Broadcast to over 50 countries worldwide and attracting more than 200 million viewers, the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 (ESC) employed most extensive DirectOut infrastructure so far deployed at the event, setting new standards in the reliability of the event’s sound.

The goal of the system design was to ensure that, in the event of the failure of any single element, the signal flow would not be interrupted for more than 3ms. To achieve this, it was necessary to provide one or more backups for each device, and the first redundancy level had to be independent of operator response time. Another requirement was that all tasks and signals had to be synchronized bi-directionally to within a single sample, while glitches (digital noise) were to be completely avoided.

To achieve this exceptional level of system security, the planners relied on audio converters, processors and distribution systems from German company DirectOut – in particular the PRODIGY.MP processor.

The ESC2022 used 14 PRODIGY.MP units as a central audio interface and distribution system, offering an interface between different audio formats and manufacturers’ systems, and seamlessly integrating a huge and diverse audio system in FOH, Monitor, Playback, Patch Room and Broadcast. As an interface between different parts of the system, the PRODIGY.MP worked with FastSRC™ in bypass mode to actively intervene within a single sample, allowing the exchange of asynchronous signals bi-directionally without any problems.

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Within the playback system, the EARS™ (Enhanced Automatic Redundancy Switching) technology was also used within the PRODIGY – enhanced to be yet more secure especially for the ESC2022. This not only detects whether the audio stream of a playback system is received or not, but whether the playback system (in this case, Pro Tools) is in a buffer loop state. In case of signal failure or loop detection, EARS™ switches the entire port or multi-channel stream to the backup after checking its functionality.

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In addition to two sources, a disaster recovery facility was added, which is available as a third parallel source in case of a simultaneous failure of both main and backup. And to further increase system stability, an Input Manager and Automator were also added – Automator is a completely new feature that provides triggers and actions, which successfully survived a baptism of fire during the ESC2022.

‘The PRODIGY.MP was the perfect solution because it is able to perform several complex tasks in parallel,’ explains Luca Giaroli, Signal Distribution Designer and Manager for ESC2022. 

‘It was even able to increase the security of lower performing system components due to its redundancy strategy and supporting features. Thanks to globcon I had the whole system always under control with all devices interacting whenever needed.’