Sound Media Upgrades PA Drive System with Optocore
Toronto ON, Canada - Event production company Sound Media in Hollywood, Florida has a 20 year history of providing sound, light and video services for live events of all shapes and sizes. As the needs of their clients become more complex, owner and operator Lennox Foster is constantly searching for the most innovative ways to improve his shows and service his clients. When it came time to update the drive system for his main PA rig, Lennox chose Optocore to simplify his set up and improve the sonic qualities of his productions.
Sound Media’s main production system includes 2 Digico SD10 consoles which use the onboard Optocore network links to connect to an SD Rack. The system processor for their PA feed is a Dolby Lake LM44 which they now have connected to an Optocore DD32R-FX. Foster had considered Optocore X6R’s that offered 8 and 16 channels of both analog or AES signals but elected to use the DD32R’s because of the units ability to transport 64 AES I/O which gives him more flexibility and an increased channel count for his system in the future.
The DD32R-FX at FOH is connected to two more DD32R-FXs at the stage via two redundant tactical fibre optic cables that ensure his PA feed will always be delivered. The two DD32Rs send main and back up AES to 18 Powersoft X4 and 9 K10 amplifiers as well as DSP control via the 100Mbit LAN connection created over the Optocore network. The amplifiers drive an impressive array of Turbosound speakers.
Lennox describes his goals for upgrading his system and what he accomplished as, “We chose Optocore based on consistent and robust performance, low latency, ease of use, open architecture and technical support. Our goal was to obtain improvement in sound system performance, reduction in cabling and expanded channel capacity. We have achieved improvement in audio quality; there is improvement in audio depth and detail resolution. We are able to use longer fiber runs and eliminate grounding issues between FOH and stage. We can now distribute and route AES to each amplifier which we could not do before”.
For the system’s first performance, it was deployed in the University of Miami’s Watsco Arena for the Tabernacle of Glory’s annual four day conference. A huge event that normally requires hours of set up time for both wiring and deploying the rig was significantly reduced by using Optocore. “We were surprised at the ease and flexibility of programming the Optocore system” says Foster. “The Optocore wasn’t scheduled to be used until October 2017 but after testing the units to demonstrate their capabilities it was decided to deploy the system in July of 2017 based on stability and consistent performance’”. At the event the Optocore system added additional subtle details and depth to the audio which was noticed by the client who remarked it as “outstanding”.
On large events like this one Sound Media is commonly tasked with providing additional feeds to production mobiles and in the past these last minute changes would have required running new cables. On this show there were both video and audio trucks and a video control location back stage. Lennox added, “It was always a challenge to route signal from FOH to the recording trucks’ location outside. Optocore allowed us to reduce the amount of cables running to these locations. We are able to route all audio via fiber. The FOH Left and Right PA feeds were routed to the video broadcast truck as a backup and the Audio Broadcast master channels were routed to the FOH system console as a PA backup”.
“Sound Media has made the innovating jump to offering a fully optical drive solution, which production companies are quickly starting to realize increases their systems performance and cuts down on their set up requirements” said Brandon Coons, Sales Manager for Optocore North America. “We look forward to working with Sound Media on shows of all sizes and by choosing Optocore Lennox and his team will have infinity possibilities for expansion.”