Visual Horizon Communications (VHC), a full-service staging company, recently completed a year-long upgrade to Dante-compatible technology with a significant purchase of Dante equipment from Studio Technologies. The new equipment package included eight Model 45DR Dante to 2-Channel Party-Line Intercom Interfaces, one Model 5202 Dante to Phones & Line Output Interface and one Model 214 Announcer's Console.
VHC provides the lighting, sound and video for a variety of meetings and live events for corporations and other clients, including 3M, Best Buy, General Mills, Target and Macy's. They will use the new Studio Technologies' equipment to support crew communications, stage announcement, and audio for video monitoring functions.
"Our goal was to get our whole production, including the intercom lines, from front-of-house to the stage, on two quad fibers," says Paul Smith, audio engineer at VHC. "We had been running analog lines for intercoms, but now we are placing two 45DR units at each end-at the stage and at front-of-house-and we're piggybacking our four channels of RTS intercom down a secondary Ethernet network."
Adopting Dante for the intercoms eliminated a cable run for VHC and streamlined its whole front-of-house system. Four Ethernet networks carry audio, intercom, lighting and video which save setup time and reduce shipping weight. "Studio Technologies' Dante-compatible devices allowed me to build my own custom fiber transport rack," says Smith. "And it is all just over a regular IP network, plug-and-play, and that is crucial to us."
VHC has also deployed a Studio Technologies Model 214 Announcer's Console for live announcements. Besides offering excellent flexibility through its Dante connectivity, full electrical isolation is provided, minimizing the chance of audio hum or noise being generated. "That alone is worth it to me," says Smith. "I can drop that mic anywhere and connect to it with just one cat 5. I can also send to it if I have a stage manager that needs to monitor the show."
In addition, VHC is using a Studio Technologies' Model 5202 Dante to Phones & Line Output Interface in a backstage audio confidence/monitoring application. "It fits right into the whole system and provides me with two essential outputs," adds Smith. "The first I use as a backstage monitor and the second I make into a pre-fade video output so that it is always 'hot' on the playback pro computers used by the video crew."
Purchasing the Studio Technologies Dante-compatible equipment is the last major step of a technology upgrade that began about one year ago with the purchase of a Dante-compatible Yamaha desk. Since then, Dante-compatible equipment has found its way into most of the company's event production chain.
"Learning about and installing this Studio Technologies' Dante-compatible equipment has renewed my enthusiasm," Smith concludes. "It was a challenge for an old dog sound guy with many new things to learn, but almost daily, when we're just chatting in the shop, we come up with new ways to do things based on the simplicity of the technology. It made us rethink a lot of how we are doing things and better ways to do them, and the sound quality is better, too. We're never worried about noise, labor costs are lowered, and we are overall more efficient."
About Studio Technologies, Inc.
Studio Technologies, Inc. provides tailored, high-performance video, audio and fiber optic products for the professional audio and broadcast markets. Founded in 1978, the company is committed to designing and manufacturing dependable, high-performance solutions for broadcast studio, stadium and corporate environments. Known for "designing for the way professionals work," the company is recognized as an industry leader. Product categories include fiber-optic transport, intercom and IFB interfaces, announcer consoles, and loudspeaker monitor control systems. For more information, please visit the Studio Technologies website at www.studio-tech.com or call 847.676.9177.