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SIGMA with Bluefin

Putting Sound in the Picture



The Calder Valley Sound Recording Group
is founded as a recording studio in The group is registered as the Calder
Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, where Valley Sound Recording Company.
Calrec is located today.
SIGMA with Bluefin


Incorporated as Calder Recordings Limited.
Microphone production begins, producing Mixing console manufacturing begins
high quality capacitor based designs for with sales to Angus McKenzie, BBC Radio,
music recording and broadcast operations. Tyne Tees TV and others.

The growth of HD production is creating a demand

for more and more signal paths to deal with 5.1
content. Sigma with Bluefin meets the needs of
HD production and live to air delivery, now and into
the future.
Sigma with Bluefin?
The audio needs of live originated in high definition required in the most practical
production and on-air broadcast with 5.1 surround audio. Even and cost-efficient way?
operations are continually where HD programming has
evolving. not yet become commonplace, Sigma with Bluefin High
content owners routinely want Density Signal Processing
Now, with the enthusiastic to produce high definition (HDSP) technology provides
take-up of new, larger, versions of their sports, music the innovative solution.
widescreen and high definition and live events, with 5.1 audio This all digital audio console
TV displays by consumers to match, so as to guarantee designed for live production
worldwide, the role played by extended shelf-life and and on-air use, provides
sound will become even more future income. 320 channel processing
critical. This growing “home paths on a single DSP card,
theater” audience is unlikely to Whatever the scale of your with full EQ and dynamics
be satisfied by anything less operation, from national to all channels. This equates
than the best quality video and network to playout station, the to 52 x full 5.1 channels.
audio content. need to process multi-channel
audio will soon be unavoidable. The revolutionary design of
Demand for multi-channel Sigma with Bluefin provides
surround sound production is The question is: how can you phenomenal processing
increasing. Popular television equip yourself with the capacity in a very compact
programming is now being increased audio mixing capacity physical footprint.



Name changed to Calrec Audio Ltd. Calrec supply the world’s first
true stereo broadcast console to
BBC TV Studio 1

Sigma with Bluefin provides the industry’s most

advanced, economical and practical way to deliver
320 channel processing paths.

is Sigma with Bluefin?
Bluefin has an unequalled and the PC provides control
ability to manage large numbers over a number of user defined
of surround sources. Sigma with options such as monitor and
Bluefin provides 320 channel metering setups.
processing paths on just one DSP
card, with full EQ and dynamics In addition, the system provides
on all channels, groups and main a significant amount of audio
outputs. This equates to 52 x full delay to cope with the increasing
5.1 surround channels. AV synchronization problems,
resulting from mixed format
As with every Calrec digital HD/SD production, for example.
console, all elements of the Bluefin signal processing provides
system design focus on simplicity 432 mono elements of up to
and reliability. The assignable 2.73 seconds of audio delay,
control surface minimizes screen which can be inserted exactly
usage enabling direct access to where the operator needs it.
the majority of console functions,

SIGMA with Bluefin


The Soundfield microphone is introduced Calrec supplies the world’s first
– the world’s first single point-source digitally controlled assignable mixing
surround-sound microphone. console to BBC Radio OB’s.

– Up to 64 dual layer faders

– 320 channel processing paths packaged as 108 stereo and

104 mono channels, allowing up to 52 x 5.1 surround channels

– 8 x mono, stereo or 5.1 surround audio groups

– Additional VCA-style grouping system

– 4 main (program) stereo or 5.1 surround outputs

– 20 mono auxiliary busses configurable up to 10 stereo

– 48 multi-track outputs for IFB or recording

– Different mix-minus output from every channel or group

– Simultaneous LCRS, stereo and mono outputs available from

each 5.1 main output

– Every channel can route to every buss, at the same time,

without restrictions

– All channels, groups and mains have 4-band EQ, 2-band filters,
Compressor/Limiter and Expander/Gate

– Separate 2-band EQ and 2-band filters for Dynamics side-chain

– 19.6 minutes of audio delay made up of 432 mono elements

of up to 2.73 seconds

– Console operates independently of PC

– Console and racks boot from power on in less than 20 seconds

– Full control system reset in less than 15 seconds with no loss

of audio

– Highly resilient: all modules are hot-pluggable with automatic

redundant DSP, control and power systems



Calrec introduce the VCS assignable Calrec’s current management structure is
mixing console, the world’s first formed, with Stephen Jagger as Managing
commercially viable digitally controlled Director, and the company focuses exclusively
analog console. on consoles for broadcast applications.

Bluefin HDSP card on Alpha console

SIGMA with Bluefin


Calrec introduces the T-Series, The Q2 console, purpose designed
a third generation digitally controlled for use in remote production vehicles,
analog live production and live to is introduced to the US market where
air console. it gains immediate success.

Bluefin High Density Signal Processing (HDSP) is a

revolutionary, award-winning system which provides twice the
signal processing capacity in a fraction of the space of
conventional systems, at no extra cost, on just one DSP card.

does Bluefin work?
Bluefin is a patent pending DSP chips. This means that and the chance of component
implementation of FPGA (Field- even in our largest Alpha failure. In short, the FPGA
Programmable Gate Array) console, only one Bluefin DSP provides a DSP system that is
technology which can provide card is required, instead of much more powerful and
an entire mixing console on 24 conventional ones, whilst at reliable than a conventional
a single card. the same time the number of design, for around the same
channels is more than doubled. cost. With system resilience
Recent impressive increases reinforced by a second,
in the resource density and Calrec is the first company to redundant card, it’s like having
speed of FPGA technology implement FPGA technology another console as a hot spare.
have enabled Calrec engineers in this way.
to exploit the full potential of Bluefin also provides full EQ
these versatile chips in order to The advantages of such a and dynamics to all channels,
produce a breathtaking 5000% dramatic reduction in the groups and mains, with 4 x 5.1
improvement in efficiency number of DSP cards required, main outputs, 8 x 5.1 groups,
compared with equivalent include proportional reductions 48 multi-track/IFB outputs and
platforms using conventional in power usage, heat generation 20 auxiliary outputs.



The first all digital product from Calrec An all digital version of the T Series
– the X Series radio on-air console. console is shown at NAB.

There are no second chances in live broadcast. Audio operators are under real
pressure and need to be able to mix instinctively. Calrec consoles are purpose
designed for this testing environment, which is why broadcasters instinctively
trust Calrec to keep them at the top of their game.

are the benefits?
Reliability has no effect on the audio PC is minimal across our whole
Calrec consoles are famous signal and accounts for a boot console range and layering
for their reliability and purpose time, from cold, of less than is limited to two independent
designed not to let you down. 20 seconds, and a full control signal paths. Calrec’s compact
But in the demanding system reset in less then 15 fader width enables operators
environment of live-to-air seconds, with no loss of audio. to control more faders at any
broadcasting, you can’t afford given time – eight faders take
to leave anything to chance. Ease of Operation up only 250mm/ 9.85 inches,
That’s why we go the extra mile We have been designing providing more physical faders
and provide full redundancy at live production and live-to-air in a given space than any
all system-critical points with broadcast audio mixing other console manufacturer.
fully redundant power supplies, consoles for over 35 years,
DSP cards and processing and in 1981, we introduced Power
cards. All cards and panels are the world’s first digitally Fully redundant power is
pluggable under power and controlled assignable mixing provided from compact supplies
initialize on insertion. Our console. The Calrec assignable which take up minimal rack
proprietary operating system control surface, now in its space. High DC voltage power
and independent DSP ensure fifth generation, integrates distribution allows for wide
audio continuity, and eliminate many years of user experience variations of AC power without
the need for a PC for sustained and feedback. The console dropping DC operating voltages.
operation or boot up. This operation is intuitive, with a The AC voltage can drop to
means that PC failure or reset fast learning curve. Use of the about 80v before the 24v

SIGMA with Bluefin


The M3 small format console Following considerable customer
is launched at the AES convention interest in the digital T Series,
in Munich, Germany. Calrec introduces the Alpha at NAB.

output starts to drop. This

makes the system highly
tolerant of cable voltage drops
and AC mains brown outs.

The channel count of Calrec
consoles is never diminished,
no matter how many output
busses are in use. Using any
of the output busses on some
other consoles can reduce the
number of input channels that
can be used, but with Calrec
desks output busses are more
like the physical busses of an
analog desk – and they are all
available without reducing the
input channel capability.

LIVE 5.1

The Alpha-OB, remote production The Sigma console, Calrec’s second
version of the Alpha is launched digital television production console,
in November. debuts at NAB.

As the transition from stereo to surround sound gathers pace,

consoles used in production and live-to-air broadcast need
more than just increased channel capacity. Precision control
and management of all these new sources is equally important.

Surround Sound
As well as providing the vastly stereo downmix of the is assigned, and can be
increased channel capacity surround main outputs. This individually controlled on a
needed to handle the surround is often necessary when doing dedicated Surround Spill
sound future, our Bluefin simultaneous HD and SD panel on the control surface.
generation of consoles has transmissions.
been designed with all the The advantages of using
advanced functions needed Calrec Surround Channels give two stereo channels for the
to maintain comprehensive operators the ability to control L/R and Ls/Rs rather than
control in this more complex a full 5.1 source as a single four monos are:
multi-channel environment. channel, in a similar way to a
stereo channel. This free – it allows faster operation
Our consoles provide all the assignability of mono, stereo compared with 4 x mono
mixing output paths and or 5.1 channels delivers the channels when the signals
monitoring facilities required optimal solution for handling need to be adjusted
in a busy surround sound and controlling surround sound separately from the Surround
environment, including an sources in live production. Channel.
insert for a Dolby® DP570 – it ensures that during
multichannel audio tool which Surround Channels use the adjustment, the overall
can be remotely controlled resources of 2 x stereo balance of the Surround
directly from the monitor panel. channels (for L/R and Ls/Rs) Channel is not upset
and 2 x mono channels (for example by adjusting
Calrec consoles also provide (for Center and LFE). These the EQ of L and then R).
8 x groups that are fully resources are automatically – it allows adjustment to the
equipped for 5.1 surround, allocated from the available front and rear width of the
as well as all main outputs, mono and stereo channels surround signal – impossible
and allow full control of the as the Surround Channel if treated as mono signals.
10 C A L R E C



The launch of the Hydra audio network
Zeta is launched at NAB, at IBC enables I/O resources to be Calrec celebrates 40 years in the
establishing a family of three shared throughout the entire family business, providing pro audio expertise
digital consoles. of Calrec digital consoles. to the broadcast industry since 1964.

Hydra Audio Networking provides a flexible,

reliable and cost effective method of developing
your I/O infrastructure and maximizing studio

Hydra provides a powerful solution for sharing Modular Hydra I/O boxes provide a versatile way
network I/O resources and control data between to devise a vast range of alternative I/O schemes.
Calrec digital mixing consoles. Hydra uses Gigabit They allow selections of analog input, output and
Ethernet fabric, the highest speed network AES modules to closely tailor port combinations to
infrastructure commonly available. Very high exact requirements.
bandwidth and a scalable, flexible architecture
allow the network to be tailored precisely to the For installations which do not need this level of
requirements of each installation. A variety of custom flexibility, Calrec can supply one or more
Hydra I/O, analog or digital, may be connected fixed format boxes, providing a highly cost
to the network. effective form of I/O.

– Cost effective and user-friendly Using a natural and logical extension of our
– Reliable, with scope for comprehensive system existing console operational screens and panels,
redundancy control of the network is remarkably user-friendly.
– Very high bandwidth – data rate of 1000Mbps
over copper or optical fiber
– Up to 585 bi-directional channels
– Network constructed from standardized,
structured cabling or fiber-optics

C A L R E C 11

Calrec celebrates 40 years in the
business, providing pro audio expertise
to the broadcast industry since 1964.

One of the unique advantages of digital consoles is connectivity. Efficient

networking is not just about the technicalities of sharing incoming and
outgoing sources. It is about giving operators and studio managers greater
creativity and scope to do their jobs.
Studio A Studio B Studio C

Wallbox Wallbox Wallbox Wallbox Wallbox Wallbox Wallbox

Machine Area
High bandwidth, low cost solution
Calrec’s Hydra network fabric to provide high bandwidth, The first is that audio sample
ensures the sharing of inputs low cost, excellent resilience and delivery operates strictly at the
Wallbox and outputs across a number enormous scalability. data link layer, which means
of mixing consoles is an easy no TCP/IP overhead is
and natural process - no more Given the well-understood imposed. Secondly, bandwidth
Gigabit Switch Wallbox
complicated than plugging a historical reluctance of audio is entirely predictable as the
mic into a stand-alone console, engineers to rely on IT network is kept private.
Wallbox and just as reliable. networking, the challenge for
Calrec engineers was to exploit Finally, the network is
Hydra allows networked Calrec the advantages of Ethernet constructed in a star topology.
ACR 1 ACR 2 ACR 3 consoles to share input ports technology, whilst eliminating Put simply, it means no
and have access to output the potential for fragility network hang-ups and the
Hydra Gigabit Hydra Gigabit Hydra Gigabit ports. It is easy to install and problems. audio always gets to where
Interface Interface Interface uses industry standard network it needs to be.
switches in conjunction with Our engineers solved this by
Console Console Console
standard Cat 5e/Cat 6 cable establishing three key design Combining analog and digital
and/or fiber. principles in order to guarantee modular boxes with fixed
deterministic performance and format analog and AES-3 units,
An example of Hydra in a multi control
Our solution differs from most eliminate the possibility of makes for scaleable networks
room, multi studio setup. in that we use Gigabit Ethernet network collisions. that can meet the needs of

12 C A L R E C


Bluefin high Density Signal Calrec adds the Bluefin DSP engine Omega with Bluefin launched.
Processing is introduced onto the to the Sigma console at IBC. The Omega is the third implementation
Alpha at NAB. of Bluefin on a console.

Wallbox Hydra Gigabit


every installation. Every port Gigabit Switch

that is put onto a Hydra
network becomes available to
every console on that network
and this makes for versatile
signal distribution around studio
complexes and large Outside Wallbox Hydra Gigabit
Broadcast events.
Gigabit Switch

Hydra has been successfully

adapted worldwide to meet
a variety of needs, from
simplifying installation projects
to creating multi-console/ Wallbox Hydra Gigabit
multi-studio systems which
Gigabit Switch
can cater for any eventuality. Wallbox Console

An example of how Hydra can be used with fiber in an Outside

Broadcast – three trucks, three digital consoles and six I/O boxes.

C A L R E C 13



Calrec introduce a range of 2007 Calrec unveil the X2, a second Calrec joins D&M Holdings, a global
fixed-format I/O boxes, supporting generation radio on-air console, at provider of the highest quality audio
both copper and fiber connections. AES in Vienna, Austria. and video products.

Larger studios and outdoor spaces present their own unique problems for
networked connectivity – easily overcome with Calrec’s simple, elegant and
cost-effective fixed format I/O boxes.

Fixed Format boxes

Calrec offer a range of fixed format 2 to 4U Calrec provide a variety of fixed format
I/O boxes. configurations:
– 2U 24/8: 24 mic/line input, 8 analog output
The fixed format boxes all come with redundant – 2U 12/4: 12 mic/line input, 4 analog output
internal power supplies and optional dual IEC – 3U 32/32: 32 input, 32 output AES-3
power connections, as well as redundant Gigabit – 4U 48/16: 48 mic/line input, 16 analog output
Ethernet ports.
Today’s systems include HD SDI video, with
For distances up to 90m/295ft, Calrec’s I/O embedded audio and encoding by Dolby®E. A
boxes can use Cat 5e Gigabit Ethernet ports. single Calrec SDI Hydra box can provide up to
In addition to standard RJ45 ports, the adoption 128 legs of audio from a number of SDI streams.
of plug-in GBIC modules means interfaces for
either multi- or single mode fibers are available The Calrec SDI Hydra box will also:
via duplex connectors. This offers connectivity – De-embed all audio groups from an
over much greater cable runs, such as in larger SDI stream
studio or Outside Broadcast environments, of – De-embed synchronous and asynchronous
up to five kilometers. audio from an SDI stream using sample rate
All fixed format boxes offer fully redundant – De-code up to 8 DolbyE signals
connections for both RJ45 and GBIC connectors – Route any incoming pair to any DolbyE
as standard. decoder

14 C A L R E C

Our Bluefin range of consoles
include the 480 channel Alpha,
the 320 channel Sigma and the
Alpha with Bluefin Sigma with Bluefin Omega with Bluefin 160 channel Omega.

Calrec in the News Studio

When you’re mixing audio for live news broadcast,
you’ve only got one chance to get it right. That’s
why the world’s biggest broadcasters rely on Calrec
consoles. Because we are dedicated exclusively to
the broadcast industry, we understand what’s most
important to you.

In a live news studio an audio operator may have a

variety of internal and external feeds, and a host of
people in the field and on the studio floor all wanting
their own unique signal. Calrec consoles simplify
this process by providing a mix-minus/clean feed
signal for every single channel and group, and with
adjustable levels and tone/ident capabilities. This is
all independent of the Multitrack sends which give
even more scope for custom feeds.

When your anchor, your reporters and your studio

floor staff all need to be kept in the loop, Calrec
desks have the capability to do so quickly and easily.

15 C A L R E C C A L R E C 15
QUESTIONS I’m quite happy working in
I’m always hearing stereo, but what if I suddenly How easy is it to set up the
manufacturers talk about need to be dealing with 5.1 metering for my Surround Isn’t it dangerous to have a
redundancy. What does sources? I don’t want to have inputs? I don’t have time to PC as part of an on-air digital
this mean for me? to buy another console! be reconfiguring the desk. console?

An audio console for live The good news is, with Calrec You don’t need to. Calrec’s Unlike many digital consoles
on-air use has to be extremely desks you won’t need to! TFT metering automatically the PC on a Calrec desk is
reliable. Calrec’s designs have Alpha, Sigma and Omega detects what kind of channel used principally for set up
an excellent record in this consoles come with Bluefin is assigned to the meter and and memory backup. You can
area but, there is always the High Density Signal adjusts the meter accordingly. switch the PC off and still
chance that something might Processing (HDSP) as You can also move the meters operate the desk. This non-
fail during the lifetime of standard. Bluefin is a unique, around to suit your style of reliance on the PC accounts
the console. For this reason, highly evolved DSP system working, adjust the colors and for a fast boot-up time from
Calrec provides on-line which can provide up to 480 the size, or even their position cold in less than 20 seconds,
redundant hardware for ALL channel processing paths on on the upstand. and a full control surface reset
critical systems to ensure that one DSP card. Bluefin also takes less then 15 seconds,
the show always goes on. enables all the Main outputs with no loss of audio.
Furthermore, if the redundant and Groups to be 5.1 surround,
hardware kicks in, the system and the ability to work with
reports this, and you can hot- many 5.1 channels. Calrec’s
swap the failed item to restore Surround Spill panel provides
the system’s back up, without comprehensive and
interrupting the show. Beware! independent control of the
Some manufacturers make L/R, Ls/Rs, Center and LFE
claims about redundancy but signals of a 5.1 channel.
only provide it for parts of their
system, leaving other areas
that can take you off air. Also,
if a part fails you often have
to take their system down
to fix the problem. With Calrec
you can trust that you’re
always in control.

16 C A L R E C
SIGMA with Bluefin

I have been asked to look

How much DSP have I got? What about delay? With a mix My space is very limited... at sharing 3 studio floors
What would happen if I needed of SD and HD equipment I find how can I maximize the between 2 control rooms?
to adjust the EQ and there was this to be more and more of number of faders across Do you have SDI inputs on Do you have any way of
not enough DSP to do it? an issue. the width of my truck? the console? working in this environment?

That wouldn’t happen. Unlike It is more of an issue. The Calrec consoles have a higher Yes. In fact we offer one Yes. Calrec has developed
many other digital consoles, nature of Digital, HD, and 5.1 fader density than most of the most comprehensive Hydra, an audio networking
Calrec desks do not share any technologies has resulted in consoles, which is important SDI de-embedders available solution which allows multiple
DSP resources so there are a significant increase in the in a live environment where from a console manufacturer. wall boxes to be connected
no limitations on what you can need for audio-video delay the more faders you can Our unit accepts and detects to multiple consoles. A console
or cannot do. In other words, compensation. For example, control on the desk surface SD or HD signals for up to on the network can select a
all facilities are available on in HD production it is often at one time, the better. In fact, 4 streams per unit. Not only remote I/O source, such as
all channels at all times and necessary to use some SD Calrec can fit more physical can the unit de-embed all a microphone input, set the
all the busses are always equipment such as cameras. faders into a limited space 16 audio channels arranged gain and phantom power and
available even if you are using The up-conversion of these than any other manufacturer. in 4 groups per stream but it then use that source with its
all the Mains, Groups, AFL and video signals introduces delays Desk size is only one aspect – can also handle incoming channel processing. Further-
PFL as 5.1. This is essential that must be compensated rack space is always at a synchronous or asynchronous more, a second console (or
for live broadcast as you need for in the audio system. premium too, especially in a audio with bypassable Sample however many consoles are
to know that you have freedom This compensation must mobile unit, and Bluefin helps Rate Converters. Optional needed) may select the same
to adjust everything as you be introduced in such a way keep this down to an absolute Dolby Cat No 552 Modules source and then use its own
see fit. as to match the video at the minimum with all the DSP on allow for up to 8 Dolby E channel processing (to apply
output but not delay any a single card. Rigidity, low heat signals to be decoded per unit different EQ or Dynamics and
audio being fed back to the generation and lightweight and these Dolby decoders can routes to its own busses).
presenters. Calrec consoles materials are also important be assigned where required It is possible to share studio
incorporate 19.6 minutes of factors. Calrec designs from the console. The unit floors between consoles for
audio delay divided into 432 consoles with all this in mind, provides a multi decoder serial ultimate flexibility. Calrec has
mono legs of up to 2.73 which is why Calrec is a clear data connector to output the a range of units from 12 mic/
seconds each. They allow this leader among companies Incoming Metadata. To ensure line and 4 line outputs 2U
delay to be positioned in the providing audio mixers for full redundancy, dual redundant units, through to fully modular
audio path exactly where the broadcast trucks. PSUs and fully redundant dual 7U units, handling up to 88 mic
operator needs it to achieve Ethernet connections are fitted. inputs with options for mic
the desired compensation. splits, line outputs, AES inputs
and outputs. The SDI unit also
appears as a resource on the
network allowing picture
related audio content to be
shared across consoles.

C A L R E C 17

Calrec’s TFT metering provides
full operator configurability of
layout, size and color. Each meter
can be mono, stereo, M/S, 5.1
surround or a phase display and
automatically detect whether the
channel is mono, stereo or 5.1.

Surround Spill
Calrec’s Surround Spill panel allows an operator to adjust the individual
legs of a surround channel, group or main. Surround channels use the
resources of 2 x stereo channels (for L/R and Ls/Rs) and 2 x mono
channels (for Center and LFE) and are automatically allocated
from the available mono and stereo channels.

The Sigma with Bluefin console
can incorporate up to 64 physical
faders, including up to 52 x 5.1
surround channels. Calrec’s
5.1 surround channels provide
the ability to control a discrete
5.1 source on a single fader.

18 C A L R E C
SIGMA with Bluefin

The Sigma with Bluefin console features controlled assignable mixing console
an assignable control surface which in 1981. Our assignable control surface
incorporates Calrec’s vast experience is now in its fifth generation, integrating
designing live production and live-to-air many years of user experience and
broadcast audio mixing consoles. Calrec feedback.
introduced the world’s first digitally

All Calrec consoles have a
proprietary operating system
and are entirely independent
of the PC for sustained operation
or boot up. This means that
PC failure or reset has no effect
on the audio signal.

In live broadcast you need immediate access to many
different sources. Calrec monitor panels can be configured
to select up to 112 mono, stereo or 5.1 sources, and these
can be banked together for ease of access.

Wild Controls
Sigma with Bluefin provides up
to four wild controls for each
fader. Almost any rotary control
on the console can be assigned.
Each wild control has its own
LED display providing clear visual
feedback to the operator.

C A L R E C 19

The enhanced flexibility of our TFT metering system solves the

problems of dealing with 5.1 sources using conventional metering.

Working in a 5.1 environment presents users As well as enabling a greater density of signals
with very specific problems. Operators see an to be displayed, TFT metering provides users with
increasing number of 5.1 sources coming into the absolute flexibility. For example, a typical meter
console. They need to know that that all six legs set-up could have one screen metering Tracks
are present and at the expected level, but on 1-24, A Paths 1- 8 and B Paths 1- 8. In the center
conventional metering systems it is very difficult of the console, an operator could set up a screen
to display a 5.1 input, especially in the space of a to display full height hi-res monitoring of Main
single fader width. It also follows that with many Outputs 1- 4 in 5.1 and a Meter Selector in 5.1
more 5.1 outputs, even more metering is required. (or stereo when a stereo source is selected).

Calrec’s TFT metering provides full operator The following signals can be metered:
configurability of layout, size and color as well – Channel inputs, A and B paths (simultaneously,
as ensuring a high degree of redundancy, without or set to follow A/B assign button)
increasing the cost over conventional bargraphs. – Main Outputs
Each meter can be mono, stereo, M/S, 5.1 surround – Groups
or a phase display. Our meters automatically – Auxiliary Outputs
detect whether the signal format is mono, stereo – Track Outputs
or 5.1 and display the signal appropriately. – External Inputs
The system allows up to three rows of meters – Meter Selectors
per TFT screen, and can incorporate mixed sizes: – CRLS
/3 , 2/3 , 1/2 and full height. Meter size, location and – Mix-minus
color are user definable, as is screen brightness.
20 C A L R E C
SIGMA with Bluefin

With an impressive 36dB of pre-fader The audio stays clean even when
headroom, Calrec consoles have the channel faders have to be pulled back
dynamic range to handle even the most well below the -30 mark.
excitable broadcast commentators.

Calrec consoles are designed to deliver

excellent audio quality – in other words,
an open, transparent sound with high input
headroom and low noise.

Audio Quality
Audio quality is of paramount – Maximum Mic input
importance. It’s been at the headroom of +36 dB
core of our business for more – 24 bit converters for all I/O
than 30 years. Over the years – Sample Rate Converters on
all console manufacturers every AES input
have tempted customers with – Low Latency (from an input
more and more facilities and port to a channel path, routed
features, yet Calrec’s reputation to a group buss, in turn
for audio quality has never routed to a main buss, to
been compromised. an output port)
– <1.25ms digital input to digital
All our products are renowned output
for their very clean, uncolored – <3ms analog input to analog
sound quality, with very high output
headroom and low noise.

C A L R E C 21

With complex modern working practices, it is

increasingly important to simplify workflow
procedures and reduce costs.

External Control Interfacing

Prestigious productions require an experienced audio engineer to operate the console, delivering
a smooth result with levels and transitions that sound perfect. But with rising production costs
there are also times when an entire production gallery is run by a single operator, such as late
night news bulletins.

Calrec is at the forefront of providing interfacing to systems such as the OverDrive from Ross
Video. Calrec’s versatile interfaces allow individual control of faders, Cuts and PFL of up to 192
faders on the Calrec console directly from the Ross Overdrive Automated Production Control
(APC) System.

This high level of integration enables the control of both audio and video on a given broadcast
from the vision switcher or OverDrive system, significantly reducing production costs.

22 C A L R E C
OMEGA with Bluefin

Keeping track of incoming sources can be a job in itself. Calrec’s

simple router label interface ensures the audio operator is kept in
the loop at all times.

Router Labels
Calrec’s I/O system can provide audio routing To ensure compatibility with the widest possible
capabilities but in many systems this will be range of routers from the world’s leading
supplemented by a separate station router. manufacturers, Calrec can provide a serial
interface to the TSI1000 unit made by Image
In a typical broadcast studio environment an audio Video. This can be supplied as part of the audio
console will often take feeds from a router, the system, but if already present as part of the
output port of which is physically patched to an under-monitor display labeling system only a
input port on the console, ready for the operator serial link is required.
to use. When a router selection is made, the
console automatically extracts the source name
from the router and applies it to the channel
labeling systems.

C A L R E C 23
Our Bluefin range of consoles
include the 480 channel Alpha,
the 320 channel Sigma and the
Alpha with Bluefin Sigma with Bluefin Omega with Bluefin 160 channel Omega.

Sound gives pictures an emotional dimension

that movement alone can’t convey. Now HD
images with 5.1 surround sound add a new
dimension to broadcast picture quality – and
a new challenge for audio-mixing technology.

24 C A L R E C
SIGMA with Bluefin

Calrec Live to Air

Calrec consoles are made exclusively for live button press. All your live channels are in front
broadcast. They are purpose designed for this of you and visible at all times, nothing is deeply
function and this function only, so whether you buried.
are on air with music, a news show or even
an election night special, you can be confident In addition, our flexible Hydra networking with
that the desk has all the facilities you will need its range of modular and fixed format I/O boxes
for a smooth production. means that you can switch studio space quickly
and efficiently and at minimum expense, whilst
Our assignable control surface is now in its fifth our flexible operating architecture allows operators
generation and is totally intuitive, with minimal to commit complex setups into non-volatile
use of the PC. All assignable desks with complex flash memory.
processes have an element of ‘layering’, but
making it instinctive in a live situation is critical. Whatever else happens on the day, with Calrec
Calrec desks have two signal paths available you can be assured that all your audio will be
to each fader and access to either is via a single open, transparent and, above all else, ever present!

C A L R E C 25

In a broadcast audio control room, signalization often

encompasses a range of requirements for the audio mixer
to control or communicate with external devices and for
external devices to control functions of the audio mixer.

Signalization requirements range from simple remote cut functions 2. General Purpose Inputs (GPIs)
to the ability to disable certain functions such as Tone when On Calrec consoles provide a number of GPIs to allow functions
Air. To simplify the set up of these operations, they are arranged of the console to be controlled externally, such as a vision mixer
as three separate functions within Calrec’s operational setups. fading in channels using the auto fade function. Channel cuts
can be set up to provide remote cut or to control the channel-on
1. TX/REH function when controlled by a vision mixer. A number of
The Transmission (On Air) and Rehearsal modes can be set up to miscellaneous functions are provided, such as the remote
work in conjunction with the broadcast facilities panel. This allows control of the Control Room LS Dim and Mute.
condition switching to be set up for three states; Transmission,
Rehearsal or Neither (both TX and REH off). The condition 3. General Purpose Outputs (GPOs)
switching is set up as operational inhibits on functions such as Calrec consoles provide a number of GPOs to enable the control
tone or talkback on the main output. This is to reduce the risk of external devices, such as CD player from a fader start. A large
of human error, making the system a more robust, less stressful number of miscellaneous functions can be set up, such as
and more user friendly environment for the operator. switching on a red light. Each GPO can be set to Pulse On when
the function is activated, Pulse Off when the function is
The console can also be put in to Transmission or Rehearsal de-activated, Pulse Both so that it will pulse when the function is
mode externally using the General Purpose Inputs. activated and again when deactivated, as well as simply latching.

26 C A L R E C
SIGMA with Bluefin

Vision Mixer/Server

Mixing Console
Vision Mixer/Server to Console
Opto Isolated Inputs

Faders Auto-fade In or Out from Opto Input

Automatic cross-fading
Whether it’s synchronizing the audio with This feature allows the console
to automatically fade channel
to video can be achieved via
the GPIO system allowing the
connected to the video server
which automatically opens the

the action in sports events or making life or group faders in or out under
the control of external signals.
Vision Mixer to trigger automatic
cross-fades between camera
relevant channel on the console
when the news item is played.

a little easier in late-night news studios, It is also possible to cross-fade

between two or more channels
shots. This guarantees the
console is synchronized to the
When the item is finished the
video server will automatically

automatic cross-fading means that nothing by driving more than one

opto – one being faded in while
video, allowing the operator
the time to concentrate on the
close the channel. Using a
remote fader panel simplifies

is left to chance. another is faded out. Typical

applications include:
audio quality and mixing. this process further still,
enabling the vision operator
Late night news bulletins to adjust the presenter levels
Motor racing In a modern news environment, without needing access to
Coverage of high speed regional and local late-night the audio control room.
sporting events demands rapid bulletins are typically manned
switching between multiple by the minimum number of
camera feeds to keep up with staff possible. In such cases,
the action. Matching the audio Calrec consoles can be

C A L R E C 27

In a high pressure broadcast environment,

speed of access is paramount.

Ergonomic design for ease of operation

Getting control of channels in live broadcasting should take as few steps as possible. Having them
buried on hidden layers or banks can be a real problem, especially when you need to use elements
that are hidden three or more layers deep.

On Calrec consoles there are two signal paths available to each fader and access to either is via
a single button press. Assignable controls have the great advantage of enabling ready access to as
many controls as possible, rather than having them spread across the width and height of the board.
Local assignable controls are also provided for setting IFBs and mic gains etc. This means that the
majority of controls you need are just one button press away.

This attention to ergonomic design also extends to our buss architecture. Although it is often
assumed that digital consoles – like analog consoles – have all their facilities available at all times,
this is not always true. Some desks offer a pool of busses that can be used for different things,
but not simultaneously. Some can also lose DSP functions, such as EQ and dynamics, as busses
are used. Calrec desks do not ‘pool’ resources in this way. Our buss structure is designed to provide
everything you need, all of the time.

28 C A L R E C
SIGMA with Bluefin

Calrec monitor panels provide enhanced

user configurability, simpler operation and
hugely expanded functionality.

In live broadcast you may signal within the console or to be recalled by individual
need to monitor many different fed externally to the console. operators at any time.
sources, both within the
console (such as IFB outputs) Up to 112 sources can be In addition to Main Control
and external (such as off-air set-up at any one time and can Room LS monitoring, further
monitoring). These sources be given user-definable labels. monitoring outputs with full
can be mono, stereo or 5.1. Sources of the same type can source selection are provided
The same source, such as be banked together for ease for other destinations, such
the main output, can even be of access. Our consoles provide as the studio or production
a processed 5.1 output with seven different banks to gallery.
a stereo downmix. organize groups of monitor
sources, with up to 16 sources
On Calrec monitor panels, in each bank. This gives a high
each selector button can be degree of user configurability
configured as mono, stereo and very simple operation.
or 5.1 and can be an internal These setups can be saved

C A L R E C 29

Calrec in Broadcast Trucks

Calrec’s reputation for build quality, long-term Calrec consoles are ideally suited to a truck
reliability and excellent audio performance has environment. They have minimal impact on space,
made our consoles the benchmark for broadcast weight and heat generation. Bluefin technology
trucks, particularly for the critical environment dramatically reduces rack space, and our compact
of live sports coverage. fader widths maximize the number of faders you
can fit across the width of a truck. Eight faders
An independent survey by the Sports Video Group take only 250mm /9.85 inches. Our specialist
(SVG)* in North America shows Calrec Audio as in-house design team has developed a unique
a clear leader among companies providing audio construction that allows for all the signal processing
mixers for broadcast trucks, with 48% of all HD and control systems to be located beneath the
trucks, and 31% of the total market – more than control surface, without any significant increase in
any other provider. A similar survey by Germany’s size or weight over a standard system and without
Medien Bulletin** shows Calrec with 22% of the sacrificing access to system hardware or interfacing.
HD broadcast truck market across Europe. Not
surprisingly, between 40 and 60% of our production *SVG Mobile Sports Production Yearbook 2007
output in any given year is destined for trucks. **Medien Bulletin HD OB Van Special 2007

30 C A L R E C
SIGMA with Bluefin

Our Bluefin range of consoles

include the 480 channel Alpha,
the 320 channel Sigma and the
Alpha with Bluefin Sigma with Bluefin Omega with Bluefin 160 channel Omega.

Thanks to Calrec quality, sports TV audiences

can enjoy all the excitement of being there.
With our consoles in almost half the HD trucks
and nearly a third of all the trucks in the USA,
we’re racing ahead of the competition.

C A L R E C 31

Originally built to house one of

the most famous worker-producer
textile co-operatives in England, the
nineteenth century Nutclough Mill,
(left and below) is now home to
one of the broadcast industry’s
most technologically advanced
manufacturing companies.

Meeting your changing needs

Established in 1964, Calrec available stereo mixing desk
Audio has more than forty for broadcast stereo sound, the
years of pro audio expertise. first to develop a single-point
Since the launch of our first surround-sound microphone
mixing console in 1971 we have and the first to launch a
been exclusively dedicated to commercially available digitally
the design and manufacture controlled assignable broadcast
of live broadcast audio mixing console. With the launch of
consoles. our Bluefin range, we were the
first to provide a truly practical
This consistent focus on the and cost-effective solution
needs of broadcast customers to the needs of multi-channel
has given us a deep under- surround sound mixing.
standing of the ergonomic and
system specifications required Our expertise, our experience
for modern production. We and our technology is trusted
understand what’s most and endorsed by the world’s
important to you and how best most successful broadcasters.
to meet the changing needs
of the broadcast environment.
Calrec was the first company
in the world to design and
manufacture a commercially

32 C A L R E C
SIGMA with Bluefin

Clockwise from left; Ersascope Visual Inspection

Camera, Cross section of wild control panel in final
assembly, solder paste stencil, DSP cards in test
rack, MYDATA MY19 SMT placement machine.

Key to Calrec’s outstanding reputation for

innovation and reliability within the broadcast
industry is the integrity of the product
development process. From original concept,
through R&D, to state-of-the art production,
every element – even the metalwork for
frames and racks – is carried out in-house.

C A L R E C 33

System Specification
Digital Inputs Performance
Formats Supported AES/EBU (AES3) 24-bit Digital to Digital (AES/EBU) -1dBFS, 20Hz to 10kHz - Better than 0.002%
Also suitable for use with SPDIF (IEC958 Type 2) signals Distortion
Interface 110 Ohm transformer balanced, 5V Pk-Pk Digital to Digital (with SRC) -1dBFS, 20Hz to 10kHz - Better than 0.005%
75 Ohm unbalanced (BNC), 1V Pk-Pk Distortion
Sample Rate Conversion 24-Bit switchable on all digital inputs Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz +/- 0.5dB
SRC THD+N -117dB @ 1kHz, 0.00014% (Analog Input to Output)
Digital Outputs Synchronization
Formats Supported AES/EBU (AES3) 24-bit 48kHz synchronization NTSC/PAL Video
Interface 110 Ohm transformer balanced 4V Pk-Pk (nominal) into 110 Ohm load Internal Crystal Reference
75 Ohm unbalanced 1V Pk-Pk (nominal) into 75 Ohm load (BNC) TTL Wordclock (48kHz)
Analog Inputs AES/EBU Digital input (48kHz)
Analog - Digital Conversion 24-Bit Environmental Considerations
Input Electronically Balanced Operating Non-Operating
Input Impedance >1k Ohms for Mic gains Temperature Range 0°C to +30°C (32°F to +86°F) -20°C to +60°C (-4°F to +140°F)
10k Ohms for Line gains Relative Humidity 25% to 80% Non-condensing 0% to 90% Non-condensing
Sensitivity +18 / -78dB on Mic/Line Input Card Maximum Altitude 2,000 Meters (6500ft)* 15,000 Meters (49,000ft)
+18/-24dB on Line Only Input Card.
Equivalent Input Noise -126dB (150 Ohm source) – Analog input for 0dBFS can be pre-set globally to +28, +24, +22, +20, +18 or +15dBu
– Pre-fader headroom on mic inputs is adjustable globally from +24 to +36dB in 2dB steps
Distortion -1dBFS @ 1kHz - Better than 0.003% – Analog output for 0dBFS Matches input setting into >1kOhms (+24dBu max into 600 Ohms)
-20dBFS @ 1kHz - Better than 0.006%
-60dBFS @ 1kHz - Better than 0.3% The system can be pre-set with up to five external sync sources, plus internal,
Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz +/- 0.5dB on Mic/Line Input Card such that if the 1st source fails, it will automatically switch to the 2nd, and so on.
*This is the limit to which the safety tests are valid.
20Hz to 20kHz +/- 0.25dB on Line Only Input Card
Input CMR >70 dB (Typical 80dB) on Line Inputs Maximum Cable Lengths
(Common Mode Rejection) >75 dB (Typical 85dB) on Mic Inputs Cables Maximum Length
Analog Outputs From To Feet Meters
Digital - Analog Conversion 24-Bit Control Surface Digital I/O Rack 492 150
Output Balance Electronically Balanced, 20Hz to 20kHz, Better than -35dB, typically -45dB Extenders are supplied to provide console data connections greater than 30 meters (98 feet).
Output Impedance <40 Ohms
Distortion -1dBFS @ 1kHz - Better than 0.006%
-20dBFS @ 1kHz - Better than 0.003%
-60dBFS @ 1kHz - Better than 0.3%
Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz +/- 0.25dB

Calrec Audio Ltd reserve the right to change specifications without notice. E&O.E.
Alpha, Sigma, Omega, Hydra Audio Networking and Bluefin High Density Signal Processing (HDSP) are trademarks of Calrec Audio Ltd.
All other trademarks acknowledged.

Designed and produced by Rees & Company.

34 C A L R E C
C339 Sigma AW 30/6/08 12:31 Page 35

SIGMA with Bluefin

Typical Rack Layout Control Surface Frame Sizes

No. of Modules Wide Length inches / mm Depth inches / mm
12 60.9 1547 38 964
26 13 65.9 1672 38 964
14 70.8 1797 38 964
25 15 75.7 1922 38 964
24 16 80.7 2047 38 964
17 85.6 2172 38 964
23 18 90.5 2297 38 964
19 95.7 2428 38 964
20 100.6 2553 38 964
21 Digital I/O Rack 21 105.5 2678 38 964
(Including Fan Tray) 22 110.4 2803 38 964
23 115.4 2928 38 964


Control Surface End Profile


14 Analog I/O Rack 807 [31.76”] Also available with castors,

OB stand, boltdown stand
(Including Fan Tray) 737 [29.03”] or "stubby leg" stand. Speak
to your sales representative
12 Optional Hydra Gigabit Interface Unit 467 [18.40”] for more details.

11 Optional Madi Interface Unit

1037 [40.81”]

8 PC
760 [29.92”]
7 650 [25.59”]
6 Bulk Power Supply & Distribution Unit

393 [15.46”]
(Holds up to 3 plug-in PSUs)

Multi-Rail PSU #1
Rack Units

164 [6.44”]
Multi-Rail PSU #2
1 964 [37.94”]
C A L R E C 35
Calrec Audio Ltd
Nutclough Mill
Hebden Bridge
West Yorkshire
England UK

Tel +44 (0)1422 842159

Fax +44 (0)1422 845244