AirAura X3

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AirAura X3

Being loud just to be loud is easy. It’s been easy for years. Turning up the volume without causing listener fatigue – that’s the real challenge. X3 technology inside our AirAura delivers that sought-after loudness without ever sounding harsh, clipped, distorted or overdone. It simply sounds real.
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AIRAURA X3: LOUDER AND CLEARER

The AirAura X3 spectral audio processor for FM is equipped with processing technologies that simply didn’t exist until now, starting with a new final clipper that creates extremely competitive loudness while also minimizing listener fatigue. Another new technology unique to our NEW third-generation AirAura helps extend perceived stereo coverage, and yet another technology helps hide the annoying coding artifacts that might be present in a station’s stereo source material.

AirAura X3’s incredible dial presence, three selectable stereo multiplex modulation methods, the ability to help mask coding artifacts, and its mitigation of many stereo multipath annoyances as well as its exclusive clipper technology make it THE processor for on-air FM.  

 

AirAura X3 Distortion-Managed Final Clipper

AirAura X3’s has a unique final clipping technology that does two things very well: loud and clean. Simultaneously.

Its final peak clipper is based on proven Vorsis technology that does not generate the objectionable aliasing and intermodulation distortions commonly associated with less-complex clipper technology. The result is squeaky clean audio, even at extremely competitive loudness levels. AirAura utilizes high resolution distortion recognition algorithms to discern audio from distortion. The fine-grained selectivity afforded by this technology is the best way to sense and truly mitigate distortion. Other technologies can only make a "best guess" at separating desirable audio components from undesirable distortion products.

By analyzing the audio and the distortion products created during peak control, AirAura removes distortion products and other artifacts that a listener might find objectionable. It is highly adept at minimizing intermodulation distortion, especially close-spaced difference frequency intermodulation products in the midrange frequencies where human hearing is the most sensitive.

During beta testing in major markets listeners commented about how smooth and open the entire audio spectrum sounded when processed by our new AirAura clipper. Achieving effortless competitive loudness on the air while remaining subjectively cleaner than their usual on-air processor was never an issue. In fact, in one top-ten market we were actually asked if we could "turn it down just a little bit."

 

AirAura X3 PostCode Tool

Some audio processors precondition audio to make it more favorable for a codec’s input, but no on-air processor had ever been developed with features specifically designed
 to help already coded stereo audio sound better after the fact. That is, until now.

AirAura X3’s PostCode Tool ™ helps minimize the audibility of coding artifacts in stereo program material without degrading the overall listening experience. By reducing the swishing, swirling, grainy artifacts of coded audio, the AirAura X3 enables listeners to listen as long as they like with no fatigue.

 

AirAura X3 “Fine Grain” Processing

The AirAura X3 has an algorithm for selectively processing only those frequencies that need processing, which overcomes the limitations of peak limiters in other on-air processors. Using 31 limiter bands selected according to ISO standard 1/3 octave center frequencies, the AirAura limiters (one for FM, one for HD) perform precision spectral energy control without generating additional density or artifacts usually associated with peak limiters having fewer bands. Operating according to accepted principles of human psychoacoustics, the action of the limiter goes completely unnoticed by the ear. Because of the need for very shallow limiting in each band, there are absolutely no 'swishing' artifacts and no unnatural density buildup; just increased on-air loudness, detail, and "listenability" of the station's programming.

 

AirAura X3 five-band Sweet Spot AGC

AirAura X3 has a Sweet Spot Technology (SST) that effectively manages the behavior of the multiband AGC as program content density changes, something a typical broadband AGC simply cannot do. It effortlessly handles transitions between the hyper-compressed recordings of today and those of the past that have considerably more dynamic range. SST achieves uncannily natural-sounding consistency in both on-air loudness and spectral balance regardless of density variations in the incoming source material.

 

AirAura X3 Vorsis Bass Management System

AirAura X3 has a better Vorsis Bass Management System (VBMS) with new tuning features that enhance deep bass without affecting the cleanliness of mid and high frequency program. Bass detail and the clarity of higher frequency audio are enhanced by this more powerful algorithm. If you thought second-generation AirAura bass was something, you will be amazed at the deep and natural sounding bass coming from the AirAura X3.

 

Exclusive Multipath Control

Exclusive to the Wheatstone line of audio processors is the Multipath Limiter. This single user control can help mitigate the audible effects of multipath as well as reduce receiver-induced stereo blend by limiting the amount of L-R as a percentage of L+R for a more consistent and predictable sound.

 

AirAura X3's Smarter Stereo Enhancement

Operating in the sum and difference domain and utilizing specialized spectral management algorithms, AirAura’s Smart Stereo Enhance provides a smooth, natural, wide listening experience without triggering multipath effects. It delivers an extremely stable 'on-air' stereo image that's exciting to listen to. Users have reported hearing, for the very first time, artistically important nuances in familiar music that could not be heard when that material was processed by other on-air processors. 

 

Wheatstone® baseband192

Wheatstone’s baseband192 is an open standard technology that eliminates the use of an analog composite interface between processing and transmission, which has been the last holdout to the 100% digital air chain. A single AES/EBU cable between a Wheatstone processor and a current solid-state FM transmitter carries the baseband signal, bypassing the need 
for multiplexing in the exciter and eliminating the resulting signal overshoot with associated loudness tradeoff. The baseband192 interface is now available as a standard feature in Wheatstone AirAura X3, FM-531HD and VP-8IP audio processors.
See more at:  Wheatstone Audio Processing Technology Overview

 

  • Final clipping technology – very clean and very loud – simultaneously                       
  • Five-band AGC with Sweet Spot Technology tuning capabilities                       
  • New codec artifact reduction algorithm helps tame coded stereo source material
  • 31-band limiter algorithms
  • Left/right analog output routing for FM and HD processing
  • Equalizer offers both parametric and Baxandall-style shelving EQ
  • Bass management system with enhanced tuning features
  • High performance stereo generator with DSB and two SSB encoding methods
  • Guru GUI tuning capabilities
  • Advanced analysis features for displaying internal and external signals
  • Comprehensive security features designed for mixed-use sites
  • Post-processed loudness analysis conforms to BS-1770-S standards
  • Preset storage for up to 160 processing presets
  • Analog, digital and WheatNet-IP audio I/O with automatic 'failback to primary'
  • Exclusive stereo multipath controller technology for enhanced stereo reception
  • WheatNet-IP compatible
  • Remote processor control via wired Ethernet or integrated Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Specialized audio analysis functions for input or processed audio include:

– 1,024 point FFT

–Oscilloscope

–Energy versus Frequency

–3-D plot of spectral content vs. time

–Spectral Dynamic Range (a Vorsis exclusive)

–Display of AirAura's clipper distortion masking activity

OVERALL SYSTEM

Headroom 20dB

Nominal Operating Level -20dBFS digital, +4dBu analog

Latency (FM Section) 15.4ms, analog in to analog out

14.2ms, AES in to AES out

Latency (HD/DAB Section) 11.2ms, analog in to analog out

12.6ms, AES in to AES out

 

ANALOG LINE INPUT

Type electronic differential, RFI suppressed

Input Impedance >10K ohm (bridging)

Optimum Source Impedance <1k ohm="" p="">

 

DIGITAL LINE INPUT

Data Standard: AES3 (AES/EBU), two channel stereo

 

WHEATNET-IP

Data Standard: Wheatnet-IP, two-channel stereo.

 

INPUT FAILSAFE

Automatic failover to alternate audio input source if audio fails on primary input.

 

VOICE SYMMETRY PHASE ROTATOR

Makes voice waveforms more symmetrical to reduce processing distortion.

 

EQUALIZATION

Three separate four-band parametric equalizers:

EQ Set 1: pre 5-band AGC

EQ Set 2: post HD/DAB multi-band limiter

EQ Set 3: post FM multiband limiter

 

FIVE-BAND AGC/COMPRESSOR with ADVANCED SST™

AGC operates in sum/difference domain.

Exclusive Vorsis SST retunes the five band AGC/Compressor to maintain consistent program density as programming elements change.

 

31-BAND ‘FULL DETAIL PROCESSING’ MULTIBAND LIMITERS

One 31-band section is assigned to FM signal path

One 31-band section is assigned to HD signal path

FM section operating modes: Independent, Wide, and Timbral

 

VORSIS BASS TOOLS

Vorsis Bass Tools intelligently minimize bass induced intermodulation distortion and improve bass impact. ‘Texture’ control also permits fine tuning of how deep bass sounds on smaller loudspeakers. Bass Tools adds virtual subwoofer capabilities, extending a floor feel by intelligently enhancing frequencies in the 40-90Hz range.

 

AIRAURA FINAL CLIPPER

Advanced ‘distortion aware’ final peak controller intelligently manages processing artifacts to minimize or even eliminate audible processing and intermodulation distortion.

 

DSP-BASED STEREO GENERATOR

Stereo Width Limiter to automatically minimize multipath distortion

Dual SCA/RDS/RBDS Inputs

Dual Composite Multiplex outputs

 

LONG AND SHORT FORM PROGRAM SCHEDULER

Automatically changes presets daily, weekly, or as desired, including long-form ‘once in the future’ preset changes.

 

ACI (AUTOMATION CONTROL INTERFACE) 

Responds to commands from program automation system via Ethernet connectivity. Commands from program automation can change presets or even modify individual processing adjustments without changing presets.

 

WIRELESS REMOTE CONTROL

Remote control is by dedicated Windows-based Graphical User Interface and connectivity via 100BaseT wired Ethernet and 802.11g/b wireless.

 

GPIO (GENERAL PURPOSE INPUT/OUTPUT)

Eight optoisolated logic inputs are slaved to first eight preset storage locations while four optoisolated outputs are dedicated to system alarms.

 

ELECTRICAL REQUIREMENTS

90-250VAC, 50-400Hz, <100VA

 

PHYSICAL DIMENSIONS

19" (48.3cm) wide, 5.25" (13.3cm) high, 15.125" (38.2cm) deep 

(including Wi-Fi antennas)

 

SHIPPING WEIGHT

26 Lbs, 11.8kg.

 

STANDARD ACCESSORIES

Operating Manual, Audio Processing Guru®–Windows-based Control Software*, Wi-Fi antennas, 6' IEC power cable, CDROM containing manual in PDF form, Factory Default Presets. *GUI Pro Software, which allows access to every processing control, is available as a free download after registering for it at wheatstone-processing.com.

 

Wheatstone Processing Videos

In January 2017, Mike Erickson sat down with Scott Fybush to talk all things processing. We shot video of the conversations and got some exceptional stuff. Learn about what it takes to provide modern, airwave-dominating clean sound that listeners rave about.

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Videos

 

 

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