NEP Supershooters hits the road with Aviom Pro64 audio networks

When NEP Broadcasting needed to replace its existing audio-over-fiber gear, it turned to Aviom’s A-Net audio transport protocol, both for its powerful true network design, but also its ability to withstand the harsh environments the company encounters during outdoor applications. NEP OB trucks are routinely used for large-scale live broadcast events, including professional football, auto racing and golf tournaments, where extreme temperature and humidity, not to mention rough handling, are common.

NEP Supershooters is best known for providing state-of-the-art mobile broadcast facilities, supported by the company’s technical expertise and production services. As a company that designs, builds and maintains its own fleet while creating customized mobile production units for clients, NEP Supershooters operates 11 high-def mobile units and 10 SD units, plus two units based in Hawaii. The fleet is rounded out by a diverse fleet of B units, or support trucks, which include everything from a basic box truck, to a 53-foot “expando” with Avid editing and two effects mixers. The AviomPro64 audio network proved to be a perfect answer to NEP’s need for high-quality and reliable audio gear on location.

“For us, it was important to find a network that had built-in fiber interfaces, high-quality mic preamps, good signal-to-noise/overall audio quality, ample headroom and scalability,” said Joseph Signorino, senior project engineer/mobile unit engineering manager for NEP Supershooters. “When we originally looked at the Aviom gear a few years ago, the fiber interface did not exist, but Aviom listened to our needs and developed a new hub with fiber ports on board. From the first demo, they gave us a lot of attention and it was obvious they were going to back up their system and were serious about their product.”

For NEP’s complex applications, such as a major auto racing event, Pro64 networks help to connect production trucks, talent and on-track mics. Fiber connects remote racks, the announce booth, the studio and the production truck onsite. Audio inputs are divided across independent sub-networks, and program audio and IFB can be integrated if desired. A typical remote rack would entail 16 remote controllable mic preamps, a Cat-5e interconnect and a fiber interface for long run to other remote racks or production trucks. The truck would then contain analog or AES3 outputs, remote control and monitoring of mic preamps, Cat-5e interconnects and a fiber interface for long runs to remote racks.

Aviom Pro64 Series audio networks provide transparent audio quality and permit Cat-5e cable runs of up to 400 feet, and support for single- or multi-mode fiber optics with no delay or signal loss. At the heart of the system is the 6416m Mic Input Module. These remote controllable mic pres are placed at various remote locations on site, along with an MH10f Merger Hub. The Merger Hub, which connects each remote location to the production truck via fiber. In some cases, 6416o v.2 Output Modules are also placed in remote racks for audio out to talent earpieces and crew IFB headsets.

In their production trucks, NEP has MH10f Merger Hubs and 6416o v.2s for audio out to the console. In addition, they use Aviom’s RCI Remote Control Interfaces and MCS Mic Control Surfaces to remotely control the 6416m units that are in the remote racks. The Aviom system enables the crew to run multiple control points, allowing production audio and effects audio mix engineers to have control over their particular networks, since audio is acquired and picked off from multiple points on the system.

Best known for its applications in live sound, particularly in the worship market, Aviom is showcasing the power and versatility of its premier Pro64 system with this NEP project, proving conclusively its viability in the uncompromising broadcast market.

“The Aviom Pro64 network has proven to be a high-quality system that has been extremely well-received by our clients and audio engineers,” Signorino said. “The fact that the system is easily scalable has allowed us to combine every piece of Aviom gear we own on a few large events, which worked out very well. It has been very reliable and the audio quality has pleased all users.”