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On Tuesday, XM Satellite Radio inaugurated its performance studio, a new addition to its digital broadcast complex in urban Washington, D.C., and part of what the company calls its revival of live radio.

XM celebrated the inauguration with a concert by Jazz great Wynton Marsalis.

The 1,500-square-foot performance studio will accommodate live performances of virtually any size, including 50 people or a 40-piece orchestra. XM said it has already drawn hundreds of musicians to its studios, and is fielding requests from a host of top artists eager to perform live concerts.

In addition to XM's 80 studios in Washington, artists also have access to XM studios in New York City, where it creates content for channels including Frank's Place, Beyond Jazz and AudioVisions; and at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, where it broadcasts nine hours live daily.

From SkyReport (Used with Permission)
 

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I would love to see this studio (Hey XM are you listening?) I hear its a special "Floating" studio that is built in such a way that you dont even hear a note in the room next door to it. I think that is very cool.

I would have liked to have one of those rooms when I was a teenager, thinking about it my parents would have liked it too. :D
 
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I have been to the XM radio facilities in Washington, DC and gotten the full tour. It is absolutely amazing!!!

Each studio is "floating" so that no noise gets to any other studio. Of course the volume at wich the 90's on 9 channel plays the audio, some bass creeps through to the other channels.

All the noise making equipment is in racks outside the studio. the 60's on 6 channel uses the original reverb from WCBS ny when it was a top40 station. The speakers in each studio cost $4000 each!.

I did not get to see the new large performance studio that had just opened, but I did get to see two other studios, and the engineering in those was amazing. There was over two tons of glass that was mounted perpendicular to the glass wall that you could see in. The hardwood floor in that studio was beautiful.

Each regular studio is fully digital and the boards are totally customizable for each person.

In a word "Awesome" in the true meaning of the word.

Reedl
 

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Cool Reed!

I have been invited to spend a day at XM, just got to find the time to make the trip! It's my understanding that the new live perfomance studio is in heavy use, I understand that quite a few artists have booked time to record in that studio.

I am really interested in seeing the software they use for playback, as you may have seen or heard yesterday I got a suprise call from XM's 80's on 8 Morning Guy and Program Director Bruce Kelly. While I was on the phone he asked me to pick a song, which I did, I then heard him insert it into the playlist and heard him listening to the end of the song figuring how to mix the end of the song with a XM Jingle. This was all done on the fly. Very Very cool!

XM is claiming that they have the largest private network on Earth, and I believe them.

They are working on digitizing all 525 3 Hour Episodes of Americas Top 40 with Casey Kasem (sp?) Imagine how much space 1,575 HOURS of America's Top 40 will use, and thats not including all the music and specials being used by the other 60 channels which are produced in house at XM!

Thanks Reed for your report!
 
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I think it is totally special to them software. I do know that they have a VERY large room with all the audio servers (22 Terabytes), and many other racks with control equipment, channel playback racks, etc. etc. etc.

The main studios (for live channels like 90's, 80's, and others) are quite nice. The studios for recording breaks (like the comedy channel which is totally voicetracked), are very small, but all the user/voice to totally control the segway between the elements.

The funny thing about this whole thing is that my friend Mark Parentau(sp) who is the PD of the comedy channels was doing voice tracking ten years ago using software that I wrote. Everybody else who went to work for XM was worried that Tracking would not sound good. Since it had been done before by him, he knew it would sound good.

Some of the channels are more "live" and others. For example the 80's is not always live. The 60's and 90's are pretty much always live during the day as they want to keep the interactivity. You can pretty much tell whether the channel is truely live most of the time by calling the request line. If it answer immediately to a recording, it is usually not live.

The 60's channel has a map of the US and Canada with pins pushed in showing where they have received calls from. They have received reception reports from all 50 states, and most of southern Canada. For example XM works on the east side of most of the Hawaiian Islands (or at the top of tall buildings on the west side)

It is great to finally have radio again that is interactive, not over-researched, and in general fun.

I cringe whenever I have to listen to standard FM.

Reedl
 
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