AV Concepts, San Diego, CA United States
AV Concepts, a corporate and entertainment event production specialist, remains on the cutting edge of technological and creative advances to deliver outstanding experiences for their customers. As a company that is always pushing the envelope and leveraging new technologies, the convergence of audio, video and lighting technologies on the network plays a significant role in how AV Concepts creates immersive experiences that dazzle audiences and drives business results.
Delivering best-in-class audio solutions continues to be a key focus for AV Concepts as the company evolves its strategy to effectively deliver cutting-edge creative and technical staging services. The need to deliver more audio channels at higher quality influenced AV Concepts to take a serious look at the various media networking solutions available on the market today. The company was seeking a solution that would simplify infrastructure while providing the freedom to scale up or down as required for each event.
On average, AV Concepts is managing 180 routed channels for each of their events. For Jason Thiele, Systems Engineer at AV Concepts, the headaches in the analog universe were almost always tied to configuration and troubleshooting – headaches that could quickly escalate and consume far too of their customers’ valuable time on show site.
Thiele and his colleagues carefully compared a variety of networking solutions, but found the others underwhelming.
“Most of the systems were about putting a box on each end to move audio, and we wanted a more flexible system,” explained Thiele. “We needed a turnkey solution that could send as many channels as we wanted across a network and covered the entire audio chain, right up to the PA system.”
AV Concepts considers itself a Yamaha house, and the launch of the Yamaha CL console series quickly led the team to Dante.
“I talked to Landon Gentry at Audinate for initial guidance, and we quickly redesigned our entire infrastructure to be Dante across the board,” said Thiele. “We got together with the best fiber manufacturers we could find, building custom multi-lines with redundant, high-grade Cat6 lines built in. With fiber connections and Cisco layer 3 managed switches, we can now easily route whatever we need to, wherever we need to go. And we can quickly make changes to scale the network for events of any size.”
That flexibility has been a major benefit of the Dante transition according to Thiele, given the drastic reduction in installation time. This includes initial setup, which Thiele estimates as 30 to 45 minutes, compared to the six-to-eight hours typically spent deploying legacy audio systems.
“With the new Dante Controller, we send the network template to the front of house crew so they can pull up our configuration,” said Thiele. “The Dante channels automatically correspond to the devices on the network. Additionally, when they load a USB stick into their console, it readily looks for the device and a specific Dante channel. Once everything is plugged and turned on, the signals being routing. There is no more worrying about a patch list from the FOH team. Everyone that we work with loves it, and it’s reached a point where we are winning new business because of Dante. Engineers want to work with innovative new technology, and our research and experience has proven Dante to be our best choice as a standard networking solution.”
Today, an AV Concepts event experience incorporates multiple Shure ULXD4Q wireless microphones, five Extron DMP128 digital matrix systems, two Yamaha Rio I/O stageboxes, and a Yamaha CL5 console with two additional Yamaha MY16-AUD cards. The infrastructure also includes 45 Dante Virtual Soundcards to enable audio networking from computing platforms, giving the AV Concepts team additional flexibility with bringing audio signals onto the network.
“The only component that is analog in the entire workflow is the output of our main processing system to the speaker box,” said Thiele. “And we’re working on that as well, with the goal of keeping it Dante all the way to the driver.”
Because of Dante’s flexibility, AV Concepts can take advantage of a number of improvements and benefits in preparation for and during events. The team can also easily add or drop microphones and stageboxes from their Dante network depending on event needs. And the days of having to pinpoint cable issues or address latency concerns during a show are in the past.
“We have the highest quality standards, and with Dante everything is clean,” added Thiele. “I can route all my signals remotely from backstage or from the front of house position, and not have to worry about running analog subsnakes everywhere. The noise floor and signal latency on all our Dante devices is virtually non-existent.”
“We see other companies that have a console and a couple of Rio racks, but we have found that there are much bigger possibilities with the power of Dante networking. In fact, we have had several competitor companies come to our shop to look at our setup and rig, and they’ve all been amazed at the sophistication and advantages of our system. You just need to look at our customer satisfaction to tell the story.”
- Simplified, scalable infrastructure for events large and small
- Quick set up and painless configuration, with highly flexible routing environments
- Clean, high-quality audio quality with no noticeable latency