Axient Digital frequency diversity delivers flawless referee audio for Notre Dame football
Paco Bayer is Operations Manager for the Joyce Center at Notre Dame University, and FOH audio engineer for the school’s home football games
Guarantee error-free performance of the referee’s wireless microphone during national broadcasts of football games at Notre Dame Stadium
Frequency diversity feature of Axient Digital wireless systems actively detects and avoids interference by switching channels in real time
Reduced risk of dropout or interference with referee’s microphone, encrypted transmission of copyrighted content, Dante network signal distribution
For audio engineer Paco Bayer, the 2016-17 Notre Dame football season was shaping up as a challenge due to ongoing construction to update Notre Dame Stadium. The resulted in less than ideal antenna placement for wireless microphones, most notably the critical referee’s mic, used on the field during the NBC broadcasts of home games.
Given the opportunity to try four channels of Shure’s new Axient Digital system for the season, Bayer jumped at the chance. Two handheld mics were used for the halftime entertainment, while both bodypack systems were dedicated to the referee’s microphone
Bayer was very impressed with Axient’s frequency diversity feature, which uses two active UHF frequencies on dual AD bodypacks, allowing a seamless switch to a clean channel when Axient Digital detects interference
“The referee mic feeds both the broadcast and the stadium, so it’s really a critical channel,” says Bayer. “The system works like a charm. We never had a referee mic failure all season, and loved having the assurance that it would be solid no matter what.”
Bayer also found the system’s digital architecture to be a huge help in his situation. Axient Digital’s operating range covered the entire field, even with non-optimal antenna positions. Its wide bandwidth and ability to pack more channels into less spectrum assured there would be enough frequencies to meet game day demands. He also appreciated the system’s Dante and AES output options, and the security of digitally encrypted audio.
“We don’t operate that many channels ourselves, but we coordinate of 250 UHF frequencies, mostly media, so it’s a very crowded RF spectrum on game day,” he notes. “Axient Digital was so reliable that a couple of times, it was actually easier to solve conflicts by switching Axient frequency rather than to try coordinating someone else’s.”
When the refurbishment is complete, Paco Bayer plans to specify eight channels of Axient Digital as the core wireless installation at Notre Dame Stadium. All systems will be networked together via Dante, with direct feeds distributed to the NBC broadcast truck and the stadium video crew.
“Having experienced it for a full season, I can say that Axient Digital excels in the most challenging situations,” says Bayer. “The sound quality is top notch, and the RF performance is outstanding. It’s great to have so much confidence in a wireless system.”
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