When Sweetwater Digital Productions recently built its newest high-definition video truck, Cobalt, they chose to install Riedel Communication’s artist digital intercom matrix.

The new 53’ HD truck, built for entertainment show production, is wired for up to 20 cameras. For Sweetwater the choice to install another Riedel system in their new flagship vehicle was easy. “We love the system’s flexibility—the way it works intuitively,” explains Stephen Sharp, one of Sweetwater's truck engineers. “The software is also very easy to use.”

At the heart of the truck lies a 192 x 192 artist matrix in two frames joined with fiber. The system connects digitally to the main audio router directly via AES audio on AES-108 client cards, thus eliminating the need for external AD/DA converters. Coax client cards allow control panels to be wired via coax cabling and analog cards offer transformer balanced four-wire I/Os. The artist system’s built-in fiber connectors let Sweetwater seamlessly interface to additional Artist systems from their rental pool as well as other artist systems they may encounter in the field. When this is done the connected systems function as a single non-blocking matrix. All frames on the network can be configured and monitored with the director configuration software.

Spread throughout the truck are over 32 rackmount 1000 series control panels connected via coax cabling, plus additional desktop panels for use outside. All of the 1000 series panels come fully loaded with eight-character LED displays built into the keys, an individual volume control for each key and multiple auxiliary I/Os. “It’s so intuitive to see the names on the keys,” adds Sharp. “People really like it.”

To supplement the intercom system a RiFace universal radio interface will also be installed to integrate professional two-way radios. The RiFace connects to the matrix via four-wire audio and transmission of the radios is controlled by GPIs. Each unit contains either one or two radio base stations and can be operated in simplex or semi-duplex modes.

Sharp expressed his satisfaction with the new intercom matrix. “We love the system,” he summarizes. “It’s so flexible and interfaces very easily.”