Riedel intercoms play larger role at NHL arenas, Versus Network

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Riedel Communications intercom systems are playing a larger role in NHL facilities as a number of arenas and Versus, the NHL’s top broadcast partner, have adopted Riedel Artist intercom systems. The partyline and matrixing systems range from 32×32 inputs and outputs to upwards of 128×128.

The NHL-related users include Madison Square Garden in New York City, Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix, HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA, and the Versus Network in Stamford, CT.

Mike Descoteau, Riedel Communications general manager, says the intercom capabilities have become increasingly important, especially as sporting events add more in-arena entertainment during games.

“These systems augment the entertainment aspects of the games, interfacing with walkie talkies and allowing the directors to talk down to everyone,” says Descoteau. “All sporting events have a growing entertainment element between periods or at halftime and communications is a crucial element.”

The HP Pavilion at San Jose arena tapped Pro Media/Ultrasound for the integration and implementation of the Artist Digital Matrix intercom system. One Artist 128 and one Artist 32 digital intercom matrix mainframe is acting as the heart of the installation, administering all audio and communication signal distribution throughout HP Pavilion’s indoor arena. The Artist platform is designed to interconnect multiple matrix frames (nodes) by a dual optical-fiber ring to form a single large, full summing, non-blocking distributed matrix for up to 1,024 users, providing a decentralized infrastructure for live audio and intercom applications and saving a considerable amount of wiring and installation costs.

According to Pro Media/Ultrasound’s Demetrius Palavos, “The flexibility that this system offers is second to none. Operators will be able to make changes to panels with a touch of a button that will allow them to be more efficient.”

The Artist platform features AES3/EBU broadcast-quality audio throughout the entire system, not only within the matrix but also to the panels, which are connected to the matrix via a standard AES3 signal on Coax or CAT5 cables. On top to the intercom application the Artist 1000 panels provide a second audio channel that can be used for audio transport or commentary applications. The panels also provide local GPI/Os which can be programmed system-wide. In addition, the dimmable alphanumeric 8-digit LED display keys of the Artist 1000 series control panels allow clear labeling of destinations and excellent readability under all lighting conditions.

“The system is simply flawless,” comments Greg Carrolan, technical director of the HP Pavilion. “This is the clearest communications system that we have used. The flexibility of programming; the clarity and quality of the communications system is just astonishing.”

Riedel Communications’ state-of-the-art Artist Digital Matrix Intercom System, as well as the company’s digital beltpack system Performer, is also being used at the VERSUS Network communications system in its new 18,000 square-foot HD production studio.

Descoteau says a major advantage of the system is its use of fiber, resulting in cost savings and a more intuitive system for end users to learn.

Kelly Fair of Riedel Communications adds that all audio signals are transported at AES-level audio. “Our competitors convert the signals from analog to digital as they pass through the cards while our system maintains integrity of AES audio without latency,” he explains.

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