SWITCH CONCEPTS TALKS ASL
Switch Concepts, a subsidiary company of the Ampco Flashlight Group in Utrecht, Holland, has purchased an ASL Digital system to address the ever-increasing demand for Intercom communication systems during major events. Switch Concepts’ business is the design and execution of entertainment events including Sound, Light and Video.
“We were looking at many different intercom systems, but there are several reasons we decided to go for ASL digital intercom,” says Frank Verbeek from Switch Concepts. “To start with, we have a long history of working with ASL Intercom and their analogue intercom systems. In fact, we still have beltpacks in our warehouse that are around 25 years old and are still working trouble-free,”
“But of course, that was not the only reason to go for ASL Digital. We were also very impressed with the sound quality of the system and that it can produce the required listen levels in environments with high SPL background noise. Many other intercom systems are not able to do that.
“Then we also noticed how easily you can configure an event. It is so quickly done, that you can take the system even for a one day production and/or small productions without having to spend a day on programming it first.”
Frank found another big plus point to be the possibility of using either daisy-chain or star wiring topologies. “You can save kilometers on cabling this way,” Frank explains. “In October we took the system to ‘Symfonica’, an event in a 17,000-seat arena. We went for instance from the matrix with one CAT-5 cable to the eight follow spots and spread out from there in star configuration using the DS 88 Hub, and with three CAT-5 cables to FOH where we had 15 speaker stations and 3 analogue audio interfaces (in a DS 700 box) for the sound, light and video operators.
“Additionally, you can connect your beltpacks directly to the matrix without having to use interfaces to go to separate beltpack systems. And when rolling out your cables you don’t have to worry about who ends up at which cable; since the system is based on personal ID numbers, the matrix ‘finds’ you wherever your station is on the network.”
The Audio Detect function is amongst other features Switch Concepts likes, which shows you whether there is audio on a channel. “It helps to determine who is talking to you,” Frank comments. “Particularly when you have multi-channel user stations.”
Switch Concepts also appreciates ASL Intercom’s quick service. They put to the test during ‘Symfonica’ when they needed some extra software features, which were implemented straight away.
Since Switch Concepts took delivery of the system in August 2013, they have used it on many events, even if just small systems were needed.
At ‘Symfonica’, the company was made responsible for the entire communications system, including sound, lighting, video screens, special effects, autocue, audio/video recording, production office and stage management. In total, 22 multi-channel speaker stations, 23 two-channel beltpacks and 12 interface modules were needed, connected to two linked matrix units. The interfaces were used for communication with a large number of full duplex and semi-duplex (‘motorola’) wireless intercom stations. To make communications comfortable for everybody, 63 groups were created, including 45 ‘person to person’ groups, each for private conversation between two users. “We received a lot of positive comments from the technical crew at the Symfonica production,” Frank concludes. “Particularly on the sound quality and the lay-out of the panels.”
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