Symetrix' SymNet in Reser Stadium

Thursday, 22 December 2005

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USA - The sheer physical size and scope of the modern athletic venue, combined with the demand to accommodate high-end, simultaneously distributed, on-demand audio and video needs of multiple user groups, can test the installation skills of the most seasoned AV systems integrators.

Delta Systems Integration was selected to implement a new AV system at Reser Stadium. Though Delta's integration expertise and experience working in the stadium market was essential to installing the facility's new sound system, one tool, a networked digital sound management system from Symetrix Audio, made the task far simpler.

The Dallas consulting firm, WJHW, specified the DSP-based SymNet networkable, modular audio mixing, routing and processing system in their initial design. As the entire AV concept for the stadium hinged on flexibility, pinpoint control and sound quality reliability, a traditional analogue system was out of the question.

"Essentially, the SymNet system allowed us to create a routing network, without having to runs tons of copper," says Delta sales engineer Jeff Overbo. Working in conjunction with WJHW, Delta determined that SymNet had a distinct edge over other competing digital management products.

One element that stood out was the ability to tie all of the SymNet hardware, configured in separate rings, together via CobraLink hardware, which enables the sending and receiving of audio and control data from one ring to another. With the CobraLink units, audio processing and control performed inside the SymNet units is distributed over CobraNet, the peak audio multi-channel protocol for routing high-quality uncompressed audio over a standard Ethernet network, using off-the-shelf networking components and cables.

"Another reason we selected SymNet was because of a protocol they use called SymLink. This is a 64-channel digital audio and control data bus allowing different SymNet boxes to 'talk' to each other without going outside the digital domain," says Craig Conner, Delta's chief engineer. "That allows you to keep latency in DSP processing and delays way down, improving the ability to traverse long distances over fibre-optic cable with minimal signal loss."

Utilising 20 SymNet hardware units - six 8x8s, six BreakIn12s, and nine BreakOut12s - Delta set up six SymNet rings in various locations. Each ring was complemented with a CobraLink unit. The result was an ability to set up a virtual network configuration, in which Hewlett-Packard ProCurve high-speed network switchers controlled two separate networks, one for CobraLink-based management of digital audio between network nodes, the other for managing system control and monitoring.

Audio processing and control is routed through the SymNet rings via CobraNetto multiple areas of the stadium complex. "All signals are split, digitised and distributed through CobraNet, and once on the network can be taken off at a variety of different areas," Overbo says."SymNet can also be used as a digital snake to allow for patch bays to be set up, allowing audio to be sent out and picked up in a variety of different places in the stadium.

"Back in the old days before digital audio we would have had to run mic lines from the broadcast production area to the control console," he recalls. "That would have been a real challenge due to the distances involved. CobraNet brings the ability to insert a signal anywhere on the network and have it distributed anywhere else."

"Thanks to SymNet, the university stadium has state-of-the-art digital audio," says Delta president, Mark Gottwig. "We were able to calibrate all of the equipment in a very short period of time, and the sound that the system ended up producing was excellent. The client is very happy with the system."

(Chris Henry)

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