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C100 Provides Flexibility to Handle Current Productions, While Offering Unique Capabilities for Servicing the Facility Upgrade in the Future

NEW YORK – With an eye toward a major facility upgrade involving two separate buildings, MSG Media has installed a Solid State Logic C100 HD Digital Console as the centerpiece of their audio strategy. The C100 streamlines the current production flow for shows on five different MSG channels, while providing the flexibility to efficiently address the planned move into a new location near Madison Square Garden. The C140 HD with 32 channels additionally allows MSG Media the opportunity to offer high end recording and mixing capabilities to concert clients to increase business opportunities.

“We needed a console whose primary function would be audio for our HD production control room,� says Michael Mitchell, chief engineer for MSG Media. “We also wanted to position ourselves for 5.1 capabilities as we move into an all digital production environment. When we evaluated all the products on the market, we found that SSL offered the most 5.1 and other feature set capabilities in one package. Everyone up and down the line has loved working with the C100.�

The current studios at Madison Square Garden are located on the fourth floor and service three production studios – Studio A, Studio 11 and the Fifth Floor Studio – for on-air productions primarily concerned with sports events. The audio for live pre, post, half-time and intermission type programs for hockey, basketball and soccer are produced on site through the C100, while audio from Rainbow Network Communications in Bethpage, NY is traded back and forth through fiber-optic lines to the console delivering live sound from away games and commercials. The trick for the engineering team was to get the entire production facility up and running in the current analogue space in such a way that the move into the new facility across the street would be seamless and quick.

“SSL’s MORSE option will allow us to add stageboxes, connected via fiber, which can be remotely controlled by the C100 and deliver a fully digital audio stream,� Mitchell relates. “Our intention is to retrofit these stageboxes in our three production studios and anywhere in the facility where we might need a pathway to the console. This will allow us to benefit from the excellent SSL sound, while being able to address microphones or any other audio needs remotely. This capability will become paramount when we move the console into the new facility across the street, connecting the live studios through a fiber-optic line to the C100. I can’t imagine the nightmare and cost of running big analogue audio trunk lines with the accompanying signal loss by staying analogue. This is where the C100 becomes a real production tool as much for crafting audio for a show as allowing the flexibility for us to expand into any location and configuration we might need in the future. From our point of view, the C100 system is the only choice for this type of situation.�

Madison Square Garden is also home to a litany of high-end music concerts featuring such acts as Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Christina Aguilera and Jay-Z, to name a few. Beyond the main arena that can accommodate audiences of up to 20,000 people, the facility also features the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden which seats up to 5,600 people. With the advent of the C100, the potential now exists to offer record and mix capabilities to concert clients to expand the facility services roster.

“The C100 gives us the opportunity to offer clients options we couldn’t accommodate before,� states Mitchell. “When we do a major concert, the potential now exists to do front of house sound, if requested. We could capture audio and use it for a CD or DVD production for a group because the sound quality is so good. With a remote pre-amp package, we could put high quality audio into spaces where we used to use a small analogue board like for a “tailgate� party in the lobby before a sports event. The C100’s recall capabilities give us a much quicker turn around for shows we produce for MSG, MSG HD, MSG Plus and two overflow channels MSG2 and MSG Plus 2, streamlining our operations and enhancing our throughput giving our production people more time to create. The C100 also holds great appeal for outside engineers. Everyone really likes the flexibility of being able to produce all the sound within the console and not have to go to outboard boxes with four people in the room trying to figure out where everything is located. With the C100, we couldn’t have made a better choice to bring us into the future.�

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