MLB Network sounds good with Calrec audio consoles

The recently launched MLB Network has installed two 56-fader Calrec Omega consoles linked by a Calrec Hydra networking system to deliver live and taped programming from its revamped Secaucus, NJ, facility. With 10 remote I/O boxes, MLB Network’s Hydra features an eight-SDI input de-embed I/O unit that is twice as powerful as Calrec's previous-generation product.

Mark Haden, MLB Network VP of engineering and IT, said the Omega console is ideally suited to live production because it's so easy to configure on the fly. In addition, the Hydra network streamlines the entire system by enabling the two consoles and all of its inputs to share resources. The Systems Group of Hoboken, NJ, helped install the equipment.

From Secaucus, the MLB Network is linked by fiber to the 30 MLB ballparks as well as to league offices and MLB Advanced Media, which oversees the organization’s Web site. IP control over signal routing, camera control and server operation integrates the parks and the network production control rooms.

“Because the de-embedding boxes are incorporated, the Hydra eliminates the need for external de-embedding sources,” Haden said, “which saves us substantial money on equipment and reduces our cable count.”

During the baseball season, the network’s signature show will be "MLB Tonight," a live nightly studio show that will feature live look-ins on games in progress, updates, highlights, reporting and analysis.

Calrec's Omega audio console, equipped with Bluefin High Density Signal Processing, allows 160 channel-processing paths to be managed on a single DSP card. The Omega incorporates eight 5.1 surround, stereo or mono audio groups; 20 auxiliary outputs (which can be 20 mono or 10

stereo); and 48 outputs for multitrack or general-purpose feeds. Calrec's new eight-SDI input unit extracts up to 128 channels of synchronous or asynchronous embedded audio from as many as eight HD/SD streams, making these channels available to all consoles on the Hydra network.