Roland S-4000 Series Digital Snakes Provide the Perfect Solution for MI Broadcast


Cambridge based MI Broadcast have been taking full advantage of the flexibility of the Roland S-4000 Series Digital Snakes, hiring them out to their customers including Arena Television for prestigious projects such as the Olympics and Champions League football.  Having purchased two systems comprising S-4000S-3208 32 x 8 Modular Stage Unit, the S-4000S-0832 8 x 32 Modular Stage Unit and S-4000R Remote Controller for their hire stock, MI Broadcast have found them a perfect fit for the requirements of their TV industry clients.

‘The requirements change from client to client with different configurations of XLR ins and outs but the S-4000 Series offers us the ease and flexibility to adapt’ commented Robert Mackman, Director at MI Broadcast.

Supplying products and complete solutions including hire, design, installation and commissioning of fibre based systems mainly to the TV and Radio industry, MI Broadcast  also manufacture custom fibre optic cable assemblies.  The ability to use the S-4000-3208 and the S-4000S-0832 as part of a digital, fibre optic system allows superior sound quality to be transmitted over long distances – ideal for outside broadcast and events.


For Arena’s Champions League productions, MI Broadcast supplied a tailored audio and video package using the Digital Snakes with a Telecast fibre optic video system and Tyco ethernet interface.  The Telecast Viper rack mount system was chosen for the job as it has the ability to transport 4 analogue videos on 2 cores (vision circuits).  The Tyco CAT5 to fibre interface integrates the Digital Snakes into the system - 2 of them for main and backup, again on 2 cores.

The S-4000-3208 and the S-4000S-0832 are used to send digital audio signals from the commentary box positions simultaneously to the studio and to the truck in the car park, sending the audio for both communications and for the live broadcast programme. Unlike an analog system where low-level microphone signals are boosted using a mic preamp only after the long journey down the analog snake, the S-4000 Series are equipped with high quality and remote controllable XR-1 pre-amps that boost the input gain right at the microphone, where the highest quality signal is found. This ensures that the audio will be of the best quality, avoiding any degradation and cross talk - and of course once the signal is in digital form, it is immune to analog cabling losses.  MI Broadcast also typically supplies TAC4 field deployable fibre optic cable, 2x 800m runs, main and redundant to go between the OB van and the studio within the stadium.


MI Broadcast houses the equipment (including the Digital Snakes) in flight cases together with a Roland S-4000R remote control. This allows, for example, the mic levels to be adjusted at a remote location such as from the truck.

‘The Digital Snake products have been received very well by our clients – they find them easy to use and a simple but quality solution’ Mackman added.

The S-4000S-0832 (8 inputs/32 outputs and redundant Ethernet connectors) and S-4000S-3208 (32 inputs/8 outputs and redundant Ethernet connectors) are both components of the S-4000 Digital Snake System. Each channel has remotely switchable Phantom Power as well as a 20 dB pad. The professional quality XR-1 mic preamps are remotely controllable in zipperless 1dB steps using the S-4000R Remote Controller or a Mac or PC using the free RCS software. The preamps have been designed for live sound applications and provide superb audio quality with 28 dB of headroom.