Blitz's Chris Jordan (left) with chief sound engineer Rob Faulkner
UK - Long a staple part of recording and broadcast applications, in recent years Multichannel Audio Digital Interface - MADI - has become an integral part of many live productions. Ensuring that live engineers have the right diagnostic tools to interrogate MADI streams is therefore becoming increasingly important, which is why Blitz GES is the first live production company to invest in the Bel Digital BM-A2-64MADI, MADI monitor.

London-based Blitz GES is one of the UK's leading technical production companies as well as being the in-house technical event partner at London's ExCel and Olympia venues, the Birmingham NEC and Manchester Central convention complex. Servicing a wide array of high profile events, it's important that Blitz GES engineers have the best equipment to ensure the smooth running of every project.

Having experienced some MADI compatibility issues between devices, Blitz GES head of sound and theatre Chris Jordan contacted Craig Lovell of the Bel Digital Group, knowing the company's reputation for manufacturing ultra-high specification audio/video equipment.

Craig recommended the Bel MADI monitor, a 2u rackmount audio/status monitor which enables auditioning of MADI channels without the need to connect to external routers or audio consoles. The first device to provide engineers with the diagnostic tools necessary to interrogate MADI streams and view the status of embedded channels, it accepts both optical and co-axial MADI feeds and features audible and visual monitoring of each channel.

Fully compatible with 96kHz, 88.2kHz, 48kHz and 44.1kHz sample rates, the monitor is also compatible with both the legacy SMUX and High Speed MADI protocols.

"We demonstrated the Bel MADI monitor to Chris by conducting a test with several MADI devices and it immediately flagged up a variety of issues," says Craig. "We contrasted the difference between what was coming out of the optical feed with what was coming from the coaxial feed. They immediately saw the benefit of the unit because they could see what the MADI flags were doing. It was the ideal diagnostic tool for their particular issues."

Within a week of the demonstration, Blitz GES had placed an order. The unit was delivered just before Christmas and it has been in almost constant use since.

While Bel's BM-A2-64MADI is an established tool in the broadcast market, this was the first order specifically for live sound applications.

"We use a fair amount of MADI and the Bel MADI monitor is an extremely useful diagnostic tool," says Chris. "For the first time, we now have a troubleshooting option which can operate across all of our MADI systems. When we have issues, we can interrogate the MADI stream to see where they are and sort them out far more quickly than was possible before."

(Jim Evans)

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