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  • POD2VOL: A custom build of the POD2

    Once in our while, one of our regular customers requests a customization to one of our products, and we take on the challenge. In this case, our customer requested a volume control installed on one of our audio switchers, the POD2 . This one mainly involved an added potentiometer and some other extra parts.

    Original POD2:

    POD2 Three Quarter

    POD2 Three Quarter

    Modified POD2 with Volume Control (POD2VOL):

    Looks pretty nice, if we say so ourself! It was a bit of work to knock this one out, but it's nice to get such an interesting order out the door!

  • For home audio editors: Hooking up an audio level meter to your laptop or stereo system

    Once in a while, we get questions from independent audio editors about how to hook up one of our audio meters to their home editing system. We had another such request only last week, so we thought we would put up an walkthrough of how to connect an audio level meter to a home editing system, laptop, cellphone, or amp. The principle is the same in hooking up any of the equipment, with minor variations in wiring.

    Take, for example, our POD3A Stereo Audio Level meter with VU and Peak level information.

    POD3A Three Quarter

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  • Modifying our new POD8A with 3-pin pluggable connectors to accomondate QTP and XLR connections!

    We recently introduced our new and improved POD8A Analog Distribution Amplifier  into the market: an analog audio distribution amplifier providing sixteen adjustable output channels from 2 input channels. This is an improved version of our previous POD8 Stereo Distribution Amplifier.

    We received some excellent feedback from potential customers regarding this new products, and one of the comments that struck us was that customers often preferred one type of connections over another. By default, the POD8A comes with 3-pin pluggable connectors, as do many other products in our POD lineup.

    In the past, we have done modifications for customers who requested other PODs XLR connectors, or other types of connections, as best suited their installation needs. Therefore, when we got similar feedback upon the introduction of the POD8A, we decided to introduce two alternate version of the POD8A, one with XLR connections (POD8A-XLR), and one with QTP connections (POPD8A-QTP).

    Modifying the rear panel to take QTP connectors:

    For QTP connectors, we were able to keep the same form factor after modifying the connections, due to the similar size of the QTP connections, in relation to the standard 3-pin pluggable terminals.


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  • New POD8A - Distribution Amp - passing sound

    The office stereo now has a QTP enabled distribution amp to play with.

    Here's a sneak peek.


    Trimmer adjusted Stereo XLR Line input Distributed to (12) XLR outputs as Stereo pairs, mono summed, or Left as mono. and Analog audio Distribution amp is a new part of the office network.

    Trimmer adjusted QTP analog in.  Adjusted QTP analog out.

    Ward-Beck Systems - Balanced Analog audio distribution amplifier with xlr and rj45 outputs,  Quadtwisted pair RJ45 audio, Layer 1 balanced audio transmission, low crosstalk, networking audio over cat 5 or cat 6 or cat6A cable.

  • The origin of PODs

    Why PODs?

    On a cross country flight from Toronto to Vancouver in 1994, I sketched out the concept of what would soon become the lineup and form factor we call PODs.  On many occasions, we had to integrate third party devices with our consoles and intercoms to provide additional functionalities for our clients.  While these products from other manufacturers solved the operational requirements, they were often not packaged in a manner that would allow us to easily create a neat serviceable outboard assembly.   What was needed was a suite of modular building bricks, in similar sized packages, that could easily be configured and assembled to provide the functions required.

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  • Introducing the POD8A!

    We are pleased to inform that we have upgraded our POD8 1x6 Stereo Audio Distribution Amplifier, and added new industry-leading features to it. The new POD8A Analog Audio Distribution Amplifier now features Input and Output Level Trims, A + B Input Sum operation and Stereo 1x8 or Mono 1x16 Operations!

    This Analog Audio DA packs a serious punch!

    POD8A Analog Audio Distribution Amplifier with Input & Output Level Trim, A + B Input Sum, Stereo 1x8 or Mono 1x16 Operation!

    POD8A is an analog audio distribution amplifier providing sixteen adjustable output channels from 2 input channels. POD8A can be configured to operate as MONO 1x16 where Input A goes to A and B Outputs or STEREO 1x8 where Input A goes to A Outputs and Input B goes to B Outputs. It can also operate in SUM mode where the mono sum of Input A and Input B goes to A and B Outputs. Mode selection is done via a 3 position slide switch on the front panel. Sixteen separate screwdriver adjustable potentiometers on the front panel allow the user to trim the levels of all output channels independently. Two additional adjustable potentiometers on the front panel allow trimming the inputs individually which can be useful when in the summing mode. Input and output connections to POD8A are via screw terminals located on the rear panel.

    The POD8A comes in the convenient standalone package shown above. Alternatively, it can also be rackmounted individually or side-by-side, for easy racking up in space-constrained broadcast and studio spaces.



    Input Gain 0dB to -16dB
    Output Gain -2dB to +18dB
    Max Output Level +27 dBu
    Max Input Level +27 dBu
    Frequency Response ±0.02dB, 20Hz to 20kHz
    Noise Better than -90 dBu, 20Hz to 20kHz
    THD + Noise Better than 0.002 %, 20Hz to 20kHz
    Stereo Separation Better than -88dB, 20Hz to 20kHz
    Input Impedance 20kΩ balanced
    Output Impedance 60Ω balanced
    Common Mode Rejection Better than -76dB, 20Hz to 20kHz
    Power Requirements 100-240 VAC, 50-60Hz
    Dimensions 8.69" wide x 1.73" high x 7.0" deep (221mm x 44mm x 178 mm)
    Weight 1.026kg / 2.26lbs


    Please download the POD8A Manual here for more information.

    We already have our first order waiting to be shipped out to some long-waiting broadcast customers. We are taking orders for more immediately. Get yours now at our new online store!

  • Please check your audio signal even if it is digital

    “Digital everything” makes the world run smoother, faster, cheaper and trouble free.  This is true for the most part, but when something goes wrong, it can be anything from a minor annoyance to a major train wreck.

    Audio signals get converted from analog to digital to ease transmission, distribution and storage and significant savings can be realized when audio is handled in the digital domain.  Digital technology also makes it possible to transport large numbers of signals (audio, video and control) in a single stream.  So a word from the once bitten twice shy, check your signals before you convert to digital and after you convert back to analog.

    Test gear, to check your signals, is available with varying degrees of sophistication and levels of cost.  Since we are audio guys, we’ll highlight an inexpensive and highly portable solution that should be in every audio specialists’ toolbox.

    Born out of the need to give the chief engineer at the radio station his ears back when the transition to digital started, is the BitBuddy.  This compact, battery powered and belt clip included audio monitor is equipped with a stereo analog input as well as an AES digital input.  Plug your headphones in and you can listen to a stereo analog audio signal or an AES digital signal.  A simple stereo LED meter indicates signal levels while the LED status/error display gives information about the  digital signal  and can identify any digital errors that are detected.

    For set up and installations, meet the BitSpitter, a companion to the  BitBuddy.  This compact, portable battery powered device generates a stable test tone in both analog and digital audio formats that can be fed down transmission lines, into amplifiers or A to D and D to A converters.  The digital test tones have selectable sampling rates and the ability to send invalid bits that test the receiving input circuitry of the destination device.

    With a BitSpitter at one end and a BitBuddy at the other, we offer an efficient, affordable solution to ensure that your cable installation is correct and that your amplifiers and transmission gear are operating to specification.  The  BitSpitter or BitBuddy may be purchased separately or ask us about the BitKit which provides both units in a convenient carry case complete with one IMP-1M and one IMP-1F impedance converter to adapt your units for use in 75 Ohm BNC installations.

    Ward-Beck Bit Kit - Email us for more information on how to get one!

  • Ward-Beck Systems - Lobby V5.05

    Ward-Beck Systems V5.05 front room - photo by

  • Introducing POD34 30 Watt Stereo amplifier With Balanced Analog and 110 Ohm AES Audio Inputs

    Introducing the POD34, the newest in our range of top quality, low-cost audio problem solvers!  Suitable for table-top or rackmount use, the POD34 is the go-to pro audio amplifier, designed for use in  studio, pro AV, mobile trucks and broadcasting environments, where quality is essential, space is limited and budgets are tight.   This unit comes ready for use with balanced analog audio and 110Ω inputs.  POD34 offers left, right, and stereo volume controls along with a stereo headset jack which mutes the speaker outputs when used. AES lock indicator and source selection controls all located on the front panel.

    Looking to get your hands on this new product? Want other compact, affordable and high-quality solutions for your broadcast problems? Contact Ward-Beck Systems now! Email or call 416-335-5999 for more information.



    FIND US AT NAB 2015!
    We will be showcasing the new POD34 at the NAB 2015 Trade Show RIGHT NOW! If you are going to NAB 2015, please find us at Central Hall, right on the border of Acquisition & Production and Radio/Pro Audio. You will see us at Booth# C2541!


  • The making of the POD14B

    Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention and at Ward-Beck that is often true. Our research and development team is challenged  to come up with innovative solutions to address the ever-changing needs of the broadcast audio market. Often it is the customer that drives the need for the invention of, or modification to, a product to address a specific or newly discovered need.  Ultimately we all benefit from this process.

    Such is the case with the newly-released POD14B, which was born out of a need  for a compact, affordable device that could simultaneously convert professional and consumer audio signals into two matched AES digital signals. What started as a custom modification to an existing Ward-Beck product for one client turned into a new product that serves an industry wide need.

    It all began at NAB 2014, when a long-time client approached us with a unique need for a product to be used at their transmitter sites. The primary audio at the site is a balanced +4dBu signal that has to be converted to an AES digital signal prior to being fed to the transmitter. The back-up audio signal at the site is derived from a consumer grade product and is unbalanced  at -10dBu.  This back-up signal must also be converted to AES digital and match the primary signal in all respects before being fed to the transmitter.

    The need of the client was, therefore:

    A product that can simultaneously convert both a balanced and unbalanced analog audio signal into  a matched pair of AES digital signals.

    Their requirements, summarized were:

    1. Provide a compact, cost effective solution to simultaneously convert professional and consumer audio signals into two matched AES digital signals.
    1. Build a unit that will work reliably in untended sites.
    1. Installation, set up, and maintenance must be intuitive and easy.

    The Modification Process
    We could have addressed this need with a combination of two existing POD products: POD18 the Quad Audio Level Matcher and POD14A the Dual Analog-to-Digital converter. However, the customer was looking for a one-box solution that was aggressively price-competitive as many units would be needed to be deployed in multiple locations. The most cost effective solution we determined would be to modify the existing POD14A by including some elements  from the newly redesigned POD18.

    Our R&D team modified the one of the plug-on circuit boards from POD18 to adapt it to fit into the POD14A. The plug-on would serve to take the unbalanced -10dBu  and convert it to a balanced  +4dBu analog audio signal. This signal would then be fed to one of the A to D converters of the POD14A to create a -20 dBFS digital AES/EBU audio signal.  The second A to D converter in POD14A would remain unchanged.  We now had a half rack unit that could accept an unbalanced stereo signal on one input, a balanced stereo signal on the second input and produce two matched AES/EBU signals at the outputs.  To differentiate it, this product became POD14B.

    What is new about the POD14B?
    In summary, the POD14B is a dual (+4 and -10 dBm) Analog-to-AES/EBU Converter, that can convert both professional level and consumer-level audio signals to AES/EBU digital signals. The POD14B does this dual converter job in a compact, half-rack unit package, making it perfect for many applications where economy and space constraints are important.

    Other advantages of POD14B include:

    1) the ability to properly trim the level of the unbalanced analog signal so that it matches that of the balanced analog signal

    2)  the inclusion of RCA type consumer jacks for the unbalanced inputs, allowing the use of off the shelf RCA type cables

    Rear panel of the original POD14A, with pluggable screw terminal input connections

    Rear panel of the new POD14B, with new RCA input jacks for 75 Ohm audio signals

     POD14B presents an elegant and cost-effective solution build with the craftsmanship and reliability Ward-Beck is renowned for.

    Should you get a POD14B?

    Suitable for all types of facilities from small scale home studios to large networks, if you want portability, performance and reliability at an affordable price, then POD14B is right for you.

    If you would like to order the POD14B, or want more information on the product, please email us at or call 416 335 5999.

    Want to see the POD14B in action?

    We will be showcasing the new POD14B at the NAB 2015 Trade Show. If you are going to NAB 2015, please find us at Central Hall, right on the border of Acquisition & Production and Radio/Pro Audio. You will see us at Booth# C2541!


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