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Archive of the Case Studies Category

MassAV Creates ‘Ultimate Production Snake’ by FiberPlex

It’s lights, cameras and a whole lot more action for massAV as a result of a new FiberPlex Technologies optical snake recently added to its linecard.

The live event AV staging and production company in Billerica, Massachusetts, purchased FiberPlex’s WDM optical multiplexer to create what massAV Director of Operations Aaron Raymond calls the ultimate production snake. “We build a lot of very high end video systems, and when you start adding multiple lines of HD video along with audio, data, lighting and control for an event, it really has to be fiber,” he said, adding, “We’d been limited in our use of fiber until now because it meant having to set up an optical transmitter and receiver on every single channel, and that got expensive.”

Now, with FiberPlex’s WDM-8 active wave division multiplexer, massAV can multiplex eight discrete signals at 3 Gb/s each for transporting video, audio, lighting and control feeds onto one fiber pair.

The FiberPlex WDM multiplexer comes in 16-channel and 8-channel models and are on a cost parity with copper and copper’s associated installation and handling expenses. As the cost of copper cabling continues to rise, companies like massAV are going the fiber optic route to transport large volumes of content. Optical fiber has ten times the transference rate of copper at the high end and can transmit data error-free over greater distances by a 400:1 ratio.

“The FiberPlex multiplexer makes it so that we can run eight channels on the same fiber pair as opposed to dealing with the different types and sizes of copper cabling as well as the need to re-clock signals every couple hundred feet for longer runs,” explained Raymond.

As a result, massAV is able to replace 2,000 pounds of copper cabling with a 25-pound spool of fiber optics for large events, a savings that is realized by its corporate and other live event customers in reduced labor, setup time and transportation costs to truck in and set up copper cabling at events.

Multiplexing media and control signals onto one, 1/4-inch optical cable is also ideal for events that require running cables down hallways, across doorways or through public areas where bulky copper cabling is not practical, said Raymond.

massAV recently tried out the new multiplexer for a 1,500-person event with a main stage, two control areas, and 26 video projectors in the air – all tied together via the ultimate production snake consisting of little more than a spool of fiber optic cabling and a pair of WDM multiplexers. The setup involved multiple lines of data, video, audio, lighting control, intercom communications, and serial communications between equipment.

FiberPlex’s eight-channel WDM-8 and sixteen-channel WDM-16 multiplexers use interchangeable SFP/SFP+ modules for interfacing to a variety of gear and environments, including converting between media formats SD-SDI, HD-SDI, 3G-SDI, and 6G-SDI and for HDMI/DVI, 10/100/1G Ethernet and MADI, as well as full duplex and BiDi optical. massAV’s new multiplexer provides the flexibility now and into the immediate future as new media requirements change, noted Raymond.

FiberPlex recently took to the road to conduct a 25-city demo tour of its active wave division multiplexers as the ultimate production snake (check with a local FiberPlex representative for details). FiberPlex makes fiber optic products and systems for government agencies as well as for houses of worship, corporate facilities, broadcast applications, and K-12 and higher education.

Funky Junk helps Ruadhri Cushnan Upgrade His Monitors

Funky Junk, Europe’s leading supplier of new and refurbished professional recording equipment and services, has supplied Award-winning Mix engineer Ruadhri Cushnan with a pair of ATC SM25A studio monitors.

“I knew ATC had a great reputation as a monitor manufacturer and I’d specifically heard a few people talk favourably about the SM25s,” Ruadhri Cushnan says. “When I mentioned to the Funky Junk guys that I needed to improve my monitors they suggested that I try them. I did, and they were amazing, so I decided to buy a pair.”

The monitors have now been installed at Cushnan’s project studio.

“I’ve had my own Mix space since 2007, but recently moved to my current space because it is slightly bigger and gives me more room to accommodate my ever expanding gear racks,”

Cushnan says. “Being near Funky Junk was a happy accident but one that has definitely worked out well. It’s like having a big studio maintenance department right on the doorstep. The guys are very friendly and always happy to help – and they have a good coffee machine.”

Ruadhri Cushnan started his career as an assistant engineer at Metropolis Studios before turning his hand to freelance projects. Having worked as a programmer, writer and re-mixer, Cushnan is now best known as a Mix engineer – an area he has been focusing on since 2007. Recent projects have included album and single mixes for Ed Sheeran, Half Moon Run, The Maccabees, Nina Nesbitt and Foy Vance. He was also responsible for mixing Mumford & Son’s album Babel, for which he received a Grammy in 2013.

Virtually all of Cushnan’s mix projects are carried out at his project studio where he tends to mix ‘in the box’, but with lots of traditional analogue outboard as part of the workflow.

“I occasionally record some vocals and overdubs but 90% of my time is spent mixing,” he explains. “Obviously monitoring is critical and that’s why I needed to upgrade. I’m delighted with the ATC SM25s, which I’ve been using for a little while now. They really do have an incredible amount of detail and are very easy to listen to. I can mix on them at a good level for hours and not get tired out. When I first got them I put on some old favourite vinyls that I thought I knew well and, although it’s a real cliché, it was like hearing them fresh for the first time. They are excellent speakers.”

Cushnan adds that he was very happy with the help and advice Funky Junk’s technical boffins gave him. “They have a great support system and are always very competitive on price,” he says.

The success Ruadhri Cushnan enjoyed in 2012 and 2013 looks set to continue this year as he is already busy working on album projects for Luke Sital Singh (Parlophone) Saint Raymond (Warner/Asylum), King Charles (Universal/Republic), Foy Vance (Glassnote) and Nina Nesbitt.

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About Funky Junk:
Funky Junk is Europe’s leading supplier of new and refurbished professional recording equipment and services. It has offices in London, Paris, Milan and Spain and has been in business for over 20 years. The company is renowned for its high level technical knowledge, backed by extensive workshop facilities. As well as handling sales and repairs, Funky Junk also acts as a distributor to a number of equipment brands and deals with their service and warranty.

For more information please visit www.proaudioeurope.com

DPA Microphones Bring Added Clarity To David Gray’s Vocals

Leading singer songwriter David Gray has become the latest in a long line of vocalists to discover the benefits of DPA Microphones’ new d:facto™ Vocal Microphone.

Gray’s well-crafted songs were delivered with pristine clarity during his recent Sounding Out tour of Ireland after FOH engineer Graham Pattison introduced DPA’s d:facto II into the equipment line-up.

“I’ve been a fan of DPA microphones for some time because they deliver such great sound quality,” Pattison says. “However, this was the first time I’d had the opportunity to use the new d:facto II Vocal Microphone and I was really impressed with the results we achieved. Right from the first syllable in rehearsals I knew we were onto a winner, but it wasn’t until the first show in Ireland a few days later that I really heard the vocal clarity and exceptional quality through a large venue sound system. There were no gain or feedback issues, and even when left with a flat EQ it sounded exactly how I’m used to hearing David’s voice. The EQ I did end up using was just to help the vocal sit in well with the instrumentation.”

Pattison adds that Gray didn’t question why his microphone had been changed.

“He trusted my judgment and his own ears,” he explains. “During the two week tour we played 11 shows, and did a live streamed and filmed ‘other voices’ show and a live on air RTE radio show. Everyone was coming back to me with very positive feedback about the sound in general as well as his vocal performance.”

Pattison first began working with David Gray in 2007 and since then he has engineered all his live gigs. In 2011, Gray’s Lost and Found tour gave him the opportunity to experiment with a different technical approach and it was on that occasion that he began using DPA microphones.

“The Lost and Found tour was a more acoustic presentation of David’s songs, so we used different instrumentation,” Pattison explains. “We also added a couple of new musicians who could cover backing vocalist duties, so at times we had a five voice choir to back up David’s main vocal.”

Thanks to the acoustic nature of the show, Pattison decided that DPA microphones would be the perfect way to capture the instruments on stage. After speaking with DP’A UK distributor Sound Network about the tour’s requirements, Pattison settled on using two d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones for the double bass and cello, two d:dicate™ 4011 Recording Microphones for the acoustic guitar and mandolin, two 4023 microphones for the grand piano and one d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphone for Gray’s trademark handpump harmonium.

“I chose DPA microphones for their sound quality – it really was as simple as that,” Pattison says. “DPA microphones have always been regarded as the best you can buy, so when I had an opportunity to acquire some mics for my studio and for live shows, I knew that DPA was the way I wanted to go. Apart from their exceptional sound quality, I’ve also find them extremely versatile because they can be mounted in so many different ways, including directly onto the instrument.”

Pattison says that DPA microphones are now standard on all the tours he engineers because they are so rugged and reliable.

“I did three tours last year, all with DPA, and I didn’t have any microphone failures,” he says. “Even the miniature cardioid microphone I’ve been using on David’s pump harmonium is still going strong. The build quality, particularly of the d:dicate 4011 Recording Microphones, is fantastic and no matter where in the world I ship them, they always withstand the rigors of freighting and come out of their boxes working perfectly every time.

“With an ever increasing vocal choir, I am now looking forward to getting my hands on some more DPA d:facto Vocal Microphones. With those, and the d:vote 4099 drum microphones, DPA will certainly be getting a good run in.”

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About DPA
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s ultimate goal is to provide you – whether you’re in live sound, recording, theater or broadcast – with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for your tasks. DPA takes no shortcuts in the design processes nor makes any compromises in manufacturing, which is all done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability, and above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.

For more information, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

HARMAN’s Martin Professional Fixtures Shine For Saddleback Church’s Powerful, Music-Inspired Services and Global Broadcasts

LAKE FOREST, California — With a flourishing network of worship facilities across southern California, internationally and via webcasts, the Saddleback Church, with a congregation of tens of thousand around the world, has grown accustom to the bold sermons from Pastor Rick Warren in an exciting atmosphere. Highlighted by a wide variety of HARMAN’s Martin Professional lighting fixtures, the church has developed a type of service that’s evolved from a single preacher on a stage to an all-encompassing music and light show experience. Flashing lights, passion-filled songs and roaring applause breaks are the norm for Saddleback.

Saddleback’s main worship center, out of the six in the Lake Forest, CA campus, boasts six MAC Viper Profiles and 18 Auras along the stage. The main worship center seats 3,000 members per service, averaging more than 17,000 worshipers per weekend. The additional worship areas on the Lake Forest campus range from 50-600 capacity limits, offering different takes on the Church’s sermon for the day, whether a more traditional service, hard rock, or other genre, to keep parishioners entertained and engaged. Each of the remote campuses features a wide variety of Martin fixtures as well.

In-house lighting designer Alex Fuller has played a large part in the implementation of Martin lighting fixtures into Saddleback Church. “We’re here to provide an experience for the community, not just a stage for your average worship service,” stated Fuller. “The Vipers perform perfectly once they’re up in our venues, and the Auras are workhorses that we can rely on week after week, without worry.”

A routine day of service in the main worship venue transitions between the band performing five to six songs, regular and guest speakers and videos playing. Two 24×13-foot screens flank the stage for an enhanced visual experience.

Recently, Saddleback has added satellite campuses in Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, and Berlin. In addition to creating delightful, custom light shows for each sermon and concert, the church broadcasts each service live to its congregation around the world. “Our worship center has become more of a broadcast room, with thousands of people both participating live and watching abroad,” says Greg Baker, Global Technical Director, Saddleback Church. “Lighting is a huge part of broadcast and the Martin fixtures allow us to provide top-notch quality over our high-definition broadcast channel every day. Martin translates very well on air and that’s something our remote members appreciate.”

“The support system Martin has developed for its customers has solidified my appreciation for its lights. I’m a Martin fan through and through,” continued Fuller. “Every type of fixture in the industry eventually will require service and Martin is on top of it immediately. We are never down and can always rely on Martin no matter what our worship services, in any part of the world need.”

Martin operates the industry’s most complete and capable distributor network with local partners in nearly 100 countries. Founded in 1987 and based in Aarhus, Denmark, Martin is the lighting division of global infotainment and audio company HARMAN International Industries. For more information please visit: http://www.martin.com.

HARMAN designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 14,800 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.7 billion for the last twelve months ended December 31, 2013.

Symetrix Solus DSPs Shining Brightly at Leading Norwegian Universities

Audio routing/processing in auditoria and classrooms across several higher education colleges in Trondheim is more flexible than ever before thanks to the latest generation of Symetrix open architecture DSPs.

Lecture hall audio and online content streaming in classrooms are just two of the tasks handled by Symetrix Solus and Radius 12×8 processors in Trondheim’s leading centers of higher education. The Symetrix devices were the selection of Atea, which has been providing integration services to two eminent colleges in Norway’s third largest city for several years now.

Boasting offices throughout Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, Atea is a regional power player in IT and AV installation. During the last 12 months Atea has made increasing use of two of Symetrix’ latest products: the SymNet Solus 16 open architecture standalone DSP and the SymNet Radius 12×8 open architecture scalable DSP with support for Audinate’s Dante media networking technology.

“Generally speaking, the Radius 12×8 and Solus DSPs offer the processing power and versatility required for academic-type installations,” says André Dominic Schorr,

AV senior consultant/programmer at Atea. “In most cases, we are talking about general purpose lecture room audio, streaming and sharing of content, and flexible routing to and from different lecture halls and teaching spaces. The Radius 12×8 and Solus 16 are entirely capable of handling such tasks, but there is no doubt that Dante networking affords even greater flexibility, so the level of interest in those solutions is definitely on the rise.”

In the most recent phase of work at its two primary academic clients in Trondheim, Schorr and his team have installed multiple 16-in, 8-out Solus processors. “One of the really great aspects for this type of project is that with Solus you have a library of design templates that provides a solid basis for most problems encountered in typical university installations,” he enthuses.

But above all, Schorr is admiring of the processor’s open architecture design. “I come from a live sound background, and it seems to me that Solus’ design makes life incredibly straightforward for all types of engineers – it really is very easy to get to grips with.” Then there is the processor’s rock-solid reliability: “Speaking for myself, I have never experienced a system failure, which is precisely what you need when dealing with high-volume projects like these.”

In both colleges of higher education, the Symetrix processors have been integrated successfully with an audio inventory that includes large numbers of RCF and Focal speakers, Sennheiser wireless microphones and Audix wired microphones. Cisco and Tandberg collaboration equipment, Crestron control solutions, Sony and Epson projectors and Samsung screens are among the other stalwart elements of Atea’s university installations.

“In our current and next phase of work, we are upgrading some auditoria and lecture halls that have not received significant attention for as long as 10 or 15 years,” reveals Schorr. “With the Symetrix DSPs we are confident that we have the tool to take these rooms forward confidently into a new era of technological ease and versatility.”

www.symetrix.co

Hitachi Projector Boosts Resident Involvement and Participation at Tara Woods Community

North Fort Myers, Florida, January 31, 2014 – As the central gathering area of the Tara Woods 55-and-older community in North Fort Myers, FL, the center’s clubhouse needs to provide a consistent projection source for all kinds of media. After a previous projector had failed, Wayne Cox’s experience in educational A/V led him to purchase a Hitachi CP-WX8265 projector for the community. The projector was purchased from Harmon’s Audio Visual in Fort Myers, FL.

“There are no window coverings in the clubhouse, so high brightness is a must,” said Mr. Cox, who is a member of a volunteer group called Sound and Lighting that sets up, operates and services all audio and video equipment for the community. “I’ve already received plenty of positive feedback from the community on the brightnesow s and clarity of images.”

The clubhouse seats several hundred and is used for movie nights, bingo and, most recently projected lyrics during the community’s Christmas Carol Sing-a-long.

“Attendance at our movie night has already increased because of the picture quality,” said Mr. Cox. “We are able to rely on the image quality even on the brightest days.”

Mr. Cox, now retired, used to work as the Technologies Manager at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. He became familiar with Hitachi products during his time there, recognizing the projectors for their high resolution, brightness, contrast ratio, aspect ratio and connectivity.

The Hitachi CP-WX8265 3LCD projector features a brightness of 6,500 ANSI lumens and supports an aspect ratio of 16:10 WXGA.

For more information on Tara Woods, visit http://www.hometownamerica.com/tarawoods

For more information on Harmon’s Audio Visual, visit http://harmonsav.com/

For more information on Hitachi visit www.hitachi-america.us/projectors

Follow Hitachi on Facebook and Twitter.

About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi America, Ltd. headquartered in Tarrytown, New York, a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., and its subsidiary companies offer a broad range of electronics, power and industrial equipment and services, automotive products and consumer electronics with operations throughout the Americas. For more information, visit www.hitachi-america.us. For information on other Hitachi Group companies in the United States, please visit www.hitachi.us.

Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 326,000 employees worldwide. The company’s consolidated revenues for fiscal 2012 (ended March 31, 2013) totaled 9,041 billion yen ($96.1 billion). Hitachi is focusing more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes infrastructure systems, information & telecommunication systems, power systems, construction machinery, high functional material & components, automotive systems and others.

Hostworks Selects Digital Rapids Encoders for New Live Streaming Service

  • Australia-based digital solutions provider Hostworks has chosen Digital Rapids encoders for the new Hostworks Media Foundry live streaming service
  • The encoders are used for live 24/7 streaming and ad-hoc live events while also creating file-based outputs for on-demand distribution
  • Digital Rapids’ responsive support and expertise have helped Hostworks bring new services to market in a timely and engaging manner

January 30, 2014 — Sydney, Australia: Digital Rapids – the trusted provider of innovative media transformation and workflow solutions for bringing video to wider audiences — announced today that Australia-based digital solutions provider Hostworks has selected Digital Rapids encoders for the new Hostworks Media Foundry live streaming service.

Hostworks has a long history of delivering live and on-demand content for major entertainment and enterprise brands. With the continued growth of online viewing, Hostworks continues to expand the services it offers for online media delivery. For the Hostworks Media Foundry service, the Digital Rapids encoders transform live HD or SD inputs into both live streams and file-based outputs in multiple formats and bit rates to reach audiences on devices and screen sizes ranging from smartphones to ‘smart’ TVs.

Installed at a key satellite downlink facility owned by Hostworks’ parent company Broadcast Australia, the encoders are used for live 24/7 streaming and ad-hoc live events. Outputs are delivered via the Hostworks Content Distribution Service (HCDS), enabling adaptive bit rate live and on-demand distribution from high-capacity infrastructure located in multiple geographical locations.

“A key factor in our selection of Digital Rapids was the very responsive support provided by their team, who were able to provide solutions to a number of specific requirements,” said Mark Heppleston, Media and Broadcast Manager at Hostworks. “The Digital Rapids encoding platform has enabled us to develop and launch new high-quality services for live adaptive bit rate HD video streaming, while Digital Rapids’ support and expertise have helped to save us time and bring our services to market with efficiency, precision and a fast turnaround.”

“Service providers such as Hostworks supporting premium clientele require an encoding solution with proven reliability, outstanding vendor support and exceptional visual quality to protect and elevate the reputations and brand image of both themselves and their clients, ” said Clive Vickery, Managing Director, EMEA and Asia at Digital Rapids. “Our encoders are perfectly suited to such applications, and we’re thrilled that Hostworks has chosen them for their new live streaming service initiative.”

“We have worked closely with Hostworks to help them meet the specific requirements of a variety of their high-profile clients, and are excited that our solutions are playing a key role in the launch of their new Hostworks Media Foundry offering,” added Neville Paterson, Sales Manager, Asia Pacific at Digital Rapids.

Digital Rapids encoders provide superior quality, outstanding reliability and flexible output format support for audience-expanding live and on-demand multiscreen initiatives. Powering applications from online and mobile video to over-the-top (OTT) services and IPTV, Digital Rapids encoders’ rich output capabilities and adaptive streaming support are ideal for capitalizing on today’s lucrative multiscreen distribution opportunities, enabling content owners and service providers to efficiently reach viewers on devices from tablets and mobile phones to game consoles, PCs and ‘smart’ TVs.

For more information about Digital Rapids, please visit www.digitalrapids.com.

About Hostworks — Hostworks protects revenue and brand by ensuring that the availability or performance of digital environments do not impact on critical business deadlines or objectives. Our Australian-based people are available 24 /7 to save organisations time and money. Hostworks serves to keep business online and ahead of the game through strong audience engagement and is renowned for providing direction and solutions to household brands, media agencies, commercial enterprises, along with high profile government organisations. With an agile, adaptive and competitive approach to business, coupled with thought-leading enthusiasm, incessant pursuit of innovation and dedicated cultivation of expertise, Hostworks ensures results; all the time, every time.

About Digital Rapids Corporation — Digital Rapids provides market-leading content transformation and workflow solutions that empower the world’s leading media organizations to reach wider audiences more efficiently, more effectively and more profitably. Recipients of more than two dozen prestigious awards for company and product excellence, Digital Rapids combines innovative technology with proven expertise and visionary insight to help our customers expand their audiences, increase their revenues, and reduce their costs. Digital Rapids Corporation (www.digitalrapids.com) is headquartered in Ontario, Canada with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia and Argentina.

HARMAN Professional And Quail Capital Corp To Provide Equipment Financing Solutions to Audio And Production Professionals

NORTHRIDGE, California — HARMAN Professional and Quail Capital Corp today announced the formation of HARMAN Equipment Finance (H.E.F.) to provide an array of businesses and institutions across the globe with capital to acquire HARMAN’s category-leading audio and lighting technologies including those from Studer, JBL, Martin Professional, Soundcraft and Crown.

Commenting on the program, Phil Tatro, HARMAN, Director of Order to Cash, noted, “This global program is designed to empower HARMAN dealers and customers with the financial freedom to capitalize on current economic conditions and acquire the best AV technologies on the best possible terms. We are pleased to engage Quail Capital to provide our customers with comprehensive financing solutions that will enable them to evolve and grow.”

Quail Capital Corp. had been providing equipment financing to Martin Professional customers for 15 years up to and since its acquisition by HARMAN last year. According to Quail Capital Corp. CEO, Jeff Rudin the shared commitment to innovation and service makes HARMAN Professional and Quail Capital Corp. a strong team: “We are very pleased to work with the sales leaders at HARMAN Professional to provide their customers with financial solutions tailored for the production marketplace. Our more than 20 years serving the entertainment industry will continue to provide the most innovative — and yet grounded — options for our joint customers.”

HARMAN Equipment Finance offers an easy credit approval process for all HARMAN Professional products with terms from 12 to 84 months. See a Harman representative for Special NAMM pricing.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 14,600 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.5 billion for the last twelve months ended September 30, 2013.

L-ACOUSTICS Hits a “Home Run with Fireworks” at Calvary Chapel of Naperville

CCI Solutions retrofits newly remodeled sanctuary with full KARAi system

NAPERVILLE, Illinois – January 2014 — Calvary Church of Naperville, located in the western suburbs of Chicago, recently wrapped up a five-month sanctuary renovation that increased seating from 2500 to 3000 without moving any walls. As part of the project, the church also underwent a full AVL system retrofit, which was designed and integrated by CCI Solutions of Olympia, Washington. more

FiberPlex MADI SFP Passes Optical to Avid During NFL Pro Bowl Sunday

It was a double pass for optical fiber at Sunday’s NFL Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, where copper cabling took a beating due to excessive moisture buildup from the rain.

“The issue with copper wasn’t noise for a change, it was water,” said Jeff Kang with Custom Audio, Kaneohe, Hawaii, which has been providing sound reinforcement for Pro Bowl for over 10 years. Fortunately, this year, Kang had contacted FiberPlex Technologies about a MADI-to-optic conversion box for his Avid Profile live audio console in order to run optical fiber across the stadium, and thereby bypass the problems associated with a copper run.

The FiberPlex FOI-6010 conversion box with MADI SFP/SFP+ (small form-factor pluggable module) on one end and multimode fiber SFP/SFP+ on the other makes it possible to run a fiber snake between the Avid FOH rack and a main stage rack about 650 feet away, something Kang wishes he had been able to do with a secondary stage rack 350 feet up field. The secondary stage rack connected through copper cabling was glitchy due to a steady drizzle of rain the day of the game.

“The problem was that it (copper snake) would constantly switch between primary and backup because of the condensation,” he said, adding that the optical run was unaffected by weather or noise – which was good, because he didn’t have a backup system. “That’s how much trust I put in these fiber systems,” commented Kang, who has two FiberPlex LightViper audio snakes that he uses for a variety of venues, including use as a 330-foot optical snake during the Pro Bowl game.

For Pro Bowl 2014, FiberPlex’s MADI SFP/SFP+ easily handled Avid’s modified MADI protocol for bidirectional 48×48 digital audio channels into multimode optical fiber supporting separate wireless mics, multitrack recordings, live band, plus a number of announcers and other sources that add to the mix of a typical NFL game. The remaining channels of the 64×64 bidirectional MADI capability are used for controlling mic preamps, metering, and for reading data on the Avid stage rack down field. (This is part of Avid’s modified use of the MADI protocol.)

Custom Audio is one of a growing number of sound reinforcement firms now using optical snakes for live mixing and other applications that require transporting media error-free and transparently over long distances. Setup requires only a few strands of fiber for the copper equivalent of a 40-pair, 500-pound snake, which is why Custom Audio’s crew was able to dismantle the system in record time after the Pro Bowl game. “My crew looked at me and said, ‘We got out of here two hours faster than we normally do,’” commented Kang.

FiberPlex makes fiber optic products and systems for government agencies as well as for houses of worship, corporate facilities, broadcast applications, and K-12 and higher education.

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