The Studio 1 refurbishment is almost complete, folks!
Almost? Because a lack of funds meant that we could not afford the immediate planned installation of the superb Yellowtec Mika range of back to back, brushed aluminium monitor and microphones stands, complete with individual LED “Mic Live” indicators, costing almost £3,000 but could not be completed until the Radio Lonsdale funds were suitably replenished.
New carpets and a replacement PVCu emergency fire door were purchased and installed by the NHS Estates team, as soon as the old studio desk and audio equipment was removed by the Radio Lonsdale engineering team.
In the meantime, we had started design work with Intech Solutions of Stockport and accepted their radical design change, which fitted our available space much better than any of our previous in house designs! Sadly, not one of the six local firms requested to provide a quotation for this work, bothered to reply!
On Wednesday January 18th 2017, the new Studio 1 (KC Studio) furniture was delivered and installed by Intech Solutions and, boy are we impressed! The existing Soundcraft RM105 audio mixer has been fully sunken into the desk, which comes with bespoke built, lockable 19″ rack cabinets, complete with glass doors.
Cabling was installed underneath the desk by the Radio Lonsdale work team, using plastic cable saddles and re-usable cable ties which were preferred over the normal stainless steel, cable management baskets used by most studio furniture providers. Once all of the cables are installed, the re-usable ties will be removed and replaced with permanent standard (4.5mm x 400mm) UV light resistant cable ties. The resultant cable bundles are extremely neat and, once the ends have been cut to length, almost invisible from normal viewing height.
Studio 1 – Power Supplies
Each of the three equipment racks now has it’s own Samson Power Supply Unit (PSU) complete with Double Pole isolating switch and bright red LED power indication, providing surge and a 10 Amp total load circuit breaker protection per rack. The PSU outputs have been arranged so that the minimum amount of equipment can be left energized for the 24/7 Myriad Automated Play Out System. All other equipment can be switched off to reduce Studio temperature and to improve energy efficiency.
The large 45 Amp studio isolation switch, now behind the main presenter’s chair, was accidentally switched off by presenters when their back rest hit the large red double pole switch. This occurred twice and was a pain, as all of the RCD’s on the power sockets needed to be reset. Therefore we contacted a company that makes switch covers for families with young children. They recommended the cover which is now fitted and labelled. Although this cover provides protection, it can be opened instantly in an emergency, by pressing a knob on either side.
In September 2017, two of the equipment racks were also fitted with a front facing LMS Data Power Distribution Unit (PDU) complete with double pole isolation switch and UK six gang electrical sockets, protected by the 10 Ampere RCD and surge protection, meaning adequate spare capacity for personal electronics such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. In addition there are two Conec2 Desktop Riser Pods each complete with two electrical sockets, a USB charger module, a USB flash drive socket for the new desktop PC, an independent 6.35mm (1/4″) guest headphone socket with individual volume, graphic equalizer and mute controls, temporary 6.35mm guest microphone input socket and a 3.5mm (1/8″) mixer input socket. All inputs are labelled using black on white, Brother PT-100 tapes.
Please Note: All mains extensions have been banished from the Studios. Please – Do not bring extension cables into the studios as they are no longer permitted. Any extension brought into the studios will be instantly removed and the mains plug will be cut off. There are a number of safe, RCD and surge protected power points available on the rack cabinet fronts and desktop for members to use.
During the original installation, each rack cabinet was provided with an AC Infinity Cloudplate T7 Rack Cooling Fan module. Each of these fan units is controlled by a thermocouple installed inside the rack air space. In “smart mode“, on reaching the 25°C setpoint the fan unit begins switching of the four fans, one by one, dependent on the air temperature levels, until all four fans are switched on if required.
During the peak of summer 2017, the level of cooling was found to be inadequate, with temperatures reaching almost 30°C. These temperature levels would lead to rapid degradation in audio equipment performance if allowed to continue and therefore, additional cooling fans were purchased for the bespoke rack cabinets, Rack 1 & Rack 2, in September 2017.
These LMS Data 1U Rack Cooling Fans were installed at the bottom of each rack, with the original Cloudplate T7 units installed at the top of each cabinet. These two unit fans are also set to switch on at 25°C and a chimney effect is created, with air sucked in at the bottom and expelled via the exhaust fans at the top of each rack. This air cooling system is fully automated with no input required by our members.
Improved Cable Installation:
The cables in the bottom of each cabinet were also dressed in to better cable management systems, using the same cable saddles utilized to install the neat cable bundles underneath the desk. At the same time, any over length cables were cut to the correct length and re-terminated with new XLR or jack plugs, as required. The improved cable installation increase the free air space inside each cabinet to improve cooling.
The cabling has been tidied and fixed into cable management systems since this early shot was taken. The audio equipment has been moved around and empty rack space fitted with rack covers to provide better cooling.
During September 2017, the Emergency Back Up CD Player volume control, seen at the bottom right of these photos, was moved and wall mounted above the bespoke rack cabinets. The cables were also shortened and installed in neat cable management bundles. The Chief Engineer or other members can now easily adjust the output volume for this CD Player, as required, without entering the equipment racks.
Our guest presenters now have the same Audio-Technica AT2020 Condenser Microphones that the main presenter has and we also took the chance to install CAT5 internet sockets along with USB points for downloading files / music and for charging your phones & tablets.
An additional PC has been installed so that presenters can search for that little piece of music trivia while on air. The new firstname.lastname@example.org email address was added, so that patients and visitors can email their music requests directly to the Studio and we’ll also be looking to install automated “Bingo” software to coincide with our other plans for 2017!
We have removed the miles of unused telephone cables and replaced them with a neater installation, with the cables, NatComm telephone switching units and phone sockets fully hidden from view.
Those expensive meter lamps, which lasted just weeks, have been replaced by Blue Ultra Bright LED’s which should last much, much longer!
Here are a few glimpses of the work to date. Note that Radio Lonsdale has no hesitation in recommending Intech Solutions (Stockport) for similar work. Their team arrived bang on time and the installation work was all finished within a few hours. The lads also cleaned up after themselves and made site modifications, such as space for the cable ducting, on site and without moaning. We also had to make them have a break for a cuppa!