August 2015 - Las Vegas, NV, USA: When it comes to entertainment and sports industry events, Las Vegas is, without question, one of the major hubs for televised special event production. The behind-the-scenes technical know-how that goes into producing a major network broadcast event is mind boggling. At many such extravaganzas, engineering expertise from Las Vegas-based 3G Productions, Inc. is central to the event’s success. And to ensure rock solid audio signal management, the company relies upon routing technology from Germany’s Salzbrenner Stagetec Mediagroup.
With offices in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles, 3G Productions, Inc. is a multifaceted production company that is involved in live production, sound equipment rentals, equipment sales, and installed sound. Keith Conrad serves as the Director of Marketing / Controller for the company. In this capacity, he oversees multiple areas of operations, marketing, and finances for the company. Recognizing the critical nature of a router’s functions, he discussed his fondness for Stage Tec’s Nexus system.
“Our Nexus router resides in two TV studios,” Conrad explained. “We have one in the USA and the other in Europe. The Nexus system also travels around the world for shows done in all types of remote locations, such as stadiums or trade shows. The router that we’re using for our live show applications has a Nexus Star at the center of the system, which includes a dual matrix for routing inputs to outputs. Our system is equipped with three of Stage Tec’s RFOC optical interface cards. These connect to multiple base devices that are located at FOH, Stage, and remote areas where the talent is located. We use all types of audio transport to get signals in and out of the Nexus. These include analog, AES digital, Dante, and MADI.”
Compatibility and Quality“Our router is currently being used primarily as the front end for broadcast events,” Conrad continued. “We use the Nexus router so that we can collect all of the analog and digital inputs from all over the broadcast and be able to route those signals quickly and efficiently to all of the various locations of the production—from the ACR (Audio Control Room) to FOH and Monitors. We’re also tying the router into our communications systems to seamlessly route communications to different areas of the production. By taking this approach, we don’t have to run separate cables and make hard patches.”
When queried about those Nexus attributes he finds most beneficial, Conrad offered the following thoughts, “The most appealing aspect of the Nexus router is the ability for us to keep the same front end—analog and digital I/O—and easily switch out the consoles that we are using for any given project. Sometimes, a Yamaha CL1 or CL5 digital mixing console is the best option for what we’re doing, based on the nature of the application and the real estate available. With the use of the Dante card, we can easily change out the console and keep all of the routing in place for both our inputs and outputs to our drive rack and amplifiers. Equally important, with the MADI cards, swapping out large frame digital consoles such as those from Soundcraft, Studer, and Midas is a piece of cake.”
In addition to its signal management flexibility, Conrad was equally enthusiastic about the Nexus router’s audio performance, “One of my favorite parts of the Stage Tec Nexus router is its Mic Pre Amps. Sonically, these Mic Pre’s blow away the stage boxes offered by live sound consoles. By interfacing our equipment via Dante or MADI cards, we end up having the best sounding sound reinforcement consoles you will ever hear. The next best part of the Nexus router’s Mic Pre’s are the splits. Being able to have four discrete head amps for each mic input alleviates the need for a copper splitter, which saves us time and space on productions.”
Extensive ServiceWhen you’re operating at the level of 3G Productions, knowing your equipment manufacturer has your back is critically important. Here too, Conrad offered high praise for Stage Tec. “The Stage Tec team has been a pleasure to work with,” he said. “When we purchased our equipment, we had to immediately put it to use for a show in a short timeframe. The Stage Tec team provided on-site support at our warehouse and even had a presence at our first few events to ensure everything ran smoothly. Since then, when any issue on show site or potential application comes up, the team has always been there to provide responsive customer support.”
Before redirecting his focus back to an upcoming project, Conrad offered these parting comments, “Overall, I’d have to say that Stage Tec provides great technical and sales support for what has been a very durable and reliable product. The Nexus router’s modular system, with its ability to expand enables us to make the system as small or as large as the project requires. The router’s design provides for a customizable and flexible product that can be used in a multitude of applications.”