SSL Provides IP Networked SDI Audio for FIFA Games in Mexico

Evident Productions recently provided consulting and infrastructure design for the 66th FIFA World Congress in Mexico City, specifying the flexible SSL Network I/O: SDI as the core component in the crucial broadcast infrastructure for embedding, de-embedding, and distribution, using a Dante Audio-Over-IP network as the source.

The SSL Network I/O: SDI has eight 3G-SDI paths with embedders and de-embedders for 16 audio channels, and provides bidirectional bridging between embedded SDI Audio, Dante, MADI (2 x optical, 1 x coax I/O), and AES. Features include channel-by-channel routing (via control application), comprehensive redundancy, and sample rate conversion to and from SDI.

Evident Productions founder Peter Blue was involved in significant system improvements for the FIFA Congress itself, as well as providing the feeds to over 20 international broadcast networks covering the event. The audio source was taken from the Dante Break Out connections on the Lake LM26 processors (connected to Front of House), and contained six different translations plus the main left and right house channels.

For Blue, specifying the Network I/O for this crucial role turned out to be more straight-forward than he had expected: “I needed to send every one of the translations simultaneously, via the HDSDI/Audio embed system, to all of the global satellite feeds as well as send the same signal to every in-house monitor across the entire venue. At the same time, and using the same HDSDI/Audio embed system, we needed to be able to handle any feeds coming in from SNG trucks which needed to be patched quickly and the audio split out to Front of House for mixing.  When I saw the SSL box I thought ‘wait a minute, this fits the bill for everything’. It does both the embedding and the de-embedding for different protocols simultaneously, and it’s taking care of the bridging from the audio side of things. 

The 66th FIFA World Congress games were recently held in Mexico City.

The 66th FIFA World Congress games were recently held in Mexico City.

“The real game changer for us though was working with multiple video formats simultaneously. All other embedders and de-embedders that we found that are currently on the market require you to choose one of only two or three ‘select’ resolutions and formats, regardless of what is being processed in or out of other manufacturers’ equipment. When we found out that we could embed audio in 1080i, 720p, and 480i, plus de embed audio coming into us on any format on the HDSDI stream, all at the same time, in the same device, that was the key point in our decision to specify the Network I/O SDI for this event, and to also make the investment in our inventory.”

The Network I/O: SDI was connected to the redundant Dante network and that audio was embedded into several video formats and passed onto the broadcasters. “Inside the Network I/O we were creating four different basic feeds,” says Blue, “...The house monitor and a broadcaster world view in three different flavours - 1080i, 720p, and 480i - just so that the trucks and uplinks could easily convert specifically for their own needs.

“The reason we did that on our side rather than just leaving it to the broadcast trucks was because audio delay can be much more easily resolved if you deal with it in the head part of the system, especially with a lot of spoken word and house feeds to deal with. As a result we had no delay problems whatsoever. The Broadcaster didn’t have to worry about timing issues at the truck.” 

The SSL Network I/O is available in four configurations; SDI, MADI, Stageboxes and AES.

The SSL Network I/O is available in four configurations; SDI, MADI, Stageboxes and AES.

Blue notes that as well as the extensive local redundancy measures in the Network I/O: SDI, the multi-format (MADI fibre and Dante) I/O options on the box can help provide another level of whole system redundancy simply by connecting both to the source “This box can speak different languages as well as providing not just its own redundancy features, but robust back-up alternatives that can be important if you get a system wide failure on one format for some reason. It doesn’t leave your system dead because of something that may be out of your control.”

Overall, Blue was overjoyed with the Network I/O’s performance on its first outing with Evident Productions. “It’s a device that is much more capable than I think most people realise. Once you understand that this thing can simultaneously embed and de-embed, as well as simultaneously talking several different formats... Its versatility is what puts it up there, and the reason why `we’ve invested in one. It’s beyond any other individual product out there at the moment.”

Performance at a glance:

The SSL Network I/O is a range of devices that facilitate IP Audio networking using Audinate’s Dante technology. High channel counts, comprehensive local and network redundancy, plug & play discoverability, and AES67 compliance all come as standard. There are currently four models:

  • Network I/O: SDI.  This model provides bi-directional bridging between embedded SDI, Dante, MADI, and AES. It handles eight SDI circuits, each capable of embedding and de-embedding, as well as dual Dante and triple MADI connectivity (2 x optical, 1 x coax), and 16 channels of AES I/O.
  • Network I/O: MADI provides MADI-Dante connectivity featuring 32-bit MADI control tunnelling, network GPIO connectivity and comprehensive local confidence monitoring via the front panel- accessible headphone amp.
  • Network I/O: Stageboxes It utilizes the SSL SuperAnalogue design enabling easy deployment of mic preamps, line inputs and monitor feeds around a facility.
  • Network I/O: AES This model provides 32 Pairs of AES3 audio I/O connectivity to redundant Dante network connections. Sample Rate Convertors allow seamless integration of unlocked AES3 sources.
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