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Monthly Archives: May 2014

  • Throwback Thursday: One Last Hurrah for the R2K Radio Console Series

    As some of you might have seen on our Facebook, the last of our R221 input modules were shipped out today. These were custom designed as input modules for the WBS Renaissance R2K Radio Console Series.


    In the spirit of one last hurrah for the last of these being shipped out, this Throwback Tuesday, we take a look at theR2K console.

    R2K console pic

    Sleek, lightweight and modular, the R2K console was designed with easy installation and maintenance in mind. Having been introduced in 1999, this console was appropriately named after Y2K (although the release of the R2K was, of course, not viewed with as much trepidation as the approach of Year 2000.)

    Although we have moved beyond this series, they are beloved by Ward-Beck aficionados everywhere, and from all the repair and maintenance requests we get from time to time, they still seem to be going strong at our local radio stations, despite the product being 15 years old at this point. Bell Media has many in their radio stations, as do Durham Radio, Halifax Broadcasting and Newcap Radio, to name just a few. For example, an R2K was installed at CILQ-FM, the radio studio in downtown Toronto’s Hard Rock Café, now owned by Corus entertainment and broadcasting from the Corus Quay building.

    As you can see below from the chart of the R2K module family, the modules making up the console had specific functions, the modular approach to design making them easy to troubleshoot, repair or replace.

    R2K Module Family

    The modular concept that made the R2K such a successful and functional model has also carried through into Ward-Beck's newer products. For example, our POD series of products work well with each other to hold the broadcasters' hand through every step of an audio signal's journey: such as the POD 4 Dual Mic Preamp, POD14A Analog to Digital Converter, and POD13A Digital to Analog Converter, to name a few.

    And well, if nothing else, at least now you’re one step closer to winning any trivia game featuring the question “Which radio console of Canadian origin was named after the frenzy surrounding the year 2000?” :P

  • Building a MP4(VU) Quad VU Meter + belated Throwback Tuesday

    We're back from our long weekend in Canada and back to business as usual! Hope all the Canadian folks enjoyed a relaxing Victoria Day weekend. One of the first things we did on the Tuesday back was ship out one of the MP4(VU) meter panels that our production team has been working on, so let's you give a brief look at the production of this shipment, and also look back at some vintage WBS products for a late Throwback Tuesday.

    Before the official production can begin, it is time to print out a production report, and use it to assemble the materials needed for production.

    Below, we can see the circuitry, power supply and steels housing plates that form the backbone of all our MP4 meter panels. However, you must be wondering, where are the meters???

    Our MP4 meter panels actually come in any combination of VU meters and PPM meters desired by the customer. In this case, the order was for a MP4 meter panel with four VU meters, so we will be gathering four VU meters to complete our production assembly.

    So now, we have all the materials needed. All that is needed is some time for our production team to do their magic.

    And we come back to the finished product: one fully assembled MP4(VU) meter panel.

    MP4(VU) Quad VU Meter

    As aforementioned, our MP4 meter panels also come in other combinations of the VU meters and PPM meters, as fits your needs. The meters are housed in a steel construction rack panel, affording them maximum protection which conserving rack space. In addition to the MP4(VU) meter shown above, we also offer the following models: MP4(PPM) with Quad PPM Meters, and MP4(2P2V) with Dual PPMs + Dual VU Meter.

    MP4(2P2V)  Dual PPMs + Dual VU Meter

    Now, we mentioned in our post from last week about building a POD29, that our VU Meters have been used in WBS module from way back. They have proven their worth time and time again. Let's take a look at some vintage WBS products that make use of the VU meter.

    Special edition Gold M405P Extended Range VU Meter

    You might have seen this M405P meter kicking around on our facebook page. It is a special gold edition build to commemorate the end of the line of our M405P Extended Range VU Meter.

    M405P Extended Range VU Meter

    The M450P was part of the M405 series of WBS extended range test meters designed specifically for broadcasters.

    The WBS T1202 console also makes use of two VU meters. If you'll remember from a previous post, these consoles were modified from of the M1002 portable consoled custom built for CBC.

    wbsps - console - t1202-19
    WBS T1202 Console - Photo courtesy of WBSPS

    Hope that was entertaining for those of you who are interested in the production or history of broadcast equipment. Check back with us to see more inside looks at production or more impromptu history lessons. Whatever floats your boat ; )

  • Making a POD29: The Importance of Clean Wiring and Design

    Here’s a little gift from our production team to you: steps in the process of making a POD29, and why clean wiring and design is essential for the making of a great and functional product. For reference, the POD29 is 40W utility power supply from our POD lineup of products for broadcast professionals. Let's take a short look at what goes into designing one of these.

    As you can see in the image below, some of the the essentials have already been assembled, but the product is far from done. The POD-package that this product is housed in still needs to be build, terminations still need to be inserted into the POD-Package and the wiring remains to be taken care of. Lots of things still to do here, but I’m sure our production team can handle it ; )

    Another picture with a little more work done. If you look closely at the top left wires, you can see they have been sleeved off to protect them and prevent short circuiting, something we expanded on in an earlier post. You can also spot that the green heavy-duty pluggable connectors have now been set in at the back. Although it is not fully there yet, you can even see a little of the the rectangular POD-Package coming together around the assembly.

    Here we can see the product nearing completion, with just about everything where it should be. As you can see here, now the wires are neatly cleaned up and tucked away into their respective terminations, instead of a jungle of wires all around the product.

    Clean wiring might take more effort initially, but it is a good long-term investment. Neat wiring and design makes it a lot easier to test the product, and facilitates any replacement of parts that might be needed. It also ensures that a tangle of wires does not prevent the minute components that make up the product from working properly, or jostle them out of place in the product assembly.Additionally, if a customer has to send a unit in for repair, this sort of clean build allows us to troubleshoot and repair the product more efficiently, and get it back to the customer quicker. A win-win for everyone involved : )

    Now, here the product is waiting for testing by the technical team. As you can see, the packaging is almost done save for the top covering panel.

    Once the product has been tested and found to be working in tip top shape, the finishing touches can be put to make the final product come together...

    ...and then it can be shipped out to one lucky customer!

    If you're interested in getting your hands on one of these, head on our to the POD29 product page. The POD 29 is part of Ward-Beck's POD series of rack-mountable products, and is a 40W utility power supply with four outputs. POD29A provides a universal input, +15V and -15V DC outputs with ground. For information get in touch with us, or contact a dealer near you!

    And now for a little hint at what we’ll be tackling next…

    You might recognize the VU meters above from some of our modules from way back. Can you telling what product we’re going to be making out of these? Hint hint, it’s an active product and needs four of these to build it ;)

  • First of our new and improved IMP-20 panels shipped out today

    Good news at Ward-Beck today! The first of our new and improved 20-unit baluns shipped out today to a lucky buyer! These high-density baluns now come in a sleeker package, and are designed with interchangeable front and back panels, to better fit the layout of your studio, and save you valuable space. We're excited to see the places this new IMP-20 line will go! Check out the below pictures for a sneak preview, and stay tuned for more information and specs!

    Contact a dealer and order yours today! (Order information: Ask for product code IMP-20.)

  • What's in the Vault

    Welcome back to What's in the Vault! Before we get to our historical find of the week, here's the answer to our quiz from the previous one. We showed you a schematic of a Headphone Amplifier that was predecessor our current POD6 Headphone Amplifier, and asked you to identify what the precursor product was. If you guessed the M568W Headphone Amplifier Module, you would be right! : )


    This week, courtesy of plant manager Gerry Bell, we've got a special find lined up for you. It's amazing what you'll find when rooting through the old stuff in your garage ; )

    A pretty cool press release introducing Ward Beck's Microcom system, which can been seen pictured below.



    And now for another quiz! Speaking of MicroComs, what was the name of the small 24x36 matrix package that utilized MicroCom II components and was specifically designed by Ward Beck as a cost-effective system to be housed in confined spaces? Stay tuned next week for the answer!

  • Career Talk: Interview with Adam Sprovieri

    It may sound cheesy, but a dairy product from Thunder Bay was what led to Adam Sprovieri working as a Technologist for Ward-Beck Systems.

    Adam Sprovieri, Technologist at Ward-Beck Systems

    Adam’s mother and stepfather were visiting Niagara-on-the-lake and happened upon Cheese Secrets, owned by Eugene and Colleen Johnson, the owners of Ward-Beck Systems. When a cheese from Thunder Bay, where Adam’s family is originally from, caught their eyes, one thing led to another and they got to know Eugene and Colleen. Another chance meeting at a concert led to an offer for Adam to interview for a Co-op position at Ward-Beck.

    After two successful and educational co-op terms here, Adam officially started working full-time at Ward-Beck in January 2014. Five months into full time, let’s take a brief look at his work experience here:

    What the interview process was like:

    It was quite fast. When asked to give Ward-Beck a call if he was interested in a Co-op position, Adam gave us a call the very next day and got an interview scheduled for the day after. The day after the interview, Adam got an offer of internship.

    He did four months of co-op at Ward-Beck, went back to school. Another round of co-op and a semester of study later, Adam graduated and began working full time at Ward-Beck systems.

    Some highlights of the co-op experience at Ward-Beck:

    • Testing out products with the test department, and making sure everything was functioning properly before the product was shipped out to customers.
    • Coding with the design team
    • Hands-on prototyping of new products being developed by the design team
    • Troubleshooting for the design team.

    Hard at work troubleshooting for the design team

    What the Head of Design says about him:

    “He never bought coffee for us!”

    What Adam likes most about his job:

    Getting to learn new things.

    What he is currently working on:

    Adam is currently working on designing a prototype for a customizable speaker that can be inserted into any Ward-Beck product that uses speakers. Although an initial prototype has already been devised, Adam is working on a second one that would come closer to meeting specifications.

    Working on the hands-on prototype for the speaker

    Thanks for taking the time to chat, Adam, and best of luck in your future at Ward-Beck!

  • What's In the Vault?

    Before we kick off this week's edition of What's In the Vault, here's the answer to our quiz from the previous week. We asked you what the schematic was, which was forerunner to our POD-2 switcher. Well, voilà!

    (The M478A, an 8x1 switcher from 1976.)

    Alright, moving on to this week! Below you can see the M8203, a 400/1000 Hz Oscillator Module that is offered as part of our 8200 series of cards:
    Pretty sweet looking card. And below, schematics from 1975 for the M604A, a 25 Hz oscillator.

    And going way back to 1971, schematics for another ancient oscillator.

    Holding these schematics in your hand is a strange experience, because the things are handdrawn and you can really see the age in the paper.

    And now, another impromptu quiz, that is perhaps not so impromptu at this point ; )

    Below you can see our POD6 Headphone Amplifier and nestled underneath it, a schematic for a product serving a similar purpose from way back. Guess what year the schematic is from! No hints this time! : )

    We’ll reveal the answer at the end of the week, so tune in Friday for the answer, and for the next installation of What’s In The Vault!

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