Dante Audio Networking Scores at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Football Stadium

Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium – the tenth largest on-campus football stadium in the NCAA – is now home to the largest HD video board in college sports. Designed, built and installed by Daktronics, in Brookings, South Dakota, this massive 197×57 square foot LED video display is accompanied by equally impactful high-quality sound, delivered over IP by a Dante audio network from Audinate.

Daktronics worked on the project for Auburn University, a prominent public research university with over 27,000 students. With this $14 million infrastructure upgrade, this Auburn, Alabama venue – known officially as Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium – was rated as the number one game day experience in a recent independent survey of South-Eastern Conference (SEC) college fans.

When Auburn Tigers fans fill the stadium’s 87,451 seats, they can’t miss the multi-camera, multi-source HD video show playing above the south end of the field. Importantly, the new Dante audio network outperforms the previous analogue distribution configuration in its ability to deliver an exciting and engaging audio-visual experience.

According to David Sturzenbecher (CTS-I), Audio Project Engineer for Daktronics, Dante is next-generation digital audio networking technology. While Daktronics distributes most of its display products via a dealer network, it directly handles all of the systems integration involved with its massive video displays, including the sound systems.

David continued with the following: “We use Dante on roughly 60 to 70 percent of our big-screen installations because it’s extremely flexible, scalable, and configurable. Its seamless interoperability between components makes it easy to expand existing installations.”

Auburn University is already planning an upgrade to its stadium’s north end zone stands, including the addition of another big-screen LED video display.

Centralised in an audio control room in the stadium’s press box, the Dante network allows a single audio operator to manage a wide array of inputs from CD players, microphones and more used by the announcers, referees, and musical performers. Dante also routes audio over IP from a Midas mixing console in Auburn University’s video control room, a half-mile up the road from the stadium.

All control room game day audio elements interface with a Dante-enabled Yamaha RIO (Rack Input Output) 3224-D unit, which supports 32 inputs x 16 outputs. These signals are centrally monitored and controlled from a 64-channel Yamaha CL5 digital audio mixing console – equipped with native Dante capability in the stadium’s audio control room.

Working in tandem with Dante-compatible networking components, the CL5 delivers the audio signals to the DSP units around the stadium. The BSS London-BLU-806 digital signal processors convert various analogue and digital audio signals to the digital format required for transmission over the Dante network, as well as performing venue routing and equalisation. The Dante network also utilises six London BLU-326 processors, which accept Dante signals and decode them to AES-EBU for the public address system, monitors and loudspeakers.

David later stated that the London BLU-806 essentially acts as the brains of the network because it does the majority of the processing. It takes in Dante streams from the mixing console, performs the processing and then routes the audio throughout the various locations, such as the press box, loudspeakers, delay speakers and other network destinations. Not having signal routing limitations was a definite advantage on this stadium installation. With Dante, David and his team receive the same quality audio signal out that is put in, even at the end of 2000 feet of fibre.

From the control computer’s touchscreen, the operator can control the volume and other quality attributes of every audio signal and device on the Dante network.

David concluded with the following: “With the wide range of Dante-compatible components available on the market today, such as the Yamaha CL5 mixer, London BLU-806 and 326 processors; we’re able to create a powerful, entertaining sound presentation that beautifully complements our big-screen video experience. By following standard networking protocol, Dante’s smart design makes complex audio over IP networking relatively simple.”