Temporary CBS Audio Control Room Supports Multiple March Madness Sites

March Madness coverage across four networks this season makes for some complex audio. As it did last year, CBS Sports added a temporary audio-control room with an update studio in New York to support the main CBS control room there and the Turner Sports control room in Atlanta. The additional control room is being used for update inserts that can be jumped to any of the broadcast outlets as needed during the series.

What’s different this year is that all the audio in the temporary studio is in the HD-SDI format, embedded in the video feed. Last year, the audio was in the AES format, which required muxing/demuxing of the audio to convert it to AES. Implementation of the HD-SDI format eliminates the conversion step, significantly enhancing the efficiency of the audio processing, according to Gennadiy Giller, audio supervisor at CBS Sports in New York.

“It’s much more efficient compared to last year,” he says. “The console control surface uses only a pair of RJ-45 cables directly from the rack. We just strip the audio out as needed and send it back out as HD-SDI.” Except for microphones, all the audio for March Madness is fully digital.

The temporary control room is using a Lawo mc266 console with Genelec monitoring. CBS’s main control room has Calrec Alpha and Sigma consoles; Turner Sports in Atlanta, a Lawo mc290 audio console.

Giller notes that the communications matrix this year is also larger, with about 60 separate comm lines and hundreds of key panels running through the main Telex ADAM intercom system. “We’re linking two large broadcast centers in two cities together live, as well as all the [game] sites, so there’s a lot of traffic.”