Stagetec Nexus at the NBA Finals, Part 1
Sep 27, 2011 11:01 AM, With Bennett Liles
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The American Airlines Arena in Dallas was packed for this year’s NBA Finals and it was Stagetec’s Nexus network carrying the broadcast signals to ESPN and all of the OB trucks in the arena compound. Stagetec president Russell Waite is here to give us the details on how Nexus works and how it was set up for the big NBA show. Coming up next on the SVC Podcast.
Rusty, thanks for being here for the SVC Podcast from Stagetec. Tell me a little about Stagetec. I know the company is doing a lot of things over here now and it isn’t the first time we’ve had Stagetec featured. We did a talk on the opera, Aida on the Rhine in Switzerland a while back using Stagetec gear and networking, but tell me about the company.
Stagetec was formed in ’93. It’s based out of Berlin, Germany. It’s actually formed from a bunch of engineers that actually originated at Neumann and then joined with a team from Salzbrenner and hence, the Salzbrenner Stagetec media group. And in ’93 first launched with the digital audio routing platform, the Nexus, which is what we’re talking about today. We’ll get into a little bit more of the specifics in a while. Over the beginning years for Stagetec focus was mainly within Germany and then from there they grew into Europe wide and I would say in the past decade have definitely been concentrating on expanding into other markets such as Asia, India, and also now here in the US and to bring the message out and to build on the success in Germany and in Europe. At Stagetec we build digital audio routers—that was really how it started and that’s the Nexus system. That’s our flagship product and from there we built control consoles that hook up with the Nexus…so digital audio consoles and that started with the Cantus line back in ’94-95 and then moved up to the RS Crescendo which is what we currently have in our product line up. [Timestamp: 2:26]
And you got a real road test of the networking setup this summer at the NBA finals, not exactly a low profile event, to test the Nexus network. And that was broadcast from the American Airlines Arena in Dallas?
Yeah, that was a mix between Dallas and Miami so we actually had setups in both cities for the games and I was actually physically in Dallas and running the systems. It’s interesting, not a lot of people know that we’ve actually had a Nexus system at ESPN, both in Bristol and in L.A., in fact their whole facility is networked together through Nexus so all the audio in the plants goes through the Nexus system. And what’s interesting with the NBA Finals and what I’ve been actually working on the last two to three years is the remote sports broadcast and the Nexus I find is, being fiber-based and having the modularity that it does, is really a product suited for the mobile industry and I think being part of the NBA finals is really something that was great for us and it really brought it up and proved to be a very reliable system and a great sounding system and I thinks that some of the feedback that we got and took away from the event. It’s just generally very great to part of it all and to show people how to connect systems together such as a Nexus and that can really alleviate on the work load that some of these guys have when they get to these shows. [Timestamp: 3:54]
Probably the most brutal environment for hardware and crew people is in doing sports remotes and there was a lot of Stagetec hardware at the site. And bringing the audio sources to the network were the TrueMatch mic preamps.
Yeah, it’s interesting you say…the network, when we talk about it, is quite vast. So on a remote sports program obviously you have the event and you need to bring whatever signals where…let’s take basketball for instance, you have to bring the court mics, the crowd mics, the announcers mics which were all going through the Nexus TrueMatch and then back—you bring that then back to the compound where all the trucks are located and then in an event such as the NBA Finals you have several broadcasters there so you have to be feeding to multiple different providers, really, so we not only do the networking on the courtside and bringing all those sources to the end but then we can network the sub mix and also all the raw data to all the different trucks throughout the compound and I think that’s where the Nexus through its distributed architecture really excels and again, as I’ve said before, facilitates the job of the A2 not having to roll out all the multi-core cable and actually makes life a lot easier with fiber. Fiber is really lightweight—there is no need to bring another truck porting just all the heavy multi-core cable from city to city. [Timestamp: 5:19]
And probably all of the potential ground loops and induction and RF interference you don’t have to worry about.
Obviously there’s no interference from power…as you were saying, ground loops—none of that¬–when you’re using fiber it’s great and we even use CWDM technology which enables us to put both the transmit and the receive fibers sends into one strand. So that’s great when you’ve got a bunch of TAC-12s or TAC-4s lying around and you want to share it with video. So we take one fiber strand for the main and one for the redundant feeds. When you look at these remote sports events and the reasons that they get out there so early because there’s just so many signals having to go to so many different places and you really need to be on top on how all of this stuff is patched together. [Timestamp: 6:1]
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