RockNet distributed audio debuts for NBC

Audio producer Daryl Bornstein used the technology at the “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” broadcast for NBC.
At New York’s Rockefeller Center, three Yamaha consoles were connected via RockNet to a central equipment rack comprised of five RN301.MI input devices. Photo courtesy Media Numerics.

A new distributed audio technology with major applications for live sporting events got a Christmas season U.S. debut at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Media Numerics’ RockNet is a digital audio distribution infrastructure for both live and broadcast sound.

Audio producer Daryl Bornstein made a last minute decision to use the technology at the high-profile “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” broadcast, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

Not only did the technology work flawlessly, but also Bornstein said it saved more than 50 man hours in set up/strike labor, provided ample flexibility and scalability and provided a solid sense of security.

RockNet is optimized for managing audio and control data for live sound. It is designed to link up to 99 devices into one single network. Any of the 160 audio channels can be dropped to a maximum of 800 outputs in the bidirectional network without limitation.

RockNet uses a redundant ring topology. A broken connection between two devices does not affect the audio transmission or system integrity. The ring is self-healing for single connection failures and offers significant advantages in performance, consistency and flexibility.

All products feature front-panel facilities for a user to simply configure the unit without a computer. Optionally, a PC can be connected via USB interface for monitoring and control. A word clock input and output is provided.

The live sound system at Rockefeller Center included three Yamaha consoles: two PM5D, one for the massive distributed PA system and one for the ice rink stage monitor position, and one DM2000 for the 49th Street stage monitor mix, fitted with eight RockNet RN.341.MY cards.

The consoles were connected via RockNet to a central equipment rack comprised of five RN301.MI input devices, which included all of the talent (production) and performance (musical) wireless microphones, performance playback mixes, production video and audio tape playback, SA and press feeds.

Nearly all the speakers throughout Rockefeller Plaza were fed through RockNet. The design included 20 different speaker zones. One key aspect of the flexibility of RockNet was that an input or output device could be added to the network, in any location, at any time.

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