New Announce Booth Is a Network Node

Broadcast sports audio is moving to a networked environment. The big picture is coming from proprietary propositions like Dante, open protocols like Audio-Video Bridging (AVB), and long-time standards like CobraNet. But what’s also happening is that the migration to networks is creating opportunities in which individual nodes appear in the form of new network-ready products.

That’s the model for Lance Design’s just-out-of-beta ADX-120 Ethernet announce box. Used in conjunction with the company’s ADX-2400 networked audio-distribution unit, the ADX-120 creates a comprehensive fiber-based announce-booth system that can be plugged in on the fly and set up and ready to go in nearly any environment in less than 30 minutes.

“We’re using IT-based networking and fiber, which is a little unusual in [the remote-broadcast-truck] environment for this purpose,” says company owner Bill Lance. “We’re leveraging the lower cost of IT hardware for transport of the audio signal.”

The ADX-series products use low-latency–mode CobraNet protocol to transmit high-resolution audio on Ethernet networks and provide all typical announce-booth functions over standard Ethernet, either fiber or copper.

Lance says the ADX-2400 units have been in operation for four years and have been used extensively for such sports telecasts as the Super Bowl, U.S. Open golf, and X Games. The ADX-120 has been used in beta test for several months by Steve Fisher, an A1 on the NCAA regional games, who enabled the system for German broadcaster ARD at the Super Bowl.

He says he has been able to replace the conventional DT-12 12-channel, 36-pin connector snake with the ADX system over Ethernet. “The system sets up in as little as 15 minutes, and we’re running everything over a single piece of Cat 5, or fiber for runs longer than 300 ft., instead of two long runs of DT-12.”

The advantages, he notes, include mic preamps with remote gain control and clean-sounding IFBs and party lines. Four-wire-to-two-wire conversion is built into each box so that there is no need for external converters. Setup is very fast and simple, he says: “It’s like plugging in a telephone.” He used the ADX-120 on Game Creek trucks for an ACC basketball tournament last week.

One ADX-2400 in the truck supports up to four ADX-120 announce boxes. Each box provides the standard headset mic and two-channel IFB, an additional XLR mic input and second two-channel IFB, which may be RTS-format wet (26 V DC) or dry (audio signal only), and a two-channel wet RTS-format party-line intercom circuit. Buttons on the top of the unit control headset-mic mute and two talkback circuits; also on the panel are headset volume controls.

Power for the ADX-120s is supplied over the Ethernet cable. The network can be branched for additional locations just as simply as a standard LAN, and a Gigabit network can support up to 100 of the ADX-120 announce boxes.

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