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Most recent posts by "Steve Lampen"

Here Comes NAB!
Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on March 21, 2012

Are you coming to NAB on April 16-19 in Las Vegas? This is the largest trade show focused on broadcasting and professional audio and video in the world. And in it is Belden’s biggest booth at any show. This shows our commitment to the broadcast and professional audio and video communities. If you have an NAB pass, come to booth C8925 in the central hall, almost dead center of the room, and say “hi” to your friends from Belden.

There are so many cool new things, it's going to take a lot of blogs to cover it all. If you don't have an NAB pass, no problem, we'll get you one for free. These are free Exhibits-Only show passes. These passes are valid for free admission to the 2012 NAB Show exhibit halls if obtained by April 6, 2012.

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Tags: NAB, Trade Shows


Ethernet Comes to Professional Audio and Video
Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on March 29, 2012

I don't have to tell you how fast things are changing in the audio-video world. It's been a while since I've seen audio or video recorders, except in a museum. All of that is on servers now. More and more folks are using Ethernet to carry these audio and video signals. The problem is, they have to run everything on Layer 2 or Layer 3 (if you speak "networking") and so all those systems are proprietary and don't always play nice with each other.

But, finally, the IEEE (which owns the Ethernet standard) has approved a new AVB (audio-video bridging) standardIEEE 802.1BA-2011. There are several companies bringing out AVB devices, and one of those is the Hirschmann-branded switch from Belden.


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The Key to Video Cable Performance
Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on April 05, 2012

Virtually all TV broadcasters in the USA have gone digital. Even Hollywood has converted from film to digital images. While some of these cameras record the data on hard drives or SSD (solid-state memory chips), at some point you're going to send this data, those digital images, from Point A to Point B. If you want to carry the hard drive or SSD from place to place, that's fine (so-called "sneaker net") but it is time-consuming and inefficient. Why not put that signal on a cable to move it from place to place? That's what most broadcasters do. And, while you could do this on fiber, converting from electrons to photons and back again at the other end, the economical and simple way is still over copper cable, most commonly coax cable.

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Go Swinging on a Mic Cable
Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on April 12, 2012

There is a certain rocker, you know his name and the name of his group, but I can't say it here. (We're in negotiations!) But he's famous for going through mic cable as if it were string. At one point, he even went through Belden 8412, a cable we thought was nearly indestructible. Now the rocker is going through a competitor's mic cable at a rate of one per show. One mic cable PER SHOW! When you're touring the globe, that adds up to a lot of cable.

This caused us to think. So we sat down and figured out how to make the strongest microphone cable ever. You can see it for the first time at NAB on April 16 through 19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We're in booth C8925, right in the center of the central hall.

This new cable innovation is called Belden 1776, a revolutionary microphone cable. And how strong is it? Well, that's a great question. We don't really know and that will make for an interesting experiment. We're going to have a contest at our booth. At noon each day, we will load weights on the cable - while it is working! There's a tension scale with a memory attached. You get to guess what the weight will be that will cause our cable to stop working. When the sound stops, there will be a winner! We're still discussing prizes, but, it will be something cool. And we'll do it every day at noon for all four days. That means four prizes. You can guess every day if you want, and you don't have to be present to win. (But who would miss something as weird as this at NAB?)

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Belden at NAB
Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on April 18, 2012

Wow. This is turning out to be the best NAB show we've had in a long time. We received more leads in the first two days than we have had from an entire show in recent memory. And it's not just us. Every other booth seemed equally busy. It's so busy, I would not be surprised if the total attendance exceeded the magic 100,000. Of course, our popularity has been based on many things, including the three live demos we have going for new products. First is our demo of Belden 1776, a revolutionary cable. This is the strongest microphone cable we've ever made, and quite possibly the strongest ever manufactured by anyone.

At the show, we suspended a hanging chair from the cable and attached a working microphone. We've had Renee Staul, from our marketing department, and Jessie Carmona from our Mexico sales office, each sit in the chair and entice the crowd to see them suspended by a microphone cable.


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Now It Can Be Told
Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on April 26, 2012

You know what they say: When the curtain goes up and all the actors are in place and know their lines, whatever happened before that is of no consequence. It sure went that way for our test at NAB of our new super-strong Belden 1776, a revolutionary new microphone cable. In fact, we bought all the parts for the test before any cable was produced!

When we ran some cable in our factory in Richmond, Indiana we immediately air freighted the first 250 ft. to Kiesub Electronics in Las Vegas. They cut it into 50 ft. lengths and put XLRs on each end. They also put two Kellems grips on each cable to allow it to be hung with weight on it. Upon arriving in Las Vegas, we picked up the cables, a metal hanging chair and 900 lbs. of bricks. We brought with us a hanging scale that was good to 5,000 lbs. from Dynamic Scales and a hoisting chain that was also good for 5,000 lbs. from Sliver State in Las Vegas.

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Impedance and Return Loss
Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on May 03, 2012

When you deal with high frequencies, above around 100 MHz, you have entered the zone of the "transmission line." It has to do with the wavelength of the signal, and that is a discussion we'll have in future blogs. But what it means is that the impedance of the cable is now important and you have to match the impedance of the source and destination devices.

This also means that everything in-between must match the impedance chosen and, by "everything," I mean cable, connectors, patch panels, patch cords, adaptors, bulkheads, feedthroughs - everything! It also means that any variation in impedance can affect the signal on the line. This is true for every transmission line, whether we're talking about a 50kW RF signal going up to an antenna or an HD video signal going between boxes. Of course, in these two examples the impedance is different (50 ohms for that high-power line and 75 ohms for that video cable).

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Using Digital Audio Cable For Analog Audio
Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on May 10, 2012

A lot of audio engineers I know are sticklers for performance. They would like a frequency response from DC to light and a noise floor at -200 dB. Sometimes they end up buying some exotic cables made with pure unobtainium and a price to match. Well, instead of searching for the impossible, how about improving the possible by improving what you're already using?

We must understand what is important in audio wiring before we start on such a quest. For analog audio, the king of specifications is capacitance. Capacitance gives the cable its frequency response or tilt, so the lower the better. What is the capacitance of your cable? Right away, this is where caution is suggested.

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