Clearwing Productions Selects Focusrite

Clearwing Productions acquired eight RedNet D16R AES rack-mount Dante interfaces, part of the full line of RedNet Dante network devices from Focusrite, nearly a year ago.

The D16R units have transformed how the company is able to move digital audio around for clients ranging from one troupe of the famed Blue Man Group to the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado. 

Three RedNet D16R units (along with three RedNet 1 eight channel A-D/D-A interfaces and one RedNet 2 sixteen-channel A-D/D-A interface) reside at the Blue Man Theater at Luxor hotel and casino in Las Vegas, where Clearwing Productions was the systems integrator for the theater’s new sound system designed by Marcus Ross. 

At the World Ski Championships, the D16R was charged with transporting live audio around the entire event area, which hosted athletes from over 70 nations who were seen by a worldwide television audience approaching 1 billion and an onsite media and broadcast entourage of approximately 1,500 over the course of 13 days and two weekends last February.

“That was our first big deployment of RedNet,” says Trevor Powers, audio technician with Clearwing Productions and on the World Ski Championships, second only to the Olympics in scale for skiing.

“The D16Rs’ main role is to distribute AES audio from the front-of-house consoles to the speaker clusters. Dante-driven audio systems are what clients are asking for, and RedNet’s Dante compatibility and the quality of the sound of the Focusrite D-to-A conversions made the D16R the only choice, really. Focusrite is known for how well they perform conversions, and D16R is no exception.”

Powers says the sound had to be transported between five discrete event zones on the mountain. The system was fully digital, running on single-mode fiber.

“They required us to be able to accommodate AES audio from the stages to the consoles, and then from the consoles to the amplifiers, and make the conversions at those points,” says Powers. “We also had to be able to add satellite mixing locations at the base of the ski hill that were used to play national anthems. The RedNet D16R made the interfaces simple and reliable, which is critical in that kind of environment, and they made the audio sound great. Thanks to the Dante connectivity, we could literally plug into the network at any point using the D16Rs. Having these has really changed the way we work. RedNet and networked audio is the way to go.”

Jamie Earle, chief engineer at Clearwing Productions, says that as good as RedNet sounds, it’s also been simple to integrate into the company’s inventory and workflow.

“It’s handy in that you simply plug it in and it works,” he states. “It’s not software-driven, so there’s no scrolling through pages. Plug it in and you’re on the network.” As a result, the company’s staff were all brought up to speed on RedNet quickly. He continues, “Compared to the complexity of some of the network solutions out there, RedNet was simple yet completely effective.”

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