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Hands On: 360 Systems Maxx-400 Server

We had been looking at 360 Systems image servers for several years at NAB. We have two 360 Systems instant replay audio clip players and really like them.

Merrill Richardson, director of facilities for Lexington Center Corp., which manages Rupp Arena, home of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team, in addition to a large convention center, shopping mall, and theater.

MY PICK: 360 Systems MAXX-400 server

LIST PRICE: $17,500

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT: We had been looking at 360 Systems image servers for several years at NAB. We have two 360 Systems instant replay audio clip players and really like them. The MAXX server's SDI and Composite Video inputs and outputs, plus its ease of use, made it a no-brainer. We bought two MAXX-400 servers to get six channels thinking we would have some extra channels for future uses, but we're using all six channels now. You can use the MAXX like a video tape recorder. I don't have to do any processing, [nor do I have to] run commercial tapes or DVDs through my Avid first. I can record an SDI or Composite signal right into the MAXX and then edit on it as well. Plus, it's easy to learn. It was new to everyone here, and it was up and running quickly. The tech support we received from the factory has been great, and they have answered all questions we've had on using the product.

I WOULD CHANGE: An audio level visual bar graph on the screen to show the audio level you are recording on channel one would be helpful. When you're recording, you have to rely on your playout equipment to see if you have the right levels. Also, the explanation of how to delete clips from the playlist and clip list in the instruction book wasn't clear. We learned through trial and error.

WHERE I USED IT: We bought the two MAXX servers for our seamless plasma display wall in the main lobby. I use three channels for that. Another channel handles playout for a concourse with six plasma screens, and one channel runs promos on three other concourses and part of the lobby with 30 CRT TVs. A sixth channel takes care of special logos for the four large LED screens in the 23,500-seat arena.

MY RESULTS: We run the MAXX severs in loop mode all the time. They are very reliable and never break down. We have a full TV studio with four cameras, two editing stations, three computer graphics channels, two instant replay channels, and two playout channels, plus a Ross Synergy 3 switcher and a full audio production facility. During an event, we have seven different programming streams in the building. The MAXX servers are easy to use and free up our other equipment. We plan to add more MAXXs as our level of advertising and promotion increases.

MANUFACTURER'S SPECIFICATIONS

Video inputs: One; Composite or SDI video
Video outputs: Three; Composite and SDI video
Analog video I/O: Composite, 75-ohm, BNC
Digital video I/O: SDI, SMPTE 259M, 75-ohm BNC
Video standards: 525/60 NTSC; 625/50 PAL (Model dependent)
MPEG recording formats: MPEG-2: 4:2:2 Profile @ Main Level to 50 Mb/s; MPEG-2: Main Profile @ Main Level to 15 Mb/s (4:2:0 or 4:1:1)
DV playback: DV-25 files imported via Ethernet in .dv format
Frame format: MPEG-2: I-frame, 6-GOP, 14 GOP

Audio
Digital inputs/outputs: Two stereo pairs (4 channels) per video input or output
Digital audio format: AES/EBU, 110-ohm, XLR-3 connector (AES-3-2000)
Dynamic range (digital): 144 dB (24-bit word size)
Audio format: 48k sample rate, 24-bit word size, Linear PCM
Analog inputs/outputs: Two mono channels per video input or output
Analog audio format: Balanced, +4 dBu, XLR-3 connector
Frequency response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz ±0.1 dB
Dynamic range: 112 dB (24-bit word size)
Headroom: 20 dB above nominal +4 dBu operating level
Audio sync reference: Derived from video reference
Embedded audio: SDI embedded; 20-bit, 4-channel

Video/Audio Networking
MPEG-2 file interchange: MXF (SMPTE 377M, 378M, 381M ) OP-1a, OP-1b; import and export; program and elementary stream import; IMX (D10) export
DV-25 file interchange: DV stream (.dv or .avi) import and export
Network port: Gigabit Ethernet


Disk Storage
Storage time (max): 112 or 170 hours (ref. 12 Mb/sec)
Drives: Server-class SATA; total array is 1.0 TB or 1.6 TB

Size (H x W x D): 3.5 inches x 19.0 inches x 18.5 inches
Weight: 28 pounds

Director of facilities for Lexington Center Corp., which manages Rupp Arena, home of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team, in addition to a large convention center, shopping mall, and theater.



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