YES Network says yes to Calrec

The YES Network, the United States’ most-watched regional sports network for the past four years and the television home of the New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets, has deployed a Calrec Sigma audio console with Bluefin High Density Signal Processing (HDSP).

The installation is part of a state-of-the-art HD renovation of YES Network’s 2,500-square-foot control room at its broadcast center, located within the Ascent Media compound in Stamford, Conn.

YES Network’s Connecticut studio is primarily used for live pre- and post-game shows and for simulcast of another signature live program, WFAN Radio’s top-rated “Mike and the Mad Dog” show. These high-quality, sophisticated productions involve multiple instant replays and require many microphones and remote feeds, adding up to thousands of cues. This type of demanding operation requires a dependable and versatile audio console.

“I am in love with the Calrec Sigma console,” said YES Network Senior Audio Engineer Bill Powers, who has been working in broadcast for 25 years. “In a reasonably small footprint, it has all of the options I want — two layers controlled by one fader, the 20 auxiliary and four direct outputs. But the thing I love most is its reliability. In my eyes, this is the Sherman tank of audio consoles.”

Powers noted that an element crucial to him in live production is the Sigma’s resiliency. Occasional routing errors are an inevitable part of audio operations in the digital age, he said, and when they happen, it’s important that the audio never falters. According to Powers, because the Sigma console can be reset and under control almost instantly, the audio is never interrupted.

Calrec’s award-winning Bluefin HDSP allows all the signal processing for the console to be performed on a single card, which represents an almost thirtyfold increase in efficiency over the earlier system. Sigma with Bluefin provides 320 channel processing paths that can be configured for up to 52 full 5.1 surround channels. Channel capacity is enhanced by a buss structure that includes 20 auxiliaries and 48 tracks. In addition, the system provides 19.6 minutes of audio delay made up of 432 elements of up to 2.73 seconds that can be inserted in the signal paths to compensate for the synchronization problems endemic to mixed-format HD/SD production.

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