Extensive digital audio network unifies communications across 190,000 square feet of exhibit space with an eye toward future expansion
PORTLAND, OR, March 23, 2016 – With the goal of providing a first-rate convention and exposition experience, the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee procured the services of Metro Sound & Video to unify audio communications and distribution across all exhibit and meeting space. With a tight timeline and an eye toward scalability, the Milwaukee-area systems design and integration firm established a flexible, low-latency Dante digital audio network from Audinate.
Taking advantage of Dante’s intuitive configuration and minimal labor requirements, the Metro Sound & Video team quickly established a fully operational digital audio network across the entire venue. Dante seamlessly connects the main Expo Hall, comprised of four very large rooms with a giant concrete floor; a 37,500 three-space ballroom for formal events; and a series of smaller meeting rooms that can be combined for larger crowds as needed.
“With a constant rotation of corporate events, trade shows and special occasions, closing the Wisconsin Center for any period of time hurts its bottom line,” said Keith Anderson, director of operations, Metro Sound & Video. “That gave us a matter of four short weeks to design, implement and test a multichannel transport system to support presentation audio, zoned communications, and venue-wide paging and public address. Dante easily saved us at least 400 hours of labor over the project duration. We literally plugged the Dante audio flows into our off-the-shelf network switch, hit download in the routing and processing software, and it just worked.”
Symetrix supplied most of the Dante-compliant hardware to support audio routing and intelligent control. With SymNet Radius multi-room digital signal processing at the network core, Wisconsin Center staff can feed an auto mixer with local microphone jacks to each room for presentation audio. All settings can be remotely controlled using a smartphone, tablet or laptop, allowing staff to adjust the volume in microphones and monitors during presentations from any networked location, for example. The Dante network also simplified a complex paging matrix, freeing users to page any interior or exterior part of the building from a single microphone.
“We needed to create a unified system where all these rooms could talk to each other – or choose not to talk to each other – without requiring an inordinate amount of reconfiguration,” said Anderson. “There’s no more need to reconfigure patch panels to route audio, or run around the building to make adjustments. It can all easily be done from a single computer screen, and the audio quality and reliability is superb. There are no drops in the audio paths, no interruptions and no stuttering.”
Anderson adds that the Wisconsin Center District plans to potentially double the Wisconsin Center exhibition and convention space and build a new arena nearby. The Dante network’s scalable architecture would allow the Metro Sound & Video team to extend the existing network across these new areas.
“Compared to competing technologies like CobraNet, there is no way to achieve this level of digital audio routing and flexible networking,” he said. “Dante has allowed us to push audio in many directions, and uniquely supported the capacity we needed. It’s very possible this future expansion will spur the need to further upgrade the digital audio networking capabilities using Dante.”