WheatNet IP Blade 3 Overview
BLADE-3s Are Different
Wheatstone BLADE-3s have a lot in common with the set of IP Audio products that form the basic I/O building blocks of an AoIP network. But there’s a whole lot more going on inside a BLADE-3 than mere I/O. There’s a powerful CPU complete with operating system to provide the routing, logic, and audio power to practically create a self-contained production studio.
When they are networked, their power is virtually unlimited.
There are BLADEs for just about every purpose, all of which can be networked together with our control surfaces and accessories to make one smart WheatNet-IP audio network.
Inside a BLADE-3
When Wheatstone invented modern broadcast audio networking, they vowed to build the first truly intelligent IP audio system. One where every interface held the DNA of the entire system for recovery. A system with true Gigabit connectivity. One that required only a single CAT-6 cable to interface any network piece – to carry audio AND control information. A system that could actually be up 24/7/365 and handle everything you need, an actual 'station in a box', yet so simple to interface as to be virtually foolproof.
BLADE-3s have a LOT under the hood.
All BLADE-3s use Gigabit Ethernet. This makes all the difference in network capacity, near-zero latency, throughput, reliability – in short, everything.
Virtually All Audio Formats
BLADEs are built to handle native analogue, microphone, AES/EBU, SPDIF, AOIP, MADI, SDI and AES 67. Once any type of audio is ingested into the WheatNet-IP network, any type of audio input can be converted to any other type of output. Example: analogue to digital, AES to IP, MADI to AES 67, mics to AOIP, etc.
Two 8x2 Utility Mixers
Each BLADE has two 8x2 utility mixers that can be configured to accomplish many diverse tasks. These internal mixers are full featured and include panning, channel ON/OFF, fader levels, and access to any source signal in the system. They also include a full ACI (Automation Control Interface) allowing remote control, ducking, auto fade, channel on/off, levels, source assign, etc.
Audio & Control Routing Matrix
You can take any audio input and route it to any output or all outputs. You can take any GPI and send to multiple GIO’s or you can marry GPIO’s to an audio source and have it follow that source through the system. All through one RJ45 connector for each device.
Source & Destination Control
Each BLADE has the ability to route any source to the destinations on that BLADE.
Dual OLED Displays
Each BLADE has two small full colour displays for monitoring and control of most functions right from the front panel. Setup, monitoring, network information, alarm status, enabling and operating utility mixes, setting input and output gain, enabling audio processing – and whatever else we can think of in the years to come.
In case of an operator error, this can be programmed as a “source” or “input” for the failover. If an operator misses a cue or leaves a fader down, when the system senses silence it can take the automation system directly to air or use the integral clip player to play music and ads until the operator catches up. Every single audio output channel can be programmed with a silence detection and automatic switch-over function.
Built-in Audio Clip Player
There is an optional built-in audio clip player that can be used to put emergency audio on the air. The files are managed in our Navigator Software where you can add files, organize the playlist, and fire playback with a logic port. Silence or LIO can trigger this playback or it can be manually controlled from Navigator.
Front Panel Logic Indicators
Status indicators for active logic and the direction (in or out) of the BLADE.
12 Universal GPI/O Ports
Each BLADE is equipped with RJ45 connectors to provide 12 Universal Logic Ports which can be individually designated during set up as inputs or outputs. These ports are used to interface the various external switches, indicators, and control functions you need.
128 Software Logic Ports
Used to interface with software switches, indicators, and control functions throughout the system.
This logging app tracks LIO/SLIO activity throughout the system and shows the user when any input comes into the system and when it is sent, via multicast, across the network and to the output. A comprehensive Sort Section and Activity Visualizer let the user see a detailed view of what happened in the system.
Stereo Audio Processor
Each BLADE-3 has a stereo multiband processor with the following: 4-band parametric equalizer, 3-way crossovers, 3 compressors, 3 limiters, and a final lookahead limiter. This is a “routable processor,” meaning it is not limited to the local I/O on the BLADE – it can be considered a network resource.
This is a great feature in BLADEs for callers, codecs, networks, remote broadcast & live talk shows that require a mix-minus. You can create a predetermined back haul, IFB feed or mix-minus for each device based on its location in the system or on a fader. If you have a shared resource connected to your system, such as a codec, the software will “automagically” give the proper return feed to the codec based on its destination. When a base connection is made, up to ten additional connections can be made. This significantly helps streamline studio routing, phone and codec selection.
Allows the same source to be identified by different names. A signal can now be given an alias(es) which can be a more friendly name that operators understand. Multiple aliases can be used so different operators can share logic functions, source feeds, routing, etc.
Ability to support AES67 compliant devices. Allows WheatNet-IP system to synchronize to IEEE1588 from a PTP grandmaster clock and ingest /stream AES67 compliant packets.
44.1, 48K, External Sync or AES67 Operation
This is the overall clocking for your digital system. The system clock rate can be either 44.1K, 48K, External Reference or AES67.
The 1588 Clock Loss Indicator notifies the user when the AES67 clock source has been lost.The AES Sync Loss Indicator notifies the user when an AES input has lost its clock source. Also generates Alarms for any AES3 input that becomes disconnected.
Onboard Intelligent OS
Each BLADE has its own intelligence/operating system that allows it to be a powerful standalone router, be part of a larger system, or control the entire routing system. WheatNet-IP is an embedded system that does not require outside intervention or control from 3rd party software running on PC’s. The configuration of the entire network is stored in each BLADE.
44.1K or 48K Sampling Rates
System operates at 44.1K or 48K while converting incoming signals up or down as needed.
Auto Mono Summing
Any stereo signal sent to a mono output is automatically summed: If you route a stereo source or stereo mix to a mono destination such as hybrid or codec, the system will automatically “sum” the left and right channels together.
The BLADE can take any Stereo AES/EBU or Analogue input or output and split it into two mono channels.
Gain Control on Every Input & Output
This allows the user to calibrate the input level for each source or destination.
There is a balance control on every stereo input and output.
Flexible Signal Configuration
Signal can be defined as up to 16 mono, 8 stereo or any combination of mono and stereo totaling 16 channels.
With the push of a button or a command from the automation system, this output can feed the transmitter, freeing the on-air studio up for production or voice tracking.
Front Panel Input and Output Metering
There is metering for every input and output on the system – 12-segment, multi-colour LEDs that can be used for metering inputs and outputs as 8 pairs or 16 mono signals.
Front Panel Headphone Jack and Source Selection
This is a self-powered headphone jack with volume control. It allows you to select and monitor any source or mix on that BLADE or in the entire system.
There are an unlimited number of salvos and macros, used when more than one route needs to take place. These are preprogrammed events or a series of switched events that can happen within a BLADE or thoughout an entire WheatNet-IP network.
Automation Control Interface (ACI)
This is a “tool box” in every BLADE that allows full control functions such as routing, ducking, panning, full logic control, mixing and silence detection. Each BLADE supports up to 20 ACI connections which can be used with devices like Talent Stations, GP panels, Sideboards, etc. It also allows control of our partners’/third party equipment.
While not built into a BLADE, the screen builder app offers the scripting capability of a GP16, the control of GlassE, monitoring and metering of the IP Meters app, and ACI protocol. This will allow a user to build a custom screen to fit many needs in specific applications. Will work with any version BLADE.
Wheatstone’s enhanced Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) management system uses SNMP to monitor network attached devices such as BLADEs for conditions that may require action by the end user. This tool gives you centralized monitoring over large distributed systems. You can configure alarms and set thresholds to get notified if and when a problem occurs. The instant alarms and notifications help you take quick corrective actions through e-mail, SMS, and executing custom scripts.
Has both DB25 to make transitional wiring easy for existing BRIDGE TDM customers and RJ45 – Studio Hub compatible RJ connectors for input and output.
Each signal has a new info screen allowing the user to add text to signals such as wire numbers, termination locations, etc.
LIO Outputs can be tested from the front panel of each BLADE.
Due to its distributed intelligence, the system has automatic backup capability.
Using Alarm doc or LED status, BLADEs can report on a wide variety of error and alarms.
System can lock to a NTP server on the network for time of day synchronization.
Front Panel Locking
All BLADEs’ front panels can be locked for security
Built in version checker to aid in update process.
Can save a current copy of all crosspoints in the system. This is done in Navigator.
A comprehensive logging application is included for every BLADE to aid in system debugging.
No Cooling Fans
They don’t need them!
Specific Functions for Specific BLADES:
Using the 88m you have 8 Mic preamps
Using the M4 you have 4 Mic preamps, but also 4 M1 mic processors.
Eight Audio Processors
The Aura8-IP has 8 stereo processors that allow user to process any audio in the WNIP system and route that processed audio to any output.
High Density Ingest
Using a MADI BLADE user can connect to a variety of 3rd party devices and ingest up to 64 channels of audio over a single coaxial cable.
External Clock Reference
88d, 88ad, Aura8-IP BLADEs can accept an AES reference into port 8 to use a master clock reference for the system.