Winter Olympics sound designer praises DiGiCo consoles

The first international multi-sport event to be held as scheduled since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, organizers of the highly anticipated 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, have promised to stage a “simple, safe and wonderful” event. “, flanked by a spectacular opening and closing ceremonies. Renowned director and producer Zhang Yimounext to chief sound designer He Biaohave once again teamed up to create an unforgettable audio-visual feast watched by the world and delivered by DiGiCo’s flagship Quantum7 mixing consoles.

Held in Beijing’s 91,000-capacity “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium, the expansive and painstakingly choreographed events featured an elaborate program of lighting, stage and screens backed by a continuous stream of music. , with a total of 18 audio scenes for the opening ceremony and 30 for the opening ceremony. closing ceremony.

Mr. He managed the entire process of the audio project, from writing the creative programming and designing the sound system, to installation, fine-tuning, rehearsal and live events. A loyal DiGiCo user, Mr. He considered various system combinations, but the final choice of mixer fell on the DiGiCo Quantum7.

The audio installation was designed with a working system and a redundant secondary system for backup. Therefore, the system included two Quantum7 consoles accompanied by a pair of SD-Racks. Given the expanse of the stadium site, a network of MADI routers was used for long-distance signal transmission and backup, with the entire system framework supported and operating over a two-way fiber optic loop .

“The most important factor in the design brief was to provide full system control and multiple backup options to respond to any system failures during the many live events, and the Quantum7 completely fulfilled that brief,” explains Mr. He. “Its dual-engine architecture offers mirror functionality, providing seamless backup between the two engines, and with a second backup console installed, I could increase system security. The fiber optic was established in a loop and system configuration in star so that the two consoles can share the inputs of the racks, which means that in the event of a malfunction, if part of the loop fails, all the main and backup audio sources are connected to the main interface racks and standby, and the system can continue to work safely and stably.

Aside from back-up solutions, Mr. He’s biggest challenge for the event was dealing with Beijing’s wintry weather conditions.

“Winter in Beijing is windy and snowy, and the temperature can drop to minus 20 degrees centigrade. The National Stadium is an outdoor venue, which means the weather and outside environment can be problematic, testing sound equipment to its limits. To ensure efficient operation of the equipment, the team set up an isolation shed for the equipment racks and used IOT technology for real-time temperature and humidity monitoring,” explains Mr. He.

At the request of the Olympic Broadcasting Service Company (OBS), event music has been formatted in 2.0 stereo and 5.1.4 multi-channel surround sound to ensure smooth transmission for broadcast. Playback was handled by QLAB software which, along with all other audio sources involved in the events, was fed from the consoles and racks to the backup MADI routers and from there transmitted to the OB platform of the OBS and to the control room. To reduce latency, the control room used two sample rate converters to achieve a stable clock synchronization signal.

“I’m delighted to report that both live events went off without incident, which is an incredible achievement given that each event lasted several hours, with hundreds of people involved, and multiple stages and AV shows to deliver. Quantum7 consoles were the heart of the audio system, powerful and versatile, simple and easy, safe and stable, they embody the ultimate mixer,” concludes Mr. He.

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