The author is director of broadcast engineering for Woodward Radio Group.
Our organization has been using Broadcast Electronics’ AudioVault products since 1995 with great results. In 2009 we installed Version 10.10 of AudioVault FLeX, and it has run reliably and economically for over 11 years. In 2021 we have started an installation of new computer workstations based on the current AV FLeX version 10.5.
We looked at offerings from many vendors of content delivery systems, but chose to stay with AV FLeX for a number of compelling reasons.
Top of the list is reliability. The software as installed here is fault tolerant and makes it easy to service without spending a lot of “midnight hours.”
Then there is flexibility. One of the strengths of the AudioVault systems has been the ability to customize the applications to handle just about any task you can imagine.
Cost is also important. AudioVault is not the least expensive system you can buy, but to us it appears to be the best value — you get a lot of functionality for the money you spend.
Furthermore, we have received wonderful customer support during installation and during the normal working life of the system.
Not to be forgotten is the learning curve — or lack of it. All current new and improved versions are based on earlier AudioVault virtual “machines” and the improvements are usually incremental, not radical. This makes upgrading to a new version more manageable for a large staff.
The AV system is designed with separate audio engines, dedicated machines and user interfaces like most current systems. It is easy to install and configure extra machines as backup engines and backup user interfaces.
One thing that impresses me is that an engine PC can freeze or fail, but usually audio will continue to play out until the fault is bypassed or corrected. This has prevented a lot of dead air emergencies for us.
The FLeX system has virtual machines for satellite automation, music automation, live radio shows, network recording and time shifting, and other necessary applications. The servers have a suite of background applications that keep all the files transferred and synchronized properly. And there is a powerful suite of maintenance tools that the system administrators use to correct problems that occur.
Some of the support people I work with regularly at BE have been in their roles for decades. The service manager Hector and installation tech Owen have worked with us on all of our systems dating back to 1995. Charlie, the “newcomer,” only goes back 20 years or so. All three have seen our system and understand it, so they are very helpful on the rare occasions we need to call for help or support.
The AV FLeX system is a powerful and scalable content delivery product that has really “delivered” for us at the Woodward Radio Group.