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Sonifex Discuss The Role Of The Broadcast Commentator Unit This Summer

Sports Commentary by Marcus Brooke, Managing Director, Sonifex Ltd
With the end of the rugby and football seasons within kicking distance and the run up to the Olympics in full swing (sporting puns, sadly, fully intended), the role of the sports broadcast commentator unit is ever important and will be coming to the forefront as August approaches.
Sonifex has a solution for those situations where a separate commentary unit is required, or where ISDN/pots communications, or a complex digital solution aren’t needed. The CM-CU21 stand alone commentator unit is a rugged, reliable solution which includes all the features needed to ensure that up to two play-by-play announcers can provide their expertise, together with a guest position for further analysis by a visiting ex-professional, pundit (color commentator in the USA), or co-commentator. The guest position can alternatively be used as a line-level input for special effects such as the sounds of the action and spectators, also heard in the background.
Each of the 3 announcer positions has an individual output, with two additional outputs providing a mix of all active commentary channels. A limit indicator on the main panel shows when the adjustable limiter on the mix outputs is active, and a bright 21 segment LED PPM meter, which can be disabled, shows the main output level. Two talkback output channels, with a built in limiter and adjustable gain, are available to each of the two main commentators and they can be linked to provide simultaneous operation.
A wide input gain range and switchable phantom power on each commentary position allows support of a variety of microphone types including low output ribbon, headsets and high output phantom powered microphones. The microphone level controls are accessible on the front panel but can be protected from adjustment by an optional cover plate if required. There are 4 transformer balanced return audio inputs which, along with the commentator inputs, are routed to the headphone monitor controls. These could be used to pass referee remarks to the sportscasters, as well as comments from guests in the studio.
The headphone input controls are very comprehensive allowing either of the two main announcers total control so that any monitor input can be adjusted in volume and sent to either the left, right or both ears. The switches are slightly recessed so that they can’t easily be knocked and the volume knobs are fitted so that the bottom skirt of the knob is below the level of the panel, so that they can’t fall off. Fitted Formica ‘Sharpie’ designation strips are used under each of the level controls so that different input and source types can be dynamically annotated.
A GPIO port gives an independent open-collector driven output indication for any of the three active On-Air or four talkback channels. Four remote inputs provide an external call/alert to each of the talkback controls which flashes the selected T/B button amber when used, to indicate active talkback.
The unit has a built in line-up tone generator for easy channel identification and cabling checks. When enabled, the test-tone is routed to the required output simply by pressing the corresponding on air or talkback button.
An On-Air lock switch prevents the On-Air buttons from being accidentally deactivated and this can be over-ridden with a single push button on the rear panel for individual circumstances where an announcer needs to go off air. A talkback (T/B) gang switch links the operation of talkbacks A & B to make the talkback buttons easier to use by the announcers.
A flexible range of options allow the CM-CU21 to be customised to better suit the operational and user’s personal requirements. These include options for momentary or latching operation of the talkback buttons, permanently enabling or disabling any of the commentator inputs, default headphone signal routing and main panel indicator illumination levels.
The CM-CU21 Commentator Unit can be powered from a universal mains input between 85-264V AC at 47-63Hz, or from a 12-24V DC input, both on the rear panel. A transport case CM-CU21TP is also available to protect the CM-CU21 which also has space for two headsets and/or microphones.
For more information on this product go to the website
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