Wigwam Hire has enhanced its Optocore-based â€˜OptoRack' data returns system in preparation for the upcoming Coldplay European Mylo Xyloto arena tour, and next summer's stadium dates.
Wigwam, who also handled the band's 2009 Viva La Vida tour, has purchased an additional five Optocore DD32R-FX digital interfaces — one for each of the five amp racks being deployed, which will all be connected by fibre.
Said Wigwam Hire Director, Chris Hill, “We will be running over 100 d&b D12 amplifiers in racks from five separate positions — some in the venue roofs and some on the ground — and programming in the delays etc. All will be connected to our Optocore returns system.”
This will provide the band's FOH engineer Dan Green and systems engineer Tony Smith with a more elegant and stable solution. “The new DD32R-FX units offer a major advantage to running large scale systems such as we are deploying on Coldplay,” commended Hill. “The ability to cable up to 700m between nodes when using multimode fibre transceivers — with network, audio, video and serial data available over the same fibre connections, as well as up to 24 nodes on the same network — really adds functionality to large scale systems.”
The system presents an elegant solution for the longer cable runs required, and enables Wigwam to run 96 KHz AES audio via the R70 network to d&b's CAN-bus [R1 network control interface) on fibre loops.
The hire company had been searching for a lightweight and compact â€˜plug & play' returns system offering reliability, full redundancy and requiring minimal preparation, for some time. Then Chris Hill — along with Wigwam's digital specialist, Alex Hadjigeorgiou — designed and configured the OptoRack in time for the Leona Lewis tour in Spring last year.
Since then, the OptoRacks have provided network control on a number of high profile events, including the UK visit by The Pope — with seven R70 interfaces (the maximum that can be run on one network) operating within a system that included over 2km of fibre cable across over a 2 sq. mile site — and most recently George Michael's Symphonica tour.
OptoRack is expandable up 32 channels analogue and 32 AES, with six LAN ports for data control. Bundling the rack with both the X6R-FX and TP converters (the latter utilising Optocore's proprietary SANE protocol) enabled multiple channels of analogue to be added across both devices in the network.
But with the addition of the DD32R-FX digital interfaces providing further functionality, including 96KHz AES audio and 100Mbit Ethernet transport across the whole network, the transmission system can be built exactly to the requirement.
“On the Coldplay tour the DD32R-FX units will provide the ability to run 96KHz AES audio via the FOH system EQ in the form of an XTA 548 — right through to the d&b D12 amps, which process AES audio at 96KHz,” notes Hadjigeorgiou. “This solution will be equally applicable on smaller tours, such as The Saturdays later this year.
“This truly is a digital system — from the pre-amp on the Digico SD Stagebox right through to the amplifier, with only a single A/D and D/A conversion across the entire system, which will keep latency to the absolute minimum.”
All of which will provide peace of mind for Wigwam's crew chief, Sid Rogerson, when the Coldplay tour kicks off at the SECC in Glasgow on December 3.