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3G Deploys Fiber Network For Long-Distance Signal Transport At Pope Francis Events In Mexico

AES signal for mains, subs, delays, and more delivered via Dante networking on fiber for widely distributed systems at multiple venues

By PSW Staff March 9, 2016

Pope Francis speaking at one of the events in Mexico where 3G Productions distributed audio via Dante/fiber optics to far-flung systems.

3G Productions (Las Vegas & Los Angeles) deployed a sizeable fiber network to carry long-distance live audio signal covering several zones for recent appearances by Pope Francis in Morelia and Juarez, Mexico.

The specific venues included the Jose Morelos Pavon Stadium and the Estadio Venustiano Carranza, a soccer stadium in Morelia, along with a park, Parque Publico Federal El Chamizal, and a small adjoining soccer park in Juarez just north of the U.S. border.

Shervorn “Shevy” Emmanuel, 3G system tech for the Morelia Pavon Stadium event, explains, “We had to cover the main stadium and a surround system in the parking lots for the crowd overflow and even though we had a total of 232 d&b (audiotechnik) boxes overall, the real challenge was signal distribution without loss or degradation over long distances.

“We created a drive system with switches at front of house which connected to other switches at the delays in the parking lots, the stadium, and stage left and stage right,” he continues. “Front of house was approximately 1,000 feet from the delays and 300 feet from the stage, and cable-wise, it would have been very difficult to devise an analog or AES method to distribute the audio; fiber was the best way to do it.”

The basic fiber network approach used by 3G consisted of running AES signal for the main PA, subwoofers, delay towers, stadium, stage left and right, and press areas from the house SSL L500 Plus console to a Lab.gruppen LM44 Lake processor, then all of the signals to a (Audinate) Dante audio-over-IP fiber network, to a Focusrite RedNet D16 to convert the signals back to AES for transmission to the d&b D80 amplifiers used in all of the systems. For all three events, SSL L500 consoles were used at house with DiGiCo SD10s for monitors.

“For the 39,000 in the stadium, the main system throw was about 600 feet,” Emmanuel notes. “Bottom line, wherever anyone was sitting, they had to hear every word the Pope and Cardinals were saying, not to mention a full orchestra that we were responsible for mixing as well. We couldn’t have pulled it off without the network.”

The loudspeaker configuration at Pavon Stadium consisted of two main hangs of 16 d&b J8 and J12s, two out fill hangs of 12 J8 and J12s, two in fill hangs of d&b Y Series, and three delay hangs with eight, four and four d&b J-Series respectively for a total of 96. Parking lots 1, 2 and 3 had 136 V-Series boxes to cover distances of 350, 250 and 200 feet respectively.

“The event went surprisingly well,” Emmanuel says. “We had very few technical issues and fiber was a big part of that. It’s a solid system, using the RedNet in tandem with the Lake Processors is very dependable, and it performed exceptionally well in the stadium. Everyone was ecstatic at the end. My direct contact, a systems engineer hired by the client, said, ‘Everything was flawless.’ He was very happy with every result we provided.”

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