Q It Up: What alternatives are replacing ISDN?

All IP ISDNWith ISDN on the way out, what are your plans for replacing it? What have you checked out? Source-Connect, SoundStreak, ipDTL, Zoom.us, LinPhone, something else? If you have already moved to an alternative, what are you using it for, and how does it compare to ISDN in your situation?

Post your response in the comments section below. You’ll be automatically subscribed to the article and will receive notifications when others post their comments and when others respond to yours. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Comments (13)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I would say in most cases I have encountered...Source-Connect would be the most optional common request...but that's not to say there aren't any other options as well.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I've used Source-Connect...but currently the quickest and easiest way has been to use Cleanfeed.net. There is a segment on my show every Friday morning that we used to record via phonelines, and the audio on my end was great, but the guest/co-host of the segment sounded phoneline crappy. Now he sits at his computer with a mic and waits for me to connect every Friday morning, I record the audio on my end and it sounds like he's in a studio as opposed to on a phone. Technology is a wonderful thing. I'm actually looking into Comrex Opal which looks to be a more radio friendly solution.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

As a voice talent, the most common request I get for client directed session is now ISDN OR Source Connect. There was a time when ISDN reigned supreme, but Source Connect seems to have made in-roads to the agency world, and is becoming, if it isn't already, a totally awesome and viable alternative to ISDN. I would say about 90 percent of all of my directed sessions are via Source Connect (the stand alone 'standard' version), it's virtually flawless, low latency and I love it!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Along with that...a wise man once told me Source can do an ISDN bridge. Matt Fogarty knows who I'm talking about.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Yup. There are several third party operators that can bridge a connection from Source Connect to ISDN. It's quite versatile.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Wow, there are so many options out there today, but I think that if the Idea eventually is to replace the ISDN boxes with another type of physical encoder decoder system? chances are we will be switching to the "Telos" or "Comrex" solutions. I personally would like to see more software based solutions, as there are plenty out there that will fit many needs, however, one of the original talking points for defending ISDN was the ability of being able to have an audio signal without putting studio computers online in a "hackable" or " virus prone" situation, not to mention that up to a certain degree ISDN has been the gatekeeper between the "pros" and the "rest of the world" which makes me think that there is a possibility that agencies might say "pick a box". Me? I have tried many of these solutions, but one that is not on this list that has been slowly getting better and better with every update. If you get a chance try ConnectionOpen, out of all the methods mentions, it's the only...

Wow, there are so many options out there today, but I think that if the Idea eventually is to replace the ISDN boxes with another type of physical encoder decoder system? chances are we will be switching to the "Telos" or "Comrex" solutions. I personally would like to see more software based solutions, as there are plenty out there that will fit many needs, however, one of the original talking points for defending ISDN was the ability of being able to have an audio signal without putting studio computers online in a "hackable" or " virus prone" situation, not to mention that up to a certain degree ISDN has been the gatekeeper between the "pros" and the "rest of the world" which makes me think that there is a possibility that agencies might say "pick a box". Me? I have tried many of these solutions, but one that is not on this list that has been slowly getting better and better with every update. If you get a chance try ConnectionOpen, out of all the methods mentions, it's the only one that actually passes uncompressed audio. I've had a chance to use it with the creator of the software and have been able to have well over an hour of audio without any artifacts.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I am considering Source Connect. You can buy it once (the full version, not the PRO or the 'light <free> version) and keep using it. Naturally if you can you will want to update it in the future. I see that most high end recording studios are getting used to Source Connect. The quality is great with very little interruption, if any while recording. It's also a lot less expensive and less hassle than ISDN was. .....just my thoughts after studying all of them.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

At HFTH, have largely replaced ISDN with Telos' Zephyr IP system. We have two Z/IP Ones, a first generation Zephy IP and a first generation portable Zephyr IP. We also have one voice talent with whom we use Source Connect. Of course, as multi-studio program producer and originator, our needs are different than an independent voice talent.

We still have ISDN and use it when we can. I feel it is superior in almost all respects to IP solutions - fewer glitches/dropouts, audio with fewer artifacts (no high frequency weirdness, for example), lower latency, etc. Of course IP solutions are way cheaper!

We use the Telos system every night to send our national, live-to-air program program to the network. Most of the time it works fine, but the rate of failure is definitely higher than for ISDN.

With Z/IP, not any old internet connection will do. Forget about using a consumer grade internet service. QoS is way more critical than raw speed. A business class DSL with QoS that is...

At HFTH, have largely replaced ISDN with Telos' Zephyr IP system. We have two Z/IP Ones, a first generation Zephy IP and a first generation portable Zephyr IP. We also have one voice talent with whom we use Source Connect. Of course, as multi-studio program producer and originator, our needs are different than an independent voice talent.

We still have ISDN and use it when we can. I feel it is superior in almost all respects to IP solutions - fewer glitches/dropouts, audio with fewer artifacts (no high frequency weirdness, for example), lower latency, etc. Of course IP solutions are way cheaper!

We use the Telos system every night to send our national, live-to-air program program to the network. Most of the time it works fine, but the rate of failure is definitely higher than for ISDN.

With Z/IP, not any old internet connection will do. Forget about using a consumer grade internet service. QoS is way more critical than raw speed. A business class DSL with QoS that is dedicated only to that unit works best in some cases, although, on our end, we have it working on our LAN. And it works great to our MPLS locations. Whatever, it just takes careful setup of the IT environment.

In-the-box solutions, such as Source Connect are difficult to use in our enterprise, all-digital, house sync based infrastructure. We've gotten Source Connect to work, but it takes jumping through some hoops. I certainly would not want to rely on it for live-to-air.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I’ve been toying with the idea of Source-Connect, mainly because most of the big NY and LA studios and TV studios use it as their alternative to ISDN. My agency has been making noise about it too, but I’ve been a little slow to adopt because I keep hearing it’s a bit finicky to use. One studio I’m familiar with near where I live, gave up on it because they had problem after problem with it.

I’d really like to hear from some hard-core users about issues they’ve had and how they conquered them.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Right now, Zoom works great for conversation during sessions. As a matter of fact, I use Zoom to pump copy and Audition into the voice booth (I do not do production in the voice booth). Source Connect seems to do well, so far. ISDN rarely comes up right now, but it's still an option that is out there on some projects. I am looking to make a decision about ISDN to a new voicebooth I just finished. I am not sure it's going to be a necessary option, yet.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I see a lot of people posting about vo work with this question. For radio stations... What do you use? Is anyone using Comrex's Opal? If not, what are you using to get studio quality audio station from remote locations?

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I run an LPFM station and I use DEVA DB90 Broadcast boxes. They let me shoot from the studio to the site using AAC+ v2, only downside is that if the internet connection gets finnicky it will drop half a second of audio, but when your internet is good it is a very seldom occurrence. Also, I am using them in pretty much real time, if I didn't want to worry about droputs (broadcast purposes, not voiceover) all I have to do is set up an icecast server point and the buffers would be adjustable (vs real time processing).

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

About seven years ago, our Chief Engineer attempted to write his own VOIP software using both the Opus and Speex codecs, that he named "NetISDN". It worked, but it was iffy at best, and by then a lot of free alternatives were coming on line.
Today we use a mix of SourceConnect Now and Zoom on our computers, we have a bank of five Comrex Access units and one Telos IP Zephyr. In a pinch, the free Linphone VOIP telephone software (linphone.org/) can actually talk to an Access unit, and sound pretty good doing it. We still have three Telos "black plate" ISDN Zephyrs as standby backups.
Our primary hookups are via the Access boxes.

There are no comments posted here yet