PAM__from_BCD_Audio_CMYK_300DPI_15cmwLondon 4th May 2012 – PAM has had a makeover and it’s bringing acclaim and commercial success to UK company BCD Audio. PAM is the acronym for the Presenter Audio Monitor system, for use in the television gallery and on the studio floor, designed and built in the UK and being used increasingly in television and radio studios around the world.

15 years ago BCD Audio created a presenter’s audio mixer for the BBC-TV studios in London, the original PAM, still in use today. These studios will soon be decommissioned with the BBC move to Salford and to the new Broadcasting House in London.

Company CEO and designer Mike Law says “When the requirement for a new generation of PAM was identified for the new studios, the installation contractors approached BCD Audio, and a new system was designed. The original unit featured a 6 channel audio mixer with headphones output at the out-station, and required a large multicore umbilical cable. The new unit centralises the audio mixing to digitally controlled Eurocards within a 3U rack, and allows a simpler outstation connection to wall-boxes via a smaller 4-pair cable.”

“Each presenter can now control their own mix of programme, count and talkback from the assignable panel under the desk. Each input is controlled with a shaft-encoder with LED position indication and bi-colour signal / overload detection. Switches are provided for signalling and cough-mute, and a TFT switch indicates presenter, gallery number and mic-live status.”

“The sound operator can assign a master panel across one of eight presenter units, can see the settings, listen to the actual presenter mix, and make adjustments if required.”

In large television studio installations it is desirable to assign a studio floor to any gallery, and the BCD PAM system is capable of working in this way. The presenter can see which gallery they are working with, and the correct audio mix is picked up on the wall-box connectors. The wiring remains manageable, as each box only requires four pair cable.

Two variants of the PAM box were designed. The simpler PAM-4 unit contains just the mixer controls, and is intended to be used with a wireless headphone system. As this box contains no audio, it can be automatically assigned from up to eight galleries with simpler 2-pair cable.

The larger PAM-6 unit includes the mixer controls and a local headphone amplifier with limiter, and both 3.5mm and normal headphone jacks. The audio at the headphone socket is returned to the gallery where the sound operator can verify the actual audio received by the presenter.

The largest system to date is an eight gallery, eight way assigned system, with 34 presenter outstations, including one 3U rack with assign panel in each gallery.

Six non-assigned systems with 40 presenter outstations have also been delivered.

The standard gallery unit is packaged in a BCD 3U rack, with a capability of eight presenters, and including GPI signalling and Ethernet control. A smaller system is also possible, with three presenters, packaged in a 1U rack.

About BCD Audio

Established 25 years ago to provide high quality audio systems for radio and television broadcasting, BCD Audio’s in-house skills were immediately sought after by prestige clients including the BBC and ITV companies. Today, BCD Audio’s designs are heard and seen all over the world, keeping broadcasters on air 24/7.

The product range has grown from pure analogue engineering to fully embrace today’s digital world, from standalone black box problem solvers, to dedicated rack mount units and full Eurocard infrastructure systems. BCD Audio can also deliver bespoke audio solutions to a client’s exacting requirements.

At the forefront of technological advances, BCD designers use the latest digital systems, often implemented with FPGAs or processors with network control.

BCD solutions now often involve video too, and the in house design skills include the processing of SD/HD video, with a bias towards audio embedding, de-embedding and DSP.

In-house manufacturing has also evolved; BCD have their own surface-mount assembly plant, and are capable of producing units in-house with fine-pitch components on multi-layer boards.

Recent projects include an automatic audio-triggered webcast system for the UK Parliament, which has evolved into a radio station webcast system, a 1U HD video capable audio mixer, and a fully digital audio monitor unit. BCD Audio rack- based systems have been specified in recent OB truck, radio station and TV studio presenter audio monitoring designs.

Mike Law concludes “We welcome enquiries from broadcast and installation companies, and if the solution is not already on the shelf, we will be happy to design and build it!”

Contacts for further information

Mike Law, CEO
BCD Audio (Acrone Ltd),
5 Bristol Way,
Stoke Gardens,
Slough, Berkshire,
SL1 3QE, United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)1753 579524
Fax: +44 (0)1753 577981

Mel Noonan
Stylus Media Consultants
Broadcast Industry authoring & communication
office: +44 (0) 1525 756 097

attached 300DPI photo shows units from BCD Audio’s PAM system (click here to download)

Higher res photos by request to Stylus Media Consultants