The Super Bowl is the biggest American television event of the year. With an estimated 100 million viewers and per-minute advertising costs upwards of $10 million, it’s a high-stakes, big-budget event that attracts viewers of all types, with its mix of sports, entertainment and pageantry. All audio aspects of the Super Bowls are the responsibility of ATK Audiotek, who chose Dante-network enabled RedNet gear from Focusrite Pro to manage the complexities of both the game and the entertainment extravaganza of a live stadium concert during halftime.
For 2020’s Super Bowl LIV in the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, two large-scale sound systems were in use – a flown house system and ATK’s field cart system. In addition, ATK provided and operated the substantial backbone of routing equipment and input/output interfaces to patch all the systems together, and allow audio to flow from inputs to mix positions, to amplifiers and speakers, and also to external partners such as broadcast and recording trucks. “That’s where having Dante and RedNet comes in to play.” said ATK’s Kirk Powell, who led audio production for the event.
Once the structure of the system is plotted out, the preconfiguration was implemented by system designer and FOH mixer for the entertainment aspects of the 2020 Super Bowl, Alex Guessard, in a 50-foot-by-50-foot space in the ATK shop in California. “First, we reset the devices and put the new configuration in them.” While requiring a methodical approach for such a complex system, updating firmware, naming channels and making subscriptions on RedNet devices is a straightforward task, thanks to Dante Controller and RedNet Control.
Possibly the most important human aspect to the audio system is the role of Patchmaster, handled for Super Bowl LIV by Luis Montes from a nook in the underbelly of the Hard Rock Stadium. As the central hub of ATK’s network, every home run from each nodes’ network switches comes to Montes’s patching world via an overhead bundle of cables as wide as a water main. Montes uses a RedNet AM2 two-channel D-A converter with line-level connections and a headphone output to audibly monitor signals on the network for source verification and quality control.