Several years ago, when NEP Broadcasting began its search for a new audio distribution system to replace its audio-over-fiber gear, the company discovered the Aviom Pro64 Series audio networking system. NEP provides teleproduction services for live sports and entertainment events, and it needed more up-to-date technology that could be counted on to withstand the harsh environments sometimes experienced when providing mobile broadcast facilities for sporting events such as racing, football and golf.
Temperature, humidity and rough handling are common challenges in the field, and the company needed a system that could perform under these conditions. The networked solution also had to feature built-in fiber interfaces, high-quality mic preamps, good signal-to-noise ratio and overall audio quality, along with ample headroom and scalability. Aviom was that solution and, with the Aviom Pro64 audio network, NEP has been developing custom solutions for leading broadcasting networks and organizations ever since.
From Aviom's very first demo for NEP, it was clear the company took client needs into consideration. In fact, when it first introduced the Pro64 technology as a potential fit, it didn't have a fiber solution. But, the company listened to concerns and quickly developed a component that integrated fiber optic connectivity. Aviom paid a lot of attention, and it was obvious it was serious about its products and backing up its system. From the CEO to the design engineers and the sales team, it provided on-site support until everything was dialed in.
Audio on location
For complex applications such as racing events, NEP uses the networks to connect production trucks, talent and on-track mics. Using MH10f Merger Hubs, remote racks, the announcer booth, studio and production truck are all connected on site via fiber. Audio inputs are divided across independent sub-networks, and program audio and IFB can be integrated if desired.
At the heart of the remote racks is the 6416m Mic Input Module. These remote controllable mic preamps are placed at various locations around the track, field or location, along with an MH10f Merger Hub. The Merger Hub connects each remote rack to the production truck or trucks via fiber, allowing for long runs. In some cases, 6416o v.2 Output Modules are also placed in remote racks for audio out to talent ear pieces and the crew's intercom headsets, etc.
In production trucks, MH10f Merger Hubs provide a fiber interface to the remote racks. 6416o v.2s and 6416dio modules are used for analog or digital outputs to the console. RCI Remote Control Interfaces and MCS Mic Control Surfaces are used in the trucks to remotely control the 6416m units located in the remote racks. All gear within each rack is connected with Cat-5 interconnects.
Multiple points, more control
This setup, which can accommodate as many locations as needed, enables the ability to run multiple control points, allowing production audio and effects audio mixers to have control over their particular networks as audio is acquired and picked off from multiple points on the system.
In all, the network has been well-received by clients and audio engineers alike. The fact that the system is easily scalable makes it simple for NEP to go from events with relatively small systems, like football or golf events, to large systems for more complex events such as racing, where every piece of Aviom gear that NEP owns is combined.
Joseph Signorino is senior project engineer/mobile unit engineering manager for NEP Supershooters LP.
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