out. I could not believe what I was hearing; the station truly had been transformed. The audio was loud – very loud – but was not distorted at all. There was no apparent pumping of any other artefacts, just very loud and incredibly clean signal. That includes the low end. There was a lot of very clean bass.
Running well with the Specifics
My little 1kW station now is about 4 dB louder than the class A 50kW stations here in Philly. No one can touch it either in loudness or quality. The DSPXmini-AM also increased the station’s range by over 20 miles. Every staff member can hear improvement over the old processor, as can many local engineers. Now to some specifics: the basic processor is comprised of a 40band AGC followed by a 4-band peak limiter followed by an output filter.
Four bands are ideal for AM where most energy is under 5 kHz. The presents are a good start – none of them will make your station sound bad. There are also 8 memories to store your own presets, and a real time clock to allow you to day part you’re processing. The DSPXmini-AM also features peak clipper that has a ‘finesse’ control that allows for the dynamic control of the clip depth – something I have never seen before on such a value processor.
The four-line alphanumeric DSPXmini-AM display tells you all that you need to know about what is going on under the hood. It can also be connected to the internet and controlled remotely with a computer.
The software comes with the processor. The DSPXmini-AM is a stereo unit, although for this particular installation station I only needed one channel. All the connections are via XLR connectors or the RJ45 plug. This is truly a breakthrough product. There is nothing under $2500 that can touch it. It is 100% digital, stable as a rock and sounds great. What have you got to lose, except your bad on air audio?