Live From the US Open: ESPN ITV Upgrades Internal Audio Comms

One of the thrills of visiting the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis and attending the US Open is roaming the grounds and hopping from court to court, taking in a variety of different matches. It’s a tennis junkie’s dream.

Again this year, DIRECTV’s US Open Experience brings viewers the US Open Mix Channel, a six-screen mosaic providing live network coverage plus five outer-court matches simultaneously.

ESPN ITV audio engineer Steve Fisher shows off Lance ADX-2400N, which handled internal audio communications for the production team.

ESPN ITV audio engineer Steve Fisher shows off Lance ADX-2400N, which handled internal audio communications for the production team.

The ESPN ITV production team, working out of NCPVIII in the production compound, runs the show and created original announcer and camera coverage on Courts 11, 17, and Grandstand throughout the first week of the tournament.

Perhaps the most significant technological change during this year’s production is an overhaul of the internal audio communications system.

This year, the audio staff brought in, on rental, the Lance ADX-2400N, an analog version of Lance Design’s Audio Distribution System, to cover the announce booths on Courts 17, 11, Grandstand, and 13, on which ESPN ITV has intermittent coverage.

The ADX-2400N shares the same functionality with the AES version, but the I/0 is line-level balanced analog, using D-25F connectors.

ESPN ITV Executive Producer Don Colantonio again heads up the US Open Mix Channel production.

ESPN ITV Executive Producer Don Colantonio again heads up the US Open Mix Channel production.

“In the past, we’ve always had to do this over copper,” says Steve Fisher, lead audio engineer on ESPN ITV’s US Open coverage. “That copper has gotten old, and there’s a lot less of it.”

The entirely fiber-based system allows ESPN ITV to patch ports in and out for intercoms. Stage-manager and audio intercoms at each booth allow the team to patch interrupt-side and non-interrupt–side IFBs, plus mic and talkback forms.

In the field end are three ADX 120 units (which are the announce box) and an ADX 800, which powers those boxes off a piece of Cat 5 cable.