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ATK/Clair Takes On Super Bowl Audio Networking

ATK Audiotek once again provided audio for the Super Bowl, constructing a massive Dante networked digital audio infrastructure for the event.

ATK Audiotek’s front-of-house setup at the 2023 Super Bowl, featuring Focusrite RedNet interfaces
ATK Audiotek’s front-of-house setup at the 2023 Super Bowl, featuring Focusrite RedNet interfaces.

Phoenix, AZ (February 21, 2023)—Last week when the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles faced each other for Super Bowl LVII, it resulted in one of the most exciting games in the event’s history. Thousands at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona thrilled to the neck-and-neck contest, but far more—more than 208 million—watched the game and Rihanna’s well-received half-time show at home. Ensuring that all stakeholders had audio was a sizable Dante networked digital audio infrastructure constructed by ATK Audiotek (a Clair Global company), the live-sound provider for the Super Bowl for the past 25 consecutive years. Key to keeping that network up and running in a high-pressure situation were a selection of Focusrite RedNet Dante-networked audio converters and interfaces.

“This is our eighth year using Focusrite RedNet with our Dante Audio-over IP network at the Super Bowl,” said Kirk Powell, Engineer-in-Charge for ATK/Clair at Super Bowl LVII. “We started with a pretty small-scale Focusrite setup, but it’s grown over the years into the huge deployment that you see today. This year, we are responsible for all audio in the stadium, including the halftime show, so that is a pretty hefty undertaking.”

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ATK Audiotek’s Focusrite gear setup for Super Bowl LVII included 20 RedNet D16R 16-channel AES3 I/O’s; 24 RedNet A16R 16-channel analog I/O interfaces; and 24 RedNet D64R 64-channel MADI bridges. Additionally, ATK/Clair used the stadium’s house P.A. system but augmented it with a number of additional speakers from L-Acoustics. “Being an indoor venue, State Farm Stadium has a lot of reflective surfaces,” notes Powell. “The challenge is to keep intelligibility up and keep reflections down.”

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At Super Bowl LVII, A16R units were used to connect with various interfaces operated by the venue and other entities, and D16R units were used to interface with amplifiers. RedNet D64R MADI bridges were deployed to interface with consoles and broadcast trucks. While FOH and stage monitors could share a clock, Powell explains, “the production tracks are on a different clock, because they’re not used all day long. The D64R allows me to break the clock between my system and the production tracks because they’re done after halftime. They start to pack up, and I don’t want to be on their clock and have them shut down.”

ATK/Clair constructs a dry-run setup at its home base in Valencia, California, in the weeks leading up to the big game: “We set up the whole network in the office, getting all the Dante routing done and double- and triple-checking everything to minimize on-site setup and look for any issues that need troubleshooting. It sometimes feels like overkill, but we don’t want to leave anything up to chance when gameday comes. Looking at our staging area for the system, you see a sea of red rack-mounted units! [laughs] We’re able to get to State Farm Stadium, set up and go. Because we do our extensive prep work, there are very few surprises.”