Optocore on parade at Oman Tattoo

Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Optocore on parade at Oman TattooThe Oman Military Tattoo at the Al Fateh Stadium, Muscat
Oman - The Oman Tattoo is held every five years and is unquestionably the biggest event for the Oman government. So when Wizcraft entrusted Sound.Com to provide the complete sound design and equipment after the company's successful work at the Commonwealth Games, they prepared to ship two containers of audio equipment on their maiden voyage overseas - including a full Optocore fibre optic system.

"This time we provided total audio solutions and not just engineering solutions as we did in the past," states the company's managing director, Warren Dsouza "That is why this event goes down as a milestone and Sound.Com's first international show."

With all the experience gained from the Commonwealth Games, it was a matter of successfully redeploying a winning formula for the sound design at the Al Fateh Stadium. System integrators Sunil Karanjikar and Warren D'souza knew that their biggest challenge - to manage over 56 wireless channels, with 16 gun mics across the periphery of the ground, with a lot of audio patching and routing - would only be possible using Optocore, which they describe as one of the most revolutionary fibre optic transport mechanisms for audio and control.

"We therefore built four node racks consisting of Optocore equipment on the field of play to drag and drop audio signals in any permutation and combination. We were able to do this as we ran all the audio digitally across the entire stadium and also had analogue back-up system in place too." The components they used were Optocore's new DD32R network interface, X6R-FX (16 mic in) flexible converters and DD2FE digital I/O MADI interface.

The objective of Sound.Com's network engineer Jason Macwan, was to have remote control and monitoring of every key piece of equipment. He used an entire network of HP Procurve L2 managed switches with multimode GBIC ports to remotely control all microphones, in-ears, APC UPS management, Harman's System Architect and Dolby Lake controllers. "This level of control was pivotal to the success of this project as we were not given any walkie talkie access to work in the field," stated D'souza.

All the Optocore audio and HP ProCurve control signals were transported on custom made six-core multimode fibre optic cables. "As we wired the entire system we just shook our heads as to how this would be possible on regular copper cable for audio, and Cat 5 cable for control. The stadium runs were so long that we even had two fibre cables as long as 500m across the huge Al Fateh Stadium."

The field of play loudspeakers were a combination of JBL VerTec and VRX, driven by Crown and LabGruppen amplifiers. They also provided coverage of the Royal Box - with further JBL speakers hidden into the flower beds as the Royal Oman Police did not want any loudspeakers visible to His Majesty.

"No matter how much we speak about the technology it's the team of people that makes the difference to a project such as this," says D'souza. "We would also like to thank Viraf Sarkari, Andre Timmins, Aman Anand and Team Wizcraft who had faith in our ability to deliver a great show."

(Jim Evans)

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