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Ward-Beck Systems Blog

  • Introducing the all-new AMS2 Mini Cue Speaker with Digital and Analog Inputs!

    It's speakerrific! Ward-Beck is proud to introduce the brand new AMS2 Mini Cue speaker, the newest addition to our lineup of simple solutions to complex broadcasting problems.

    The versatile AMS2 is packaged as a standard 1RU unit and is equipped with both digital and stereo analog inputs.   Connections are via pluggable screw terminals located on the rear panel. An IEC power disconnect simplifies installation and removal of the device, especially in mobile applications.

    Installation is simple...just plug the AMS2 in and get to work! Want quality, affordability and portability, all in one neat package? If so, AMS2 is the Mini Cue Speaker for you! The AMS2 is perfect for use in  studios, pro AV, mobile trucks and  many environments, where quality is essential and space and budgets are limited.

    Contact Ward-Beck Systems to get yours! Email us at, or phone 416-335-5999.

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  • The beginning of the booth - sketching out a plan

    As we established in our last post about NAB, it was clear that a new direction was needed when preparing for NAB 2015, and our change of location gave us a great excuse to do exactly that. Creativity, resourcefulness and a whole lot of forethought on part of our design team, allowed us to come up with a spectacular booth design for 2015. But Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was our booth (although Rome presumably took longer, all things considered.)

    Taking inspiration from this Harley Davidson booth design by Maya Bakalars, we decided to go with a retro theme, which would further highlight our roots as the longest-standing broadcast manufacturer in Canada. We wanted to incorporate vintage elements such as a record player, while integrating that with our forward-thinking product solutions for modern-day applications. We knew from early on, also, that we wanted to feature the colour green considerably, as that is the Ward-Beck colour. We're going back, and we're going green!

    Some preliminary sketches helped us pin down the idea of what direction we wanted to go, in regards to design and aesthetic.

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  • 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!


  • Introducing POD14B - Dual Analog to Digital converter

    Looking for an affordable, high-quality solution for your analog to digital audio conversion needs? Look no further than the POD14B, the newest in our range of top quality, low-cost problem solving broadcasting equipment!


    • + Dual AES/EBU analog to digital audio converter
    • + Comes ready for use in 75 Ohm and 110 Ohm installations
    • + Half-rack unit, conserving studio space, and can be rackmounted easily.
    • + No special set up necessary. Just plug and play!

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  • It begins with a brainstorm...

    NAB 2015 is fast approaching! Time for the yearly rush, getting everything organized and in place before the broadcasting industry's greatest tradeshow rolls around.  This year, we were moved to an awesome new location (Booth# C2541), and the new location meant a whole new booth and a whole new booth design!

    It was clear that a fresh approach was need for NAB 2015, and we were in sore need of inspiration! Off to Google we went, therefore, looking at what others had done with 20 x 10 exhibition spaces. We searched many sites, looking for that spark of inspiration. The one below, for Harley Davidson, caught our attention: Continue reading

  • NAB 2015: Here we go!

    It’s that time again.

    The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the snow is receding from the land…in other words, it's show time.

    For you see, spring is coming, and in the broadcast industry, that means only one thing: planning for NAB, North America’s premier broadcasting conference and expo. It will soon be time for our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas, to present our wares to the global broadcasting industry.Preparing for the NAB ShowWard-Beck invites you to follow us on our journey to NAB 2015. Share our trials and tribulations as we venture forth this year. Considering the event we are planning for is to be held 3600 km away from our home base, there is a lot of logistics to contend with. Follow us as we tackle the challenge of preparing for something as big as the NAB. We hope that it will give you some insight into the amount of planning and organization that goes into preparing for such a massive event. While we will not necessarily reveal all the gory details, we hope that our posts will arm other small businesses to take on the challenge of a large trade show. So please follow along in the lead up to NAB 2015, as we document our efforts in preparing for the big show.

    To make things even more interesting this year, things are a-changin’. The NAB committee has juggled some booth spaces around. For us, that means that the space we used for the last few years has been given over to an island of smaller booths. The great news is, we have moved to a killer new location!

    We are now located in Central Hall, right on the border of Acquisition & Production and Radio/Pro Audio. Find us at Booth# C2541!


    Of course, this means that our booth from the previous two years will not work in this new location. Back to the drawing board for us, then. Time to design a new booth. But where to start?

    Stay tuned to find out…

  • King of the conversion. IMP-1F - SPDIF 75Ω to 110Ω Balanced AES


  • Spitting out some sick bits

    We will be glad to see the record breaking cold of February coming to an end this week in Toronto. It may be an early morning for some people, but here at Ward-Beck, it is already Friday 7:00 am and our Production Department has another round of "Bits Of Spitters" coming off the line. We are also expecting March to be coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb with another round of snow this weekend. Don't put your shovels away yet!

  • QTP -

    Ward-Beck Systems is excited about the latest innovation from our R and D department.  We've called it QTP and it stands for

    Quad Twisted Pair is simply the integration and addition of RJ-45 and Category Cable as an interconnection standard for moving audio.  A lineup of conversion boxes, cables and adapters has taken shape and was recently featured at the Toronto Audio Engineering Society's member showcase.    For more information and to contribute to the implementation of QTP join the discussion on the forum. 


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  • Process documentation of customizing a POD12A/110: Switching I/O connectors

    Quite often, we get customers coming to us with requests for a custom builds of existing products. Sometimes the customization required is as simple as changing some connectors, and sometimes it requires a whole new feature to be added, which can even turn into the creation of a whole new product. In the particular case that we are documenting below, the request was quite straightforward: the customer wanted the input and output connections of the POD12A/110 Reclocking Digital DA to be replaced with XLR connectors.

    On a standard POD12A/110, the input and output connections are made of pluggable 3-pin screw terminals. These screw terminations are durable, and their small size allows for all ten of the POD12A/110’s input and output connections to be housed in its small 8.7” wide rear panel.

    (Rear panel of a standard POD12A/110 unit)

    However, our customer much preferred XLR connectors to 3-pin terminals, and requested that this change be made. Although the request seems straightforward enough, it is not a simple matter of just drilling some holes and plugging in new connectors.

    Continue reading

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