The Podblaster provides 'powerful yet unobtrusive level control' to solve such problems as erratic perceived loudness, dynamic range and peak level in a stereo or dual-mono audio signal. With both digital and analogue audio inputs and outputs, it has digital processing for applications such as podcasting and streaming, feeds from contribution studios, news studios and sports reporting. Benefits include reducing listener annoyance, reducing the effort required from presenters to control levels, leaving them the freedom to concentrate on the content, improving the audibility and clarity of the programme by reducing overload distortion.
It may also be used for microphone processing, since it includes high-pass filtering and sibilance-reduction functions, if an insert point is available in the mixer. The two channels could be used in dual-mono, for, say presenter and guest microphone feeds. Further applications include the protection of studio to transmitter links, digital codecs and PA and monitoring systems.
The Podblaster is controlled using a PC connected to the USB port, using the software supplied. The graphical user interface provides a means of selecting one of nine factory presets, modifying it for less or more processing, adjusting levels and then saving the result to flash memory; after this a computer need not be connected. This simplified operation of the GUI does not require expert knowledge. However, every processing parameter, including all thresholds and time constants, can also be accessed and modified under PC control, if desired, for 'expert' setup.
The processing blocks include low-pass and adjustable high-pass filters on the inputs. The remaining blocks may be switched in and out. A gated automatic gain control with a capture range of +/-20dB (maximum positive gain can be set) offers programme-dependent operation. A compressor may be activated, with a nominal 1.5:1 slope and 4dB maximum boost of low levels. The wide-band limiter may be selected; it has zero overshoot, due to the 1.3ms look-ahead and zero clipping. The high frequency limiter protects the 50us or 75us emphasis curve for FM broadcasting and de-essing applications.
The front panel has two pairs of LED bar-graph meters to show input and output levels. The rear has a coaxial DC connector for the supply, a USB connection to a PC for setup, two RCA (phono) connectors for S/P Dif input and output and two pairs of 6.35mm three-pole jack sockets, providing balanced inputs and outputs at line level for left and right analogue signals. The half-width case is 1U high and may be mounted in a full-width rack using optional accessory rack ears 93-2023.
Analogue inputs: +22dBu maximum, -6dBu to +14dBu operating level, 10k ohms.
Digital S-PDIF inputs: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96kHz sample rate; 16, 20 or 24 bits.
Analogue to analogue -
Response: 30Hz-20kHz +/-0.5dB. Noise: Less than -83dB RMS, 20Hz-20kHz, referred to +8dBu limit point. Distortion: Better than -74dB (0.02%) THD, 6dB limiting. Stereo separation: Better than -80dB at 3kHz.
Digital to digital -
Response, : 20Hz-20kHz +/-0.1dB. Noise: Less than -117dBFS RMS, 20Hz-20kHz. Distortion: -94dB (0.002%) THD, 6dB limiting. Stereo separation: -117dB at 3kHz. Audio latency: 2.2 to 4ms.
Analogue outputs: -6dBu to +18dBu ceiling for 10k ohms load. Low impedance.
Digital S-PDIF outputs: Full input-rate or half input-rate and 88.2 or 96kHz base-rate selectable. 24 bits.
Power source: 5V DC, 6W, from 90-264V AC power supply included, supplied without AC power cable. Dimensions: 44 x 217 x 228 (h x w x d)mm. Weight: 1kg.
Included accessories: Power supply. Manual on CD.
Optional accessories: Rack mounting kit.
Required accessories: AC power lead for PSU; this has an IEC C7 inlet, see 42-160.
This consists of two PodCasters, as described above, mounted together and supplied fitted with rack-ears to fit in a 1U space in a 19 inch rack.