Held in Aspen, Colorado, the Winter X Games presented a different challenge for the audio engineers, as they were required to mix the live aspect of the show and share feeds with television broadcast on ESPN. To achieve this, for the first time as one big system at the Winter X Games, fiber optics were used to create an integrated connection between the TV network and the control tower, essentially allowing them to share all feeds and signals.
“The X Games is unique, because from an audio standpoint, there are two shows streaming simultaneously,” said Ed Johnson, whose company, Ed Johnson Audio, designed the audio system for the Games.
“We needed detachment and integration on the fly, and so we chose the Soundcraft Vi1 console to make the marriage between the two shows possible. We have used Soundcraft for the past couple of years, but by adding a single-mode fibre card, we were able to integrate and share all the signals on the MADI stream.”
The Soundcraft Vi1 allows for splitting of the feeds, which in the case of this show was not only appreciated but also necessary. The Winter X games are split between: venue A, the area for Super Pipe, Big Air and Slope Style, and Venue B, which catered to Motorsports (three events), Snowboarder X and Slope Style. Both the programme feeds and music feeds are assigned to 28 loudspeaker zones.
“With the Soundcraft Vi1 and a fibre optic cable that routes everything to both venues, I was able to interchange feeds without interruption,” said Johnson. “The console is self-explanatory and intuitively designed, as everything I did, from sharing content on the MADI stream to interfacing with the TV segment, was easy and smooth. Thanks to Soundcraft I was able to cover this huge area within my budget.”
“With the Vi1, I’m always able to not only keep operations within a small footprint, but also control two different areas on the Vistonics touchscreen,” said Johnson. “This console is superior in a lot of ways, as it only took me 20 to 30 minutes to familiarise myself with everything. Due to the successes of integrated HARMAN products, I’ve also requested Soundcraft consoles and JBL loudspeakers for upcoming large events such as the Summer X Games.”