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Tag Archives: production

  • Another successful metal shop design!

    Our metal shop just dropped of one of our first external orders!

    The client wanted some chassis built with computer-like ventilation grills, to host vintage amplifiers. These were designed, prototyped and built in our in-house metalshop.

    We can't wait to do more custom designs like these for our clients! Visit our metalwork and design page to see what we can do for you: ward-beck.com/ca/metalshop

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  • PPM Driver Redesign

    Out of need comes ingenuity.

    Our 14-060 (PPM Buffer & Driver assembly) recently sold out. This was a through hole board and quite costly to produce due to the hand labour involved in assembly. Further, the item was not 'friendly' to be used outside of a 'Ward-Beck' specific sub-assembly.

    Therefore it is...*drumroll*...time for a redesign!
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  • Testing out new rackmountable speaker

    While we're in the middle of our AMS Select series redesign, we took a look at testing out some new rackmountable speakers. Here's a quick walkthrough of how that went.

    Once the idea of a rackmountable speaker had been brought up, the preliminary design was relatively simple, as it would be part of the Ward-Beck's POD series, for which a base design already exists. However, some specifics - such as designing the front speaker grill - had to be taken care of before any metalwork could proceed:

       

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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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  • 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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  • 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 sales@ward-beck.com 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!

     

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 3D Design: Prototyping Speaker Box Enclosure Designs

    We are making our first serious forays into making 3D printing today, with testing out some speaker enclosure designs with our new 3D printer. Maybe they work, maybe they won't. But it is great being able to design and print out prototypes on the go! Our printer will be hard at work overnight printing our another speaker box design that our team will test on Monday.

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    Have a good weekend, everyone!

  • Custom Project: Building customized control panels for a new client

    One of the projects we have been working on the past months is building a couple of custom control panels for a client that has a Yamaha DME64N Digital Mixing Engine that they would like to access and control remotely. They commissioned us to make two controls panels, which would allow the users to control the digital processor box from where the users were located, rather than walking over to the control panel every time something needed to be adjusted.

    Adam from our R&D team was mainly in charge of this project, although it of course involved much input from the metal shop, procurement and production departments. It all started out with sourcing out the appropriate raw materials needed in order to make the custom build. With the parts sourced, Dave from metal shop got to drawing up some possible designs and dimensions for the metal boxes housing the control.

    With the design of the control panels finalized, Dave worked his magic in the metal shop. This is a tricky part because even the slight error in bending the metal means the material has to be scrapped, new sheets of aluminum have to be ordered and brought in, and the whole has to be redone. Thankfully, Dave is a master and an old hand at this, so we did nothave to jump through all these hoops.

    A quick look at what processes the metal goes through in the metal shop is as follows. After we procure the sheet metal, it needs to be bent correctly with the bending machine, according to the specifications that Dave drew up. First, the bending angles are set and calibrated on scrap sheet metal, in order to make sure that the final bend will be perfect. When the bending is done, the sharp angles from the bending and cutting need to be smoothed out with a grinder, so that the end user will not cut their hands on anything. Next, the metal makes a stop at the washing station in order to clean the surface and edges, and give them a nice shine.

    After all this is done, along with in any holes and cutting out any opening that need to be made, you end up with some pretty neat looking metal boxes to house the final packaging in.

    The holes punched into the metal above indicate the places for the rear terminations, where the user can plug connections into the control panel.

    Now the R&D team can get to working on how to install the required controls into the box. Here they are installing the control buttons onto the front of panel before the metal can be sent for painting, in order to finalize the layout and make sure everything works.

     

    Here we can see the front and back of the front panel in progress, showing the wiring of all the buttons and the control panel. The wires are not laid out and tied up properly yet because this is just a test before the final painting of the metal.

    After the layout is finalized and known to be working, the metal can be sent for painting.

    After the metal is painted, here it is on the workbench with the buttons being put in and wiring being finalized. The wiring is being neatly tied up now, to prepare the final product. The two rear termination plugged into the wires will be slotted into the two holes pointed up above in the back panel.

    Here is one of the final stages in putting together the back panel. You can see the rear terminations slotted into the back panel openings. On the other end of the wires leading from the rear terminations, you will see the buttons which will be fitted into the front panel.

    Now the front and back panels can be fitted together and taken to the customer, ready for using!

    In this case, our R&D team actually went over to the client’s office to demonstrate the product and discuss more work that needs to be done, including building some custom cable to go with the panel. That is advantage of being a small manufacturing business with our own R&D and metal shop. If anyone needs a custom build, we have the in-house personnel and knowledge to quickly prototype and build it, and we’re always on hand to give speedy and in-person feedback.

    This is also why we are so excited to have our new 3D printer in our arsenal. With this, we can prototype any custom build easily by 3D printing it, before we give the go ahead to make a metal prototype, which will need more preparation, procurement and resource allocation.

    Got a custom project you want to get a move on? Give Ward-Beck a shout. We’re only a phonecall away!

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Email: sales@ward-beck.com

Phone: 800 771 2556

Address: 945 Middlefield Road, Unit 9, Toronto, ON, M1V 5E1, Canada.

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