12 Nov 2018

Optical Audio Deliver Big Event Safety


Optical Audio Deliver Big Event Safety

by Jason Allen.

Optical Audio, large scale communications and audio specialists, keep Melbourne’s major public events safe and running smoothly with comms gear from Clear-Com.

From Australia Day, to the St Kilda Festival, through the Midsumma Festival Pride March, White Night Melbourne and the recent White Night Geelong, hundreds of thousands of people have benefitted from a rock-solid network of emergency communications and event management infrastructure, even though almost all of them were blissfully and thankfully unaware that it was even there.


“All of our projects use a mixture of the Clear-Com V-Series 12-key Lever Panels and 24-key Lever Panels,” said Jason Read, Technical Director of Optical Audio Productions. “The main focus of these projects is integrating the emergency centre for the events. All key stakeholders are given a Lever Panel with access to all the channels on the two-way Motorola network.”

At the heart of all of the systems Optical Audio provided is the Clear-Com Eclipse HX-Median matrix frame.

“On most of these gigs, we loaded the HX-Median frame with an IVC-32 IP card, redundant MVX-A16 cards that handle analogue transmit and receive, and the new e-dante64-hx Dante card,” stated Jason.

Jason Read, Technical Director of Optical Audio Productions

The new Dante card has enabled Optical to easily record all channels of communications on their events, satisfying a major customer requirement.  “We get a lot of requests to record key channels
in case there’s an incident that needs to be reviewed,” Jason explained.

“When the Dante card was released, we decided to record everything. If anything occurs, we can cross-reference the data log with the voice recordings. It’s good for training, too; City of Melbourne use our recording of New Year’s Eve as a reference on how to deal with certain situations.

“On White Night Melbourne, we recorded 30 channels of two-way radios and logged the entire 12-hour project. It’s really handy not having to do an analogue record; we used to record analogue via an interface, but we’ve replaced all that with a laptop and a Cat5 cable.”

Also in the technology mix is Clear-Com’s Freespeak II wireless comms system. “We use Freespeak II on smaller projects, show caller set-ups, or when we want to do long-range full-duplex comms within buildings with distributed transceivers,” Jason illustrated.

“That enables operators to roam through the dungeons of their buildings and still have the four key channels they want available to them. It’s a way of getting signal to places a two-way radio can’t go – and we’ve found that happens in Melbourne Town Hall and Marvel Stadium, to name just two.

“All we have to do is work out where black spots are, distribute multiple transceivers, drop in a Freespeak II system and we get full-duplex voice quality and coverage. We were one of the first to buy into Freespeak II, and we’ve been blown away.”

All Clear-Com products are backed by long-time distributor Jands and the brains trust that is their Technical Resource Group.  “The biggest factor in our decision to invest in Clear-Com was the available support,” confirmed Jason.

“It came down to what it’s like to deal with Jands; they’re quick in providing information and quotes, and they work hard to make sure the products you’re buying are right for you. And if I’ve got a problem at 11:59 on a Saturday night, I know I can call Jands and they’ll be there to help.

“They’ve also provided a conduit for communication with Clear-Com itself for help with things we’re trying to achieve, or to ask for features we want that might not yet exist.”


Article from the November 2018 edition of CX Magazine. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues – available in print and online. Read all editions for free or search our archive
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