AV Communications Wizard Andrew Bernacki Dissects AudioPressBox

Power User Review:  APB-112 SB-D & APB-224 C

Author: Andrew Bernacki, Technical Manager at Bespoke Audio Visual 

 

When Geoff from GerrAudio reached out to ask me if I would evaluate a few AudioPressBox units, I was initially hesitant.  I thought, what could possibly be said about a press feed other than “yep, it works”?  In my mind, a press box is a commodity item…. How much I/O does it have VS. how much it costs.

 

Well, after about four weeks of trialing the APB-112 SB-D and APB-224 C units, and with some further thinking, let me tell you… these are NOT your average audio press feeds.

 

Now, before I get into my thoughts on these units, it might be helpful to give you a little background on Bespoke Audio Visual and what we do.  After all, who are we and why should you care what we think?

 

Bespoke AV has grown into what we are today, in no small part, because of press conferences.  Over the years we have refined our knowledge and process, and use that to help our clients execute their press conferences in a technically excellent way.  Whether it be federal, provincial, municipal, or private entities, we’ve done, and continue to do press events for all kinds on a regular basis.

The AudioPressBox-112 SB-D

 

The APB-112 SB-D is probably one of the boxes I’ve been the most interested in getting my hands on and playing with since GerrAudio took on the line.  For those not aware, this particular unit is a 1-input, 12-output audio feed.  But why is that so interesting, you may ask?  Well, that single input is Dante.  In addition, the box is powered over that Dante connection via Power over Ethernet (PoE), so there’s no additional connections required.  Plug it into your Dante network with a PoE switch and your off to the races.  This is a unique feature that totally sets APB apart from the rest.

 

The demo unit was up and working in about 3 seconds from plugging it into the switch.  (Note: this might take longer depending on how your switch is configured with regards to PoE, I was using a Luminex GigaCore 10 for this test).  Power up was immediate and showed up in Dante Controller and was ready to patch instantly.  Boot time is a massive thing I assess anytime I look at equipment, as sometimes, as hard as we try, things get unplugged when they shouldn’t…and how fast they reboot is usually the difference between an unfortunate accident and total show meltdown.  It sounds great, and I love that they’ve included a VU meter, for ease of troubleshooting if nothing else.

 

There’s also a sister version of this box, with a different enclosure for permanent applications.

If I was building out a space where I needed installed press feeds, this would be an absolute no brainer.  Also, did I mention that it’s built like a brick?  I’m pretty sure Geoff could run over it with a Jeep like he did with a Clear-Com RS-701 a few years ago and it would come out the same… just fine.  It’s that robust.

 

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The AudioPressBox-224 C

 

The APB-224 C is exactly what you’d expect when you think of a press pool; all analog, dual input with some basic level adjustment, and 24 outputs.  Same as the 112 SB-D mentioned above, this thing is built extremely tough.  They get some bonus points from me for using Canadian made Nanuk cases as the enclosure!  What sets this unit apart, and makes it the best-in-class, are the thoughtful features they’ve added.

 

Features like the High Pass Filter, Phantom Power, and Comp on each input.  Features like a Li-Ion battery pack, that charges every time you are connected to AC. (Say goodbye to hunting down 9 Volt batteries when you want to go battery powered!).  Features like multiple take off points for monitoring, selectable Mic or Line output PER CONNECTOR, or things like an Oscillator for getting camera audio levels set consistently in advance.  One feature that I particularly like on this unit is the ability to use it as two independent feeds, which is useful for us when we provide distribution of simultaneously interpreted feeds to the press.

 

These awesome features tend to go missing on cheaper competitive products, but why do they matter?  Why wouldn’t you just use your console to achieve similar outcomes, you may ask?

Let me describe a scenario. (Pop quiz, hotshot!)

 

You’re the embedded AV tech liaison on an election tour which is travelling around the country by bus.  You’re doing three standard, scheduled press conferences per day, and these setups are too large to fit in the belly of the bus.  So there are three sets of identical gear, all of which are transported by three separate trucks with separate teams, which play hopscotch with each other in order to keep up with the bus.  In other words, while a press conference is going on, one truck is packing up the previous press conference and driving two stops ahead, while the third truck is one stop ahead already setting up for the next press conference.  Pretty routine and lots of time for each team to setup and tear down.

 

Now, what happens if all of a sudden, the political figure or candidate decides to stop his or her tour bus to do a ‘quick, unannounced’ press conference to the media?  (Yes, this happens frequently - curveball!)

 

You’ve pulled off the highway, the candidate is getting out of the bus to speak, but your gear (like your console) is on one of the three trucks who are undoubtedly not prepared for this and likely nowhere to be found. 

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Well..…aside from laughing at my terrible impression of Dennis Hopper in the 1994 movie “SPEED” (a classic movie, might I add).  Let me tell you what we do.

 

You’re aware this kind of thing happens, so you’ve come prepared. You’ve got an APB 224-C, a mic, and a stand on the bus.  Behold, you’ve got high quality audio feeds for the traveling press in about three minutes, without an unsightly mess of multiple different mics haphazardly clamped to whatever stand someone had on hand.

 

Being able to quickly and effectively pull off a request like this is what makes for a happy, repeat client.


Click here for more information on the APB-112 SB-D

Click here for more information on the APB-224 C


About the Author:
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Andrew Bernacki is the Technical Manager at Bespoke Audio Visual, a full-service audio and visual equipment rental, and event staging company. Bespoke specializes in technical event design, production management, and technical production. Bespoke is our approach. It draws on the unique nature of every event and our desire to customize the approach specifically for you. Bespoke AV has offices in Toronto and Ottawa.

Toronto Office: 907 Oxford Street, Toronto, Ontario P: 647-797-9911 E. [email protected]  

Ottawa Office: 412-1230 Old Innes Rd., Ottawa, Ontario P: 613-519-4424 E: [email protected]