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Keeping Up with Growing Media Needs

How large facilities streamline audio recording, playback, and distribution with dedicated network devices

Large facilities like universities, major broadcast studios, and public events centers have increasingly complex multimedia needs. From recording interviews for immediate broadcast, to capturing training sessions and making them available to staff remotely, there are more reasons than ever before to streamline audio recording, playback, and file access. And as the needs of facilities and clients grow, technical directors need scalable solutions that can simplify operations while providing the utmost reliability. Let's take a look at some of the audio recording workflows that large facilities use every day, and how use dedicated recorders with network capabilities to streamline their operations.

Recording content and making it available remotely

On a day-to-day basis, a large facility such as a zoo can have as many audio recording and playback needs as a music production studio. Educational seminars and employee training sessions not only need to be recorded and archived, they need to be made available remotely for staff and third parties to access. Custom playlists may need to created for looped playback in different areas of the facility. And as a public events center, third-party event organizers will need their audio needs catered to as well.

The Minnesota Zoo recently provided insight on how they leverage dedicated network recorders like the TASCAM SS-CDR250N to keep up with their growing audio needs. As explained by Senior Engineer Richard Bopp (the designer and programmer for the Minnesota Zoo installation project by Audio Logic Systems of Eden Prairie, MN), the SS-CDR250N keeps things running smoothly in the zoo's busy events center:

"The Minnesota Zoo has a theater-style space called the Target Learning Center that they use for their Bird show and a variety of larger meetings. They run their bird show twice daily, seven days a week. The TASCAM SS-CDR250 is primarily used to record the meetings in the space. Later after the meetings, zoo staff members will pull the recording from the unit and then post it online so that those staff members who could not attend the meeting can catch up. The unit is also available to record audio of the shows, concerts, and other events from outside users that take place in the space.

"The primary deciding factor in selecting this unit was the recorder's network option, so the zoo staffers could remotely access the files and download them. Secondly, the fact that the unit has both an SD card slot and a USB port for a thumb drive is especially useful. It enables staff members to use the SD card while third party people can simply plug in a USB stick and make a copy of their event."

Bopp also explains that the SS-CDR250 has been easy to integrate into their facility, and allows users to operate it either from their QSC Q-SYS control system via RS-232, with a mobile app, or simply right from the front panel. This ease of use and versatile functionality give the zoo the audio agility needed to handle a variety of audio recording and playback tasks, in an environment where capturing a second take is never an option.

Quickly and easily capture material for on-air use

It may seem obvious that an audio-centric operation such as a major radio broadcast studio needs to be technologically agile. However, most may not realize just how quickly on-air content needs to be recorded and produced for playback. Interviews need to be recorded, segments need to be produced, and dead air needs to be avoided at all costs—it's a fast-paced production world. Rolith Thomas, Technology Coordinator for KUT Radio, explains how the SS-R250N has been a smart addition to their studios:

"We installed the SS-R250N in July 2023," Thomas reports. "We are using this TASCAM SD-card recorder in one of our production studios. It's integrated into our Axia Livewire® network and serves as the primary backup for recording interviews and segments for our statewide news show, Texas Standard. For the most part, we use the SS-R250N for recording interviews. We [also] have one unit in our Music Library for digitizing vinyl records and playback / listening to songs.

We also have a couple of TASCAM SS-R250N systems in our Technical Operations Center running as 24/7 backup music sources for our KUTX FM and HD channels. If, for some reason, we encounter a DJ issue or a technical outage, we have silence detectors in place to switch from our live programming to the TASCAM SD-card players, which are programmed with appropriate music for each channel. The TASCAM players are constantly on repeat of a 100-song playlist. We're also planning to add another SS-R250N at a distant FM transmitter site (KXBT FM- 88.1, Somerville, Texas) as a backup source because it's an hour and a half away from our studio."

In the mission-critical world of live radio broadcast, network audio recorders like the SS-R250N are able to help streamline production workflows while offering the reliability a professional studio needs.

Music playback, vinyl digitization, and more

As the examples above have already highlighted, the SS-CDR250N and SS-R250N were chosen for their roles in large part for their versatility. In addition to offering high-quality audio recording and playback, these recorders also serve a vital role in digitizing vinyl records, curating custom music playlists, and making it easy for third parties to receive a copy of their recordings as soon as possible. And while professional facilities such as the Minnesota Zoo and KUT Radio will undoubtedly equip themselves with as many recording and playback tools as they need to stay ahead, it's clear that they value the TASCAM SS series' agility and ability to handle such a wide range of recording and playback tasks all from a single unit.

Network-capable recorders give large facilities the flexibility they need

As the case studies above have highlighted, the audio recording needs of large facilities can be as unique as they are imperative to the success of the operation. By choosing network-capable recording devices like the TASCAM SS-CDR250N and SS-R250N, technical directors have the tools they need to capture high-quality recordings, distribute recordings to staff and third parties remotely, manage long playlists and customize playback, and much more.

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