Studio Focus: Channel 9 Adelaide
The Channel 9 station in Adelaide was recently relocated from north of the city to the CBD. Upping and moving a TV station is a hefty undertaking, as you’d expect, and quite a bit more complicated than rewiring the patchbay of a recording studio. Steve Delmenico, Broadcast Operations Manager at Channel 9 Melbourne, headed up the build of the new Adelaide studio, with Soundcorp doing the heavy lifting. It involved the integration of a Dante audio network to connect a number of rooms and input sources throughout the facility.
While other networking options like MADI were on the cards, Delmenico says Dante best suited the station’s needs because of its larger network capacity and redundancy system. The nerve centre of the system is the Yamaha CL5 console, chosen partly for its out-of-the-box Dante compatibility.
A TV station deals with multiple audio sources that come mostly from very different locations; eg. video servers, the news studio floor, other in-house studios, Skype computers, OB vehicles, satellite links, RF links, in-house telephones and so on. By consolidating all audio streams onto a single IP-based network (like Dante) within the station, you can easily configure any input to any destination using software — no need to run a kilometre of copper cabling throughout the building.
Not just Dante-enablement, the Yamaha CL5 was also an attractive option for its automation capability and compact size. All 64 channels of the CL5’s I/O come from the Dante network, with installation of Yamaha’s MY16 card providing an additional 16 ins and outs. The audio network itself is static. The star configuration means all devices come off the same Cisco switch, allowing for the lowest latency. The CL5’s main task is to mix down relevant audio inputs for the local news bulletin going to air twice a day, seven days a week. The company is familiar with the brand, with Channel 9’s Sydney station already successfully employing a Yamaha digital console for news.
In the broadcast world, redundancy is everything — the last thing anyone wants is a failure without a backup. One of Dante’s great drawcards is the ability to run simultaneous ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ systems as a backup method. Channel 9 bought two Yamaha CL5s which run in parallel; one for main and one for backup.
So why was the console’s size a deciding factor? Typically, the backup console is a much smaller, bare-bones rig compared to the main system. But thanks to the CL5’s compact size, two identical consoles comfortably sit in the same control room — so if the main console fails, the operator has to slide a chair five feet sideways to operate the identical redundancy system on the mirrored secondary Dante network.
Two Dante cards installed on the station’s internal RTS comms matrix allow IFB and other audio to enter the Dante network, which is converted on the studio floor by Yamaha analogue I/O boxes to allow communication between those on the matrix, eg. presenters, directors, producers and talent. MADI-to-Dante bridges pass MADI audio from frame stores onto the Dante network. A separate IP network provides device control, allowing central software control over everything from the preamps in the studio to the 10 Sennheiser radio mic receivers (via WSM).