Announcer’s Consoles and Audio Interface Deliver Clean-cut Audio and Flexibility for Broadcasts Streamed to National Networks
Southern Methodist University (SMU) basketball’s production team, MustangVision, has been streaming its games to ESPN Plus and utilizes two Studio Technologies Model 214 Announcer’s Consoles in its basketball arena, Moody Coliseum, as well as a Model 46A Intercom Interface, located in the central control room on the fifth floor of the football field, Ford Stadium.
SMU more recently started broadcasting to ESPN Linear, including ESPN+, ESPN2 and ESPNU, and the production team was required to support more strenuous technical demands. With the new plan to stream to these national networks, one of the main challenges MustangVision faced was that the ESPN Linear network had additional redundancy requirements for on-air talent audio over what they were currently deploying. After turning to Digital Resources, a premier full-service AV integration company that MustangVision had previously worked with, MustangVision chose the Model 204 Announcer’s Console as the solution.
“We had to figure out the redundancies and make sure we had the appropriate equipment on hand,” says Spencer Jones, Director of MustangVision, SMU Athletics. “Digital Resources recommended we once again turn to Studio Technologies since we were already familiar with their products. While the Model 214 was not in stock, due to COVID-related delays at the time, they did have the Model 204 available. Stock availability continues to be a factor in spec’ing and acquiring equipment, and we are grateful that Studio Technologies took the time to find us a comparable solution for our application. Once we had the product in our hands, we realized it had everything we needed.”
The majority of the production is managed through the Dante Network, which is why the team relies heavily on the Model 214 Announcer Consoles. “There are 36 strands of fiber between the two venues. From there, we fiber interconnect to network switches, and once we established a Dante network, we were able to easily plug it in and see it,” says Jones. “With the Model 214s, and now the Model 204, we were able to get everything ready to go within 30 minutes of the product being here with us. We plugged it in, already saw it on the network, configured it up, and then our audio guys started assigning it channels. One cable, one headset and we’re done. As long as it’s on the Dante network, I can see it anywhere. It was pretty seamless and straightforward.”
In addition to using the Model 204 as a backup, the product has been put to direct use several times. An example of this is for a quick post-game interview; the SMU team can now do that directly from the desk. Ease of use for the production team has been a major selling point but the team is also impressed with some other standout features of Studio Technologies’ equipment, including the quality of audio and the products’ durability. “The products are just rock-solid – it’s extremely rigid, very rugged,” says Jones. “Even the intercom is robust, solid, and easy to work with. As far as the audio, the quality has always been clean; I never have any ground hums or other issues.”
While the Studio Technology gear is currently only utilized to stream the school’s volleyball and basketball games, the production team hopes to extend that same workflow to the upcoming seasons of their other athletic teams. “We’re eventually planning on using these same devices for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, as well as for football,” concludes Jones.
Studio Technologies is now shipping an upgraded version of the Model 214. Named the Model 214A, it offers the same audio quality and features as the original but with the added benefit of being fully configurable using STcontroller, Studio Technologies’ software application. Available for use with the Windows® and macOS® operating systems, STcontroller eliminates the need to use of “DIP” switches or LED indicators to configuration the unit’s extensive set of resources.
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