Calrec Brings Surround Sound to Salt Lake City’s KUED
William Montoya, Audio Team Leader for KUED, Utah’s PBS station, was looking to improve the overall sound quality of its programs while increasing the studio’s capabilities by upgrading to a 5.1 native broadcast audio console. It wasn’t until the unveiling of Calrec Audio’s Brio 36 that his dream of owning a fully digital 5.1 console became a reality – the Brio 36 perfectly fit Montoya’s technical specifications and price point.
Montoya has found the Brio 36 is especially beneficial to KUED’s studio-based productions, which consist mainly of talk shows and live fundraising events. “Brio’s built-in auto-mixing capability helps maintain a very acceptable background noise level by suppressing unused microphones dynamically in applications when we have multiple mics on-set or on-location at the same time,” he explains. “This dramatically improves the sonic quality of our productions. We found this feature to be especially useful for the Utah State Governor’s press conference show, where we broadcast an unedited exchange between up to 11 individually mic’ed reporters and the Governor.”
While Montoya is impressed with the console’s wide array of features, it was its surround capabilities that first caught his eye. “We wanted to have a 5.1 native console that could put a full 5.1 source on a single fader,” he says. “With the small footprint of the Brio 36, we are able to manage multiple surround sources without maxing out the surface. We were also impressed with the fact that the console’s preamps feature plenty of clean headroom.”
Montoya also notes that there have been many early benefits of the Brio 36, including the easy navigation and self-explanatory user interface, which helped with the initial transition from the old to the new console. The small form-factor of the Brio 36 is also incredibly useful to a local station like KUED, but it is the advanced audio functionality built into this compact console which really stands out above everything else.
“We are loving everything about the Brio 36; it sounds great and, for the footprint and price, it is extremely powerful and flexible,” says Montoya. “A really useful feature for us is having tone available on any input or output – in any format with or without identification. This allows us to track down audio channel issues in our broadcast chain using tone from the Brio. Additionally, the built-in loudness meter is a very useful tool; we can now be sure our mixes are meeting broadcast standards. The Brio was initially selected as a standalone replacement of a previous console, but with its expansion capabilities, we are already considering additional I/O for other rooms in our station.”
KUED has served the greater Utah area for more than 50 years. Its mission is to serve as Utah’s storyteller, producing several full-length documentaries about the region each year. KUED also contributes to National PBS program offerings, including Yellowstone Symphony, which aired this spring. The station is heavily involved in the community, running outreach programs every year in support of literacy and community engagement.
“Public television is a vital contributor to the American broadcast market, and we’re very excited to continue to be part of its programming through a wide array of local stations,” says Dave Lewty, Regional Sales Manager, Calrec. “The Brio 36 console is perfectly suited to studios like KUED, which require high audio performance in a compact format.”