Mountlake Terrace, WA (December 22, 2005)–Delta Systems Integration, a Portland, OR-based integrator recently implemented a completely new AV system at Reser Stadium, the newly remodeled home of the Oregon State University football team in Corvallis. 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.
This tool helped ensure that the Beavers’ home was as ready presentation-wise for the 2005 season as the team was for its gridiron challenge. The consulting firm of WJHW out of Dallas, TX 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 delivering total flexibility, pinpoint control and sound quality reliability, a traditional analog system was out of the question.
“Essentially, the SymNet system allowed us to create a routing network, without having to runs tons of copper,” said Delta sales engineer Jeff Overbo. Working in conjunction with WJHW, Delta determined that SymNet had a distinct edge over other competing digital management products.
“Though we weren’t responsible for the actual product selection, we’ve worked successfully with SymNet in prior installations,” said Craig Conner, Delta’s chief engineer. “We knew it would be both a money-saving and technologically superior solution, as well as a better fit for the scenario we were facing than that of another manufacturer under consideration. SymNet was chosen mainly for its superior architecture.”
One element of that architecture stood out–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.
“Another reason we selected SymNet was because of a protocol they use called SymLink,” Conner said. “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. That allows you to keep latency in DSP processing and delays way down, improving the ability to traverse long distances over fiber optic cable with minimal signal loss.”
Utilizing 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.
“As stated before, SymNet was perfect for this installation due to its internal busing system,” said Overbo. “At each node in the network we didn’t need multiple ports on a network switch, so we were able to use a smaller network switch and manage the system in a much easier fashion than had we had to employ a huge network switch. Since the SymNet boxes are able to talk to each other and transmit digital audio at their own bus at the network nodes it saved us from having to go design a complex and expensive network.”
Audio processing and control is routed through the SymNet rings via CobraNet to multiple areas of the stadium complex. “All signals are split, digitized and distributed through CobraNet, and once on the network can be taken off at a variety of different areas,” Overbo said. Destinations include suites, broadcast areas and refreshment locations in the concourses. “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.”
Analog signals enter the digital distribution network via a Crest X8, 32-channel mixing console. Sources include broadcast trucks that have tie lines into CobraNet, as well as a separate building in the end zone area that houses broadcast production suites.
“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 recalled. “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. By having the audio distributed on a network you can set up a home base and attack the system from a central location.”
For Delta, the project represented the company’s most extensive experience working with SymNet. Although they have installed other SymNet systems, none have involved as many hardware units or covered as large an area as Reser Stadium.
“Thanks to SymNet, the university stadium has state-of-the-art digital audio,” said 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.”