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Ensemble Keeps Nutmeg's Operations 'On Time' - from TV Technology Magazine

Ensemble Keeps Nutmeg’s Operations ‘On Time’

by Jonathan S. Abrams, 01.28.2009
as printed in TV Technology Magazine http://www.tvtechnology.com/article/73762

Nutmeg Audio Post does a wide range of work including TV and radio promos and commercials, ADR work for films, DVD commentary work and voice casting for audio work. We have nine audio suites and three Final Cut workstations.

When we made the leap to HD, we designed a solid reference infrastructure as the foundation to the facility upgrade. Ensemble Designs’ Avenue equipment is at the center of reference signal generation for all of the audio and video gear throughout the plant.

We have an Avenue frame populated with several of the Ensemble Designs’ test and reference modules, including the 7410 HD Tri-Level Sync Generator and the 5400 Sync Pulse Generator and Test Signal Generator.


The Avenue system provides HD, SD, composite and AES test and reference signals. With all of these reference signals coming from one source, I know everything will be in time and at the same speed, whether we’re working in standard- or high-definition, 59.94 or 29.97. This is really critical from a timing standpoint. This common source keeps the system very simple and I can rely on it.

In the past we had used a collection of equipment from various vendors for reference signals. When the need for HD tri-level sync came up, we started researching the options for new reference equipment that could provide all of the required signals. The 3 RU Avenue frame does this and takes up less rack space than the gear we had previously used for reference and test signals. There’s even a slot left over, should we need it in the future. With all of the signals in one frame the integration and control is simplified too.


We use the Avenue PC control software for selecting test patterns, choosing signal formats and adjusting timing. What I really love is that it works over Ethernet. And since it’s network-based, our house network easily connects to the frame. I like that degree of simplicity; it keeps the system very reliable and easy to use and maintain.

We use the Avenue to sync up our Final Cut stations. Each audio suite has gear requiring a video reference. The Avenue 5400 and 7410 provide a rock-solid, stable sync source for this purpose. We’re able to use the Avid Mojo SDI with Pro Tools and know that the whole system is always locked. That’s one less thing to worry about.

The 5400’ black output is fed to the Avenue frame so that all of the modules are locked together.

The 7410 Tri-Level Sync Generator provides four independent outputs for HD purposes, so one can output 720p, another 1080i and a third 1080sF.

The tech support from Ensemble is excellent. When I noticed something on our 5150 distribution amplifier that looked like drift, Ensemble’s Robert Nunez duplicated our setup exactly, explained what I was seeing and assured me that everything was fine.

In the three years we’ve had the Avenue frame we’ve never had a hardware failure. We really like that kind of reliability.

Jonathan S. Abrams has been the chief technical engineer at Nutmeg Audio Post since May 2001 and is a graduate of the University of Hartford and NYU. He may be contacted at j.abrams@nutmegaudiopost.com.