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Tag Archives: throwback tuesday

  • Throwback Tuesday: Something old, Something new

    The Ward-Beck display room is, in many ways, an extension of our commitment to honoring our history of making world-class products, while continuing to forge ahead with new innovations that offer industry-standard performance to institutional and independent broadcasters alike. Side by side with our newest additions to our POD and Impedance line products are old school Audio/Video monitors and broadcasting consoles. On this week’s edition of Throwback Tuesday, we thought we could take a short look around some of the vintage Ward-Beck products on display here.

    This console was commissioned for CKVR TV in 1972, featuring a VU meter and classic P&G faders. Like many of the older WBS consoles, it is custom work that was designed to the specifications of the station. Decommissioned in 1992, it has found a new home in our display room, snuggled in comfortably between the WBS 460 series of channels strips and the WBS VidBuddy Audio/Video Monitor.

    ^Look pretty cozy all lined up together, don’t they?

    Below you can see the 460 series channel strips in greater detail. They start out with alternating Limiter/compresses and noise gate/meters, with some 4d parametric equalizers clustered in the second third row.

    The WBS 460 series is one of the most long-standing of Ward-Beck products. Still widely lauded for the 4 band parametric equalizer, these units are still sought after today for audio recording/production and are in use in sound studios worldwide.

    The VidBuddy Audio/Video you can see below has a tiny little silver hand of the top that can actually be extended to carry this monitor around like a lunch-tote or handbag. Well, if one were inclined to carrying around expensive audio equipment as fashion accessories, anyways…

    Some other vintage WBS products around our display room:

    Custom level control

    Radio Studio Control Turret

    Our POD2 Stereo Audio Switcher has been redesigned into a sleek and user-friendly package, while offering the same great performance, and with the same specifications.

    Our impedance converter baluns are now offered in a whole new package, with the same great performance. We also recently introduced our highest density Impedance Converter Panels, now with a sleeker design, but offering the same great performance, with the Phoenix and BNC connector rack ears now removable so that they can be oriented to best suit the installation requirements.

    We are always continuing to come up with new innovations to better serve the broadcast industry. We have got some exciting new developments going on at Ward-Beck. Stay tuned for more exciting products that Ward-Beck is working on introducing!

  • 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 ; )

  • Throwback Tuesday: Getting Schooled

    How Ward-Beck equipment is helping to educate the broadcast professionals of tomorrow

    Welcome back to Throwback Tuesday! This time, let’s take a brief look at Ward-Beck Systems’ historic partnerships with educational institutions. It’s no secret that technology is evolving at a rate that threatens to leave Moore’s law far behind in the dust. At such a time of change, it is crucial that those hoping to break into the audio and broadcasting industry get practical experience with industry-standard equipment.

    As early as 1981, the Conestoga College of Applied Arts and Technology installed a WBS L2402 console in its Radio & Television Department, where helped many students to develop hand-on experience and gain practical knowledge they can put to good use in the world of professional broadcasting.

    Students pursuing a Master of Fine Arts or Science in Television Production at Brooklyn College are encouraged to make use of the Brooklyn College Television Center, which includes a Ward-Beck console in its armada.

    By using these consoles as part of the curriculum, students can bridge the distance between academic experience and the workplace. Westphal College of Media Arts & Design has Ward-Beck equipment in its recording studio classroom, which is used by students and even recording professionals, truly bridging the divide between education and the industry.  And hey, some of you might remember us talking about the 48x48 Ward-Beck matrix intercom used by ABC to broadcast the Olympics. Well, Algonquin College’s instructional lab has one of these installed in its instructional lab. It might be old but it’s still going pretty darn strong.

    The use of our equipment in institutions of learning is not limited to radio alone. Having installed it in 2008, the University of King’s College School in Halifax makes use of a Ward-Beck console for its Journalism Department.

    The College of Sports Media, which offers an exclusive sports broadcasting course, has a state of the art radio studio which includes a 12-port WBS console.  Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute has 24-track Ward-Beck console and attached voice-over booth in the audio control room of its Leacock Television Network Studio. There are further Ward-Beck equipment functioning in the studios of various learning institutions such as Mohawk college (see pictures here), Niagara College, Seneca College, Centennial College and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.  Technology may have moved on, but these old products are working as well as they did in their prime, educating broadcasting students worldwide.

    Practical experience does far more than help students become accustomed to studio production technologies. The use of industry-standard equipment in college studios also helps students to mature as media professionals, and learn the intangible skills required by a broadcasting career, such as professionalism and adaptability, in settings that replicate real life situations. In the end, no textbooks can teach that. Only practical experience can develop such skills, and Ward-Beck Systems is proud to be one of the companies whose equipment has a hand in shaping the media professionals of tomorrow.

  • Throwback Tuesday: the ghosts of NAB past

    It is the second day of exhibitions at NAB 2014 and our team is psyched to show off what we've been working on for the past year. Come check us out at Booth N1202 to get the inside scoop on our new releases!

    With that being said, now seems like a good time to take brief look back at some previous NABs that Ward-Beck took part in. We’ve combed through some old magazines, and dusted off some press clips that might interest you Ward-Beck history buffs ; )

    Tomorrow, we’ll be posting up some pictures of the Ward-Beck team presenting live at NAB, so stay tuned for that!

  • Throwback Tuesday: Delving deeper into Ward-Beck’s history with the Olympics

    With the conclusion of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the entertainment networks returning to a more "normal" process after taking over the world by storm, it's a good time to delve deeper into Ward-Beck Systems' history of supplying equipment for the Games. 1976 was the first year that Ward-Beck provided equipment for use at an Olympic event. This began our long association of designing and manufacturing equipment for use at both Summer and Winter games.

    More specifically, the WBS model 75046 mobile audio console, designed to CBC's specifications, were used at the 1976 Montreal Games in CBC's Olympics vans. Four of these units were built for the event and installed in mobile trucks. Post Olympics, these consoles were used to broadcast Hockey Night in Canada and many other sporting events. Below, you can see the M1002 which was mentioned in our previous post about the Olympics. Fifty-five of these babies were used by CBC and ABC in their coverage of the 1976 Summer and Winter Games, and proved to be a great hit. (Fun fact: Both the Winter and Summer Olympics were held in the same year every four years, until the IOC decided at the 1986 Session in Lausanne to hold the Winter Games two years apart from the Summer Games, and this new system was put into effect in 1992.)

    Ward-Beck Systems has also supplied Olympics equipment to several major networks in the United States. At the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, ABC used a WBS matrix intercom system in its mobile units. This system allowed point to point and point to multi-point communication. Engineering alone had a 48 by 48 matrix, which was no small feat for the technology of the time. CBS was a big purchaser of compact WBS consoles for sporting events, such as the 24-channel WBS 74062, designed for TV mobile applications. NBC also got in on the game, no pun intended, with some large purchases for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. These consoles were refurbished at the Ward-Beck factory in Toronto and were redeployed for use at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

    (Above: he console from the 1984 Olympics.  This console is currently in Hamilton Ontario. Photography courtesy of Anthony Kuzub of APK Audio.)

    At an event like the Olympics, where versatility and dependability as well as high quality is crucial, Ward-Beck products have excelled. Did you know that at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, audio mixer Norm Mallalieu mixed the feed from the entire bobsleigh run with a 32-channel WBS console? It’s true. Another memorable Olympics product is the M460LA input channel strip which was based on the M460 design. As the name might tip you off, this channel strip was designed specifically for use in the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles. Offering a 4 band parametric equalizer, these units are still sought after today for audio recording/production and are in use in sound studios worldwide.

    Getting a little closer to home, our products were no slouches at the 2010 Vancouver Games. We supplied products for the CTV Olympics Broadcast facilities. The entire CTV broadcast centre was constructed in a warehouse near our Toronto plant for pregame training, before being shipped off to the Games in Vancouver. If you click on this article on organizing the 2010 Vancouver Games, you will see Robert Miles, who was in charge of designing the infrastructure for the CTV Olympics coverage for Vancouver 2010, making adjustments to an AMS16-2AM, our high-quality Multi-Channel Audio Monitor.

    At Sochi 2014, there is no doubt the Ward-Beck products supplied to CBC, NBC and others were still going strong. It is humbling to think that the equipment manufactured at our facility has played a part in helping to broadcast major sporting events like the Olympics, Super Bowl and more all around the world.

    (Thank you to Eugene and Colleen for looking this over and adding more details, and to Gerry Bell for all his Olympics stories that contributed to this article.)

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