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Expanding Horizons: Inside MLSound’s Networking Approach For Large-Event Audio

Behind the scenes with the systems supporting Tony Robbins' “Unleash the Power Within” event at the 23,500-capacity United Center.

The Robbins Research International production manager also expressed his approval with the speed of the load-in and load-out.

“We’re now show-ready in two days rather than the three days that are allocated to us,” Slazak states. “Our load-out times average between two and three hours with 105 speakers in the air and 42 speakers on the ground.”

Onto Something

A Tony Robbins show is an intense, three-day-long workout for everyone involved. From an audio perspective, what matters most is delivering with high intelligibility the words Robbins is speaking.

“Comments were immediately made by both of the A1s as well as the production manager that it is was the best Tony’s mic has ever sounded to date, with no noise floor,” Slazas says. “The video crew noticed an immediate quality change and commented to the production manager, which in turn made its way back to us. If video tape ops noticed the audio quality and comment about it, you know you’re onto something.”

MLSound’s Dante-based system has performed solidly throughout two years of steady use, with the team reporting no glitches or failures. Slazas, Scherban and Stygar take it as another indicator of where the AV world is heading – with IP technology at the forefront for control and transport, experiences can be created with less effort and higher reliability.

Slazas adds that none of his crew need to be “IT experts” to make the system perform optimally.

“It [the system] is just off-the-shelf IT equipment combined with some basic IT practices to configure the switches,” he says. “I think the folks at Audinate have done a great job with the protocol, making it easy to configure systems. There aren’t really any hoops to jump through, it’s all straightforward. But it’s all very much IT. I think people who aren’t adapting to some of this newer technology are going to end up left behind.”

Looking forward, MLSound is exploring expanded use of Dante in various ways, including the addition of AVIO adapters to reclaim legacy non-networked gear. Another possible direction is employing Dante Domain Manager for larger fixed installations demanding user-based security and more advance routing capabilities.


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