Reduced budgets for small markets or fill-in sites used to mean compromises with on-air processing. Low cost solutions were old and potentially unreliable, and some markets just don’t generate enough revenue to justify spending thousands on an advanced processor. Thanks to both BW Broadcast and Wheatstone, there are now low cost audio processors perfect for small markets and LPFM use. With advanced DSP algorithms, modern and reliable hardware platforms, IP connectivity and full remote control these processors mean that every site can have dedicated processing.  There’s no need to rely on a transmitters basic peak deviation protection – these products will have you sounding nearly as loud as the flagship processors for a fraction of the cost. Southern Broadcast loves how modern technology has driven down the cost of on-air processing making it affordable for all station.

Don’t forget, if you’re using a BW Broadcast TX5 V2 LPFM certified transmitter it has a DSPXmini-FM built in. If you like the provided factory presets, a spearate audio processor might not be necissary. If however you want more control, the ability to tweak processing and remote control of processing – you’ll need a dedicated external processor like the below:

[heading type=3]BW Broadcast DSPXmini-FM SE[/heading]

dspxmini-fm-front dspxmini-fm-rear

The DSPXmini-FM SE is a highly regarded low cost processor. BW Broadcast reduced costs by removing unnecessary features like front panel headphone socket, and analog/digital audio outputs. Since the processor will be sat next to the transmitter these features really are not needed for its intended application and the cost saving is significant. Thankfully what isn’t sacrificed is processing quality – it still has a 4 band AGC and 4 band limiter with plenty of processing control for those that like to tweak parameters. The factory presets are particularly impressive and allow for simple no-fuss installation for those who don’t want to spend hours making their own. The embedded hardware platform is tried and tested, there’s over 10,000 DSPX processors sold around the world. If you’re not using on-air processing and want to sound louder, drop one of these in and you’ll be amazed the difference it makes.

You can learn more about the DSPXmini-FM SE here.

[heading type=3]Wheatstone FM55[/heading]

fm55-front fm55-rear

The new kid on the block, the FM55 was unveiled at NAB Las Vegas 2014. The processor’s new intelligent five-band AGC technology (iAGC) is an useful development for stations with a varied format. This should do a good job of taming incoming audio sources with widly varying level and density, which may be an issue for LPFMs with basic audio libraries. Other features of the FM-55 include five-band stereo enhancement and program adaptive L-R control for multipath mitigation. As with all Wheatstone products the FM55 is built in the company’s manufacturing facility in North Carolina, USA so has great external and internal build quality. Also worth noting is support for Wheatstone baseband192 and WheatNet-IP – which is impressive for a budget model but probably will go unused at most LPFMs and fill-in sites. As with the DSPXmini-FM there’s a nice remote GUI so if the site has a GSM remote it would be possible to tweak processing at a distance whilst listening from your car.

You can learn more about the FM55 here.

Two processors that offer fantastic improvements to on-air loudness, reception and perceived audio quality for very affordable prices. Can’t choose which one is right for you? Give us a call, we’d be happy to discuss which is best suited to you.

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