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Barix IP Audio Solution Provides Reliable STL Backup for KQED Public Radio

Exstreamer encoder/decoders keep nation’s most-listened to public radio station on the air in Sacramento during extended outage of main links from San Francisco studio


ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, July 20, 2016 — When San Francisco-based KQED Public Radio sought a dependable STL solution as a backup to the unreliable communication links connecting their Sacramento transmitter, the station selected Barix Exstreamer IP audio encoder/decoders. That decision proved invaluable when the Barix system kept KQED on the air during a nearly week-long outage of the station’s primary and secondary Sacramento connections.

KQED-FM is an NPR member station owned by KQED Inc., which offers television, radio, Internet and education services for the greater San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. KQED-FM is the most listened-to public radio station in the U.S., and consistently ranks in the top five of all San Francisco radio outlets. KQED Public Radio has transmitters in San Francisco, where it is heard on 88.5 FM, and in Sacramento, where it broadcasts on 89.3 FM under the call letters KQEI.

KQED first explored Barix IP audio solutions to overcome issues with the reliability of the existing primary and backup links between their studio and the Sacramento transmitter site, both of which depended on aging infrastructure from the same telecommunications provider. The T1 connection that served as KQED’s primary STL failed frequently, and in some cases, the backup ISDN connection would go down at the same time.

The station implemented an STL solution based on Barix Exstreamer 500 units, distributed in the U.S. by LineQ. Linked to the Exstreamer 500 in KQED’s San Francisco studio through a wireless Internet service provider, the Barix unit in Sacramento is connected to a Titus Technological Laboratories 3DRX audio switcher for automated failover. When the AES input signal from the T1 fails, the 3DRX switches the transmitter’s source to the analog feed from the Barix device after a pre-programmed delay. If an ISDN connection can subsequently be established manually from the studio, the 3DRX will then switch to the ISDN audio.

KQED configured the Exstreamer 500s for 16-bit, 32kHz PCM audio, with a relay output used to drive an alarm annunciator for alerts. KQED also took advantage of the Barix units for monitoring purposes, leveraging the Exstreamer’s stereo channels for confidence return of both FM and HD Radio signals.

The Barix equipment was put to the test at the end of 2015, when KQED’s T1 and ISDN-based links were both knocked out by telecommunications cable failures between the two sites. The Barix IP audio STL solution kept KQED’s broadcasts available to Sacramento listeners until the T1 and ISDN connections were fixed several days later.

“We purchased the Barix units to make sure we stay on the air, and that’s exactly what they did for us,” said Larry Wood, Chief Engineer at KQED, who also lauds the Exstreamer’s ease and dependability. “Reliable equipment is that which does not require you to become an expert in its setup and operation; it’s equipment that you set up once and just forget about. The Barix boxes are easy to install and are nice, reliable pieces of equipment. We haven’t had any Barix failures in all the years that we’ve had them.”

Wood’s satisfaction with the Exstreamer 500 has led to plans for expanding Barix’s role in KQED’s operations. While the original Sacramento deployment must be transitioned to a new Internet provider because of the closure of the original ISP, additional Barix units are planned to provide similar fault tolerance for KQED’s soon-to-be relocated San Francisco transmitter site.

Barix: We Move Audio (www.barix.com)

Barix supplies simple and reliable solutions and components to systems integrators and end users worldwide.  We move high-quality audio across IP networks, adding value to customer solutions for more than a decade with hundreds of thousands of devices installed worldwide. Background music distribution with dynamic advertising insertion for retail shops, bars and hotels; public address solutions for schools and public spaces; and intercom and entry systems for facility surveillance, protection and security are among the many applications of Barix solutions. Barix also supports OEM projects for a number of Global 500 listed companies serving many industries worldwide.

About LineQ

LineQ is a full-service distributor specializing in complete Audio over IP solutions, with a complete portfolio of premium, networked end point solutions from IP audio specialist Barix, pro AV specialist Ecler and Cornered Audio loudspeakers; and key partnerships with streaming and software companies to ensure rock-solid multipoint content distribution for in-store radio and other IP delivery systems. LineQ’s customized approach ensures tailored systems to meet the needs of systems integrators and end users in the Pro AV, broadcast and security markets. LineQ’s experience in retail, corporate, transit and education further differentiates its position as an expert solutions provider for an array of businesses and organizations.  Additionally, LineQ’s unique Digital Product Manager software simplifies ordering, design, installation and maintenance in the field through an intuitive, easy-to-use mobile app. Visit www.lineq.com or e-mail sales@lineq.com for more information.

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