On February 7, 2016, with the Denver Broncos locked in battle with the Carolina Panthers for Super Bowl 50, Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars combined for one of the biggest Super Bowl Halftime Show extravaganzas yet. Their performances were heard by 75,000 fans inside Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and by 112 million U.S. TV viewers — among the most-viewed Super Bowls in history. The sound was great, in large part because ATK Audiotek, the live-sound provider for the Super Bowl for the past 18 consecutive years, had an all-digital audio signal from the console to the amplifiers this year for the first time, thanks to 12 Focusrite RedNet D16R AES3 I/O’s that provided Dante™ audio-over-IP connectivity.

The RedNet D16R units were deployed at four stations on the football field – quadrants that took audio from the FOH console, operated by FOH engineer Patrick Baltzell, for pre-game performances of “America The Beautiful” by the Armed Forces Chorus and “Star Spangled Banner” by Lady Gaga, as well as the Super Bowl Halftime Show event itself, and distributed it to ATK Audiotek’s custom-designed, cart-based audio system, equipped with JBL VerTec® line array loudspeakers, for sound that filled the bowl and then some.

“The D16R interfaces were a key element in our signal chain,” remarks ATK Audiotek Design Engineer Kirk Powell, who acted as the Engineer-in-Charge for the live sound from the field. “We had a total of 18 carts on the field: twelve with five speakers each and six with four speakers each, 84 in total. Till this year, we had been using an analog I/O interface. For Super Bowl 50, we had a completely digital signal path from console to amplifiers, using the RedNet D16R boxes. As a result, we had a greatly reduced noise floor and a completely streamlined signal path. The RedNets performed flawlessly and the sound was excellent. RedNet represents the next step for an all-digital signal path for live sound.”

RedNet D16R AES is a 1U, 19in rack-mount Dante interface featuring 16 channels of AES/EBU connectivity to and from the Dante audio network. Perfect for bridging between digital consoles, power amplifiers or any other AES3-equipped audio equipment and any Dante network, RedNet D16R has SRC (Sample Rate Conversion) on each input pair allowing plug-and-play operation with any AES3 source. Word Clock I/O and DARS (Digital Audio Reference Signal) connections allow synchronization with a wide range of external sources and hardware, while S/PDIF I/O allows the integration of equipment such as CD or solid state recorders/players. The D16R features a rugged, roadworthy exterior and high internal build quality, with Ethernet and power supply redundancy for maximum reliability. In addition, the unit offers a compact 1U rack-mount form factor.