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Focusrite RedNet Helps Appalachian State University Simplify a Complex Signal Routing Scheme

2/17/2017 11:06 AM

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RedNet helps to tame this intricate, state-of-the-art facility in a way that maximizes its potential and minimizes its complexity

Los Angeles, CA – The Robert F. Gilley Recording Studio, part of the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, is a multi-million-dollar recording facility featuring four independent control rooms, 13 edit stations, three recording spaces on two separate floors and what is widely regarded as the largest and most diverse collection of professional audio gear at any public university in the entire state. Between those two floors, the music production and engineering program at the school synergizes classic and modern professional audio models: The first floor recording spaces are connected to the Recital Hall and Rosen Concert Hall performance spaces, and its equipment complement is focused on more of the industry’s classic and legendary vintage equipment. The fourth floor's main commercial recording facilities focus more on modern equipment from the latest innovators of quality gear on the market. Both control rooms and all of the recording spaces operate nearly 24/7 as teaching and production environments. However, copper connections in this kind of situation have proven to be cumbersome and unreliable. The solution: Focusrite RedNet suite of Dante™-networked audio converters and interfaces, allowing the school to move virtually the entire recording operation to a Dante network.

Purchased through re-seller Vintage King earlier this year, the system involves three RedNet MP8R 8-channel remote-controlled microphone preamplifiers and A/D; three RedNet A16R 16-Channel Analog I/O’s; two RedNet A8R 8-Channel Analog I/O’s; a RedNet D64R 64-channel MADI bridge; and a RedNet AM2 Stereo Audio Monitoring Unit. This was an initial phase of what will eventually be a complete conversion to digital networking.

“We also intend to replace our live sound technology platforms with RedNet in the near future, as well,” notes Scott Wynne, Chief Recording Engineer and Associate Professor at the Hayes School of Music. “But the studios are the first priority. Using RedNet, we were able to implement a Dante-enabled digital audio network on top of the MADI infrastructure we already had in place. That meant we could greatly improve our signal transport without disrupting our teaching or our other operations.”

Wynne points to the D64R as an example of how precisely RedNet fits their needs. The D64R provides the necessary link between a Dante Ethernet-based audio system and any MADI/AES10 setup. D64R supports up to 64 channels of both coaxial and optical MADI interfaces and is completely bi-directional, allowing the use of any Dante or MADI components with a Dante system. Another instance is the RedNet D16R AES, which features 16 channels of AES/EBU connectivity to and from the Dante audio network, perfect for bridging between digital consoles, power amplifiers or any other AES3-equipped audio equipment and any Dante network. Wynne points out that the RedNet D16R has sample rate conversion capability on each input pair, allowing plug-and-play operation with any AES3 source. In addition, Word Clock I/O and DARS (Digital Audio Reference Signal) connections allow synchronization with a wide range of external sources and hardware, while S/PDIF I/O allows the integration of equipment such as CD or solid-state recorders/players. “This RedNet setup was the perfect solution for letting us simultaneously access our more vintage pieces of outboard equipment, like our Lexicon digital reverb and Bricasti Designs M7M reverb, without encountering clock or sample-rate conversion issues,” he explains. “Trying to keep the studios able to run different sample rates without having clock problems was a challenge before RedNet.”

Wynne says the relationship he’s developed with Focusrite through RedNet — Focusrite is a sponsor of the Aspen Music Festival and School, which Wynne has been working with for several years — has been priceless, helping him choose exactly the right RedNet units to solve complex signal-transport challenges. “RedNet makes the studios more efficient, but it also lets our students become better prepared to address those same challenges that they’re going to encounter in their careers when they leave here,” he says. “On both of those fronts, RedNet offers the best solution of anything else in the market for our needs.”

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