Thanks to Riedel, ESPN’s L.A. Live Hears Bristol Loud and Clear

By Carolyn Braff

ESPN’s West Coast production facility, located in the L.A. Live sports and entertainment complex, boasts some of the most advanced technology currently available. For top-of-the-line intercoms, the development team chose Riedel Communications’ Artist digital matrix system but needed that new system to interface with the existing setup at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT. Enter the Riedel Actor interface, which premiered this week at NAB (booth C7637), and ESPN in Los Angeles is now able to hear Bristol loud and clear.

“Bristol was already equipped with a previous system, so the Riedel Actor provides intelligent interfacing between the Riedel system and the third-party intercom in other places, like in Bristol,” explains Andreas Hilmer, director of marketing and communications for Riedel. “Both intercoms can really talk intelligently with each other. You have label transfer; you can have point-to-point calls, group calls, conferences, everything.”

Allowing intelligent trunking, the Riedel Actor solution integrates the Riedel Artist digital matrix intercom installation in Los Angeles with the existing third-party system in Bristol via VoIP connections. The Artist system in L.A., integrated by TV Magic Inc., includes a 584-port matrix and more than 150 intercom control panels.

The intercom matrix is distributed over eight mainframes connected via fiber to form a single non-blocking matrix. Category 5 cabling connects the control panels to the individual frames, using broadcast-quality AES3 digital audio. MADI client cards are used to interface directly from the Riedel system to the house audio infrastructure using the 64-channel MADI format. The Artist system is synced to the main audio infrastructure to facilitate the digital audio connections. VoIP-108 cards offer IP functionality directly from the matrix.

“This is the first major network that has chosen just one facility really to be equipped with Riedel,” Hilmer says. “In the past, if all of a network’s studios were equipped with one manufacturer, to switch one, the network had to switch the whole thing, which was an investment that was impossible. But now, with Actor, they have the option to switch just one piece over to another brand, so I think this will bring some movement and innovation to these facilities.”