Photo: One of CP Communications’ 17 DiGiCo S21 desks at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new “nest” of the NFL Atlanta Falcons
New York-based CP Communications, a leading supplier of cutting-edge technology rentals to the broadcast industry, has purchased 17 DiGiCo S21 compact digital consoles. The acquisition of these consoles was mainly to support CP Communications’ ongoing work with Fox Sports’ and CBS Sports’ broadcasts of NFL and college football games, where they will primarily be used as effects submixers, with additional sports-broadcast applications expected in the future.
The consoles are assembled into flight-pack configurations for use in a variety of sports venue environments, taking full advantage of the S21’s compact form factor and the console’s exceptional processing power—based around its FPGA core and new ARM QuadCore RISC processor—allowing the S21 to be deployed in virtually any broadcast location and environment. These 17 new DiGiCo S21 desks join the more than half-dozen DiGiCo SD10B broadcast consoles already in CP Communications’ inventory, being used in remote-production vehicles.
“The S21’s compact form factor was the most enticing thing about it initially,” remarks CP Communications Executive Vice President Kurt Heitmann. “But once you look deeper, the case for the S21 becomes even more compelling.”
He cites the S21’s connective versatility, through its expansion ports: “We can have the console ready to work with MADI or Dante or Hydra, or whatever the situation calls for, thanks to the S21’s expansion slots,” he says. “That’s important because at the A-level games it can easily connect with the Calrecs in the trucks, and below the A-game level, broadcast crews never know what they’re going to face week to week. The S21 means they’ll be able to handle anything.”
And Heitmann says that the S21’s compact size means it can fit into even the smallest of broadcast booths, where effects submixers are often positioned for game broadcasts. “So it’s a console that fits anywhere but is also multilayered, so we’re not giving up channels, and it can be expanded when needed, so we’re not sacrificing connectivity,” Heitmann explains. “And the S21 is more powerful, with true DSP, than the consoles we’re using it to replace.”
Finally, he says, the S21 offers remote diagnostic and maintenance capabilities. “That’s very important,” Heitmann emphasizes. “We won’t buy a console unless we can ‘talk’ to it remotely. As the number of sports broadcasts increases and the knowledge level of operators varies more, we need to know that we—and DiGiCo, through their great support infrastructure—can be there virtually if a problem arises during a game a thousand miles away.”
Heitmann says that while he saw the benefits of the S21 early on after its introduction in 2016, it was critical that CP Communications’ clients also recognized the console’s value to them. “We put the S21 in front of Fox Sports and CBS Sports, and they could see how the console’s form factor, processing power and flexible connectivity were huge advantages,” he says. “Buying the S21 was absolutely a customer-driven decision, and it’s been a very good one.”