Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium—the tenth largest on-campus football stadium in the NCAA—is now home to the largest HD video board in college sports. Designed, built and installed by Daktronics, in Brookings, S.D., this massive 197×57 square foot LED video display is accompanied by equally impactful high-quality sound, delivered over IP by a Dante audio network from Audinate.
Daktronics worked on the project for Auburn University—a prominent public research university with over 27,000 students. With this $14 million infrastructure upgrade, this Auburn, Alabama venue—known officially as Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium—was rated as the number one game day experience in a recent independent survey of Southeastern Conference (SEC) college fans.
When Auburn Tigers fans fill the stadium’s 87,451 seats, they can’t miss the multi-camera, multi-source HD video show playing above the south end of the field. Importantly, the new Dante audio network outperforms the previous analog distribution configuration in its ability to deliver an exciting and engaging audio-visual experience.
“Dante is next-generation digital audio networking technology,” says David Sturzenbecher (CTS-I), Audio Project Engineer for Daktronics. While Daktronics distributes most of its display products via a dealer network, it directly handles all of the systems integration involved with its massive video displays, including the sound systems.
“We use Dante on roughly 60 to 70 percent of our big-screen installations because it’s extremely flexible, scalable, and configurable,” Sturzenbecher says. “Its seamless interoperability between components makes it easy to expand existing installations.” Auburn University is already planning an upgrade to its stadium’s north end zone stands, including the addition of another big-screen LED video display.
Centralized in an audio control room in the stadium’s press box, the Dante network allows a single audio operator to manage a wide array of inputs from CD players, microphones and more used by the announcers, referees, and musical performers. Dante also routes audio over IP from a Midas mixing console in Auburn University’s video control room, a half-mile up the road from the stadium.
All control room game day audio elements interface with a Dante-enabled Yamaha RIO (Rack Input Output) 3224-D unit, which supports 32 inputs x 16 outputs. These signals are centrally monitored and controlled from a 64-channel Yamaha CL5 digital audio mixing console—equipped with native Dante capability—in the stadium’s audio control room.
Working in tandem with Dante-compatible networking components, the CL5 delivers the audio signals to the DSP units around the stadium. The BSS London-BLU-806 digital signal processors, convert various analog and digital audio signals to the digital format required for transmission over the Dante network, as well as performing venue routing and equalization. The Dante network also utilizes six London BLU-326 processors, which accept Dante signals and decode them to AES-EBU for the public address system, monitors and loudspeakers.
“The London BLU-806 essentially acts as the brains of the network because it does the majority of the processing. It takes in Dante streams from the mixing console, performs the processing and then routes the audio throughout the various locations, such as the press box, loudspeakers, delay speakers and other network destinations,” says Sturzenbecher. “Not having signal routing limitations was a definite advantage on this stadium installation. With Dante, we get the same quality audio signal out that we put in, even at the end of 2000 feet of fiber.”
From the control computer’s touchscreen, the operator can control the volume and other quality attributes of every audio signal and device on the Dante network.
“With the wide range of Dante-compatible components available on the market today—such as the Yamaha CL5 mixer, London BLU-806 and 326 processors—we’re able to create a powerful, entertaining sound presentation that beautifully complements our big-screen video experience,” he says. “By following standard networking protocol, Dante’s smart design makes complex audio over IP networking relatively simple.”
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