BAFTA award-winning Sound Supervisor Conrad Fletcher adds DirectOut Prodigy.MX routing matrix for MADI routing and AoIP management
Hemel Hempstead, UK – The MixBus is a large-format location recording and outside broadcast truck designed for professional live events mixing and recording.
Providing a range of production services throughout the UK and Europe, previous clients include Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, Later With Jools Holland and the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, as well as a number of high-profile state events such as the The Royal Wedding (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) and The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which Sound Supervisor Conrad Fletcher was awarded a BAFTA for.
As part of a recent expansion to the MixBus OB vehicle, the team decided to invest in the newly released DirectOut Prodigy.MX for MADI and AoIP routing and management.
“There’s so much you can do with it”
“In our world we require an amazing amount of redundancy,” Fletcher explains. “With often hundreds of millions of people watching a live televised event, there is no room for failure of any sort.
“Due to both the size and weight restrictions of a mobile recording truck, all of our equipment has to be as light and space efficient as possible. Not to mention being 100% reliable.
“The Prodigy.MX really seemed to fit the bill in that regard. But its capabilities actually extend a lot further than we’d originally planned to use it for, such as sample rate conversion and support for a range of IP formats.”
The DirectOut Prodigy.MX is a state-of-the-art modular routing matrix designed for professional live sound and broadcast applications. Its six modular I/O slots allow users to choose from a variety of digital audio connections to suit the demands of a project, with powerful routing capabilities controlled via the globcon control software.
A range of AoIP formats are supported alongside several options for MADI, which for many OB Trucks remains the protocol of choice due to its simplicity and robust nature.
“MADI remains a kind of universal standard between trucks – which often don’t require IP – with the main benefit being that MADI devices tend to require very little in the way of setup,” Fletcher explains.
“The truck has the capability to accept up to 18 MADI I/O streams. This forms the primary backbone of our infrastructure in terms of going in and out of the desk (a Studer Vista X), as well as going to recorders, stageboxes and other gear.
DirectOut’s range of modular cards includes the MADI4.IO card, which offers 4 x MADI connections on SFPs with optional SRC, allowing for sample rate conversion between multiple clock domains.
“Obviously with this amount of MADI we need a way to keep on top of all the routing, which is where the Prodigy.MX comes in. We opted for the HD-SRCs which are the hardware version, so we can have up to six cards in there with 4 x MADI SFPs per slot. The SFPs are a joy to use, as you can have any type of connector and swap them out if required – optical, BNC, micro-BNC, full-size BNCs, multimode, singlemode – anything you want!”
“Our previous SRC requirements took up 4U of space to achieve the same thing, and weighed in excess of 16 kg, along with all the wiring and power considerations. We’re now able to replace that in only 2U of rackspace without losing any of the functionality we had previously, plus there’s space for other interface cards.”
“Then there’s the globcon software, which gives you a sort of granular control of every audio channel and every port from the 1664 inputs available in the system, which is very handy if you’re working with large, complex setups.”
globcon and MADI Routing
Along with its extensive MADI capabilities, the DirectOut Prodigy.MX supports a number of popular audio networking formats such as Dante, Ravenna/AES67, MILAN/AVB and Waves Soundgrid.
“That’s another other thing which we hadn’t really envisaged,” Fletcher says. “A lot of the live-to-cinema events we cover are reliant on Dante, Ravenna, AVB etc
Previously we’d have to hire in various interfaces to convert these formats to MADI to bring it into the truck.
“But now with the Prodigy.MX, we can have Dante, AVB, even SoundGrid interfaces, slot them in the back, and we then have this option inside a 2U box without any extra infrastructure, no extra wiring – it’s a joy!”
For more information, visit: https://www.synthax.co.uk/directout/
About Synthax Audio UK
Synthax Audio (UK) Ltd. is the UK distributor for RME, Ferrofish, Calrec, Dynaudio, DirectOut, Appsys ProAudio, TIERRA Audio, and Lauten Audio Microphones.
Supplying and supporting a nationwide network of specialist pro audio resellers, Synthax Audio UK offers the highest level of service to its growing customer base in the broadcast, recording, production and live sound markets.
For more information please visit; www.synthax.co.uk