The Audio Network Behind The IBC Big Screen

Sessions in the IBC Big Screen Auditorium got off to a fine start on the first day of the show with Kraftwerk demonstrating the potential of immersive audio for enhancing the viewing experience and creating an all-encompassing environment. Sadly the Teutonic electronica pioneers were not at the RAI in person but their 3D concert film illustrated the power of Dolby’s Atmos spatial surround sound format.

The Big Screen will host a series of presentations and seminars discussing key technology issues over the IBC weekend. It will also be a cinema for screenings of War for the Planet of the Apes and Edgar Wright's Baby Driver. Sound plays a major role in all the events taking place in the Auditorium and behind the scenes is a comprehensive audio network that handles the live feeds and Dolby Atmos soundtracks.

The networking technology is being provided by live and theatre sound console manufacturer Cadac. Terry Nelson of IBC Technical Resources, which specifies and runs the audio installations for IBC conference rooms as well as the Big Screen, explains that they do have the flexibility to bring in non-exhibitors to supply necessary equipment.

Terry Nelson preparing the Cadac consoles

Terry Nelson preparing the Cadac consoles

"Cadac is a live sound console and the interface and audio quality are second to none," he says. The set-up for the Auditorium is based on two Cadac digital desks: a CDC eight-32 (inputs) is the master board, which takes inputs from a CDC seven being used to mix all stage mics and special feeds for the Awards Show.

Both consoles operate on Cadac's proprietary MegaCOMMS networking system, which is based on TDM (time division multiplex) technology. The Big Screen network connects the two mixers to two CDC I/O (input/output) 6488 and two CD I/O stage boxes through a CDC MC router.

Nelson, who is mixing the presentations at the CDC eight-32, says a key factor in selecting MegaCOMMS was its low delay times. "It's a very high-speed platform and latency issues do not come into it," he explains. "We're talking micro-seconds, not milliseconds, because we don't want to see lip sync delays."

IBC Technical Resources has been using the Cadac systems for four years now, since Dolby Atmos was first introduced on the Big Screen. The desk outputs run to a QSC Audio loudspeaker and amplification rig, which operates on its own network, the similarly proprietary Q-Sys. Microphones for the presentations are from Audio-Technica, primarily the wireless 5000 Series, plus M3 in-ear monitors.

Baby Driver is showing on Saturday night on the Big Screen, with War for the Planet of the Apes on Monday. The full Auditorium schedule can be found here.

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