Thanks to its flexibility, Focusrite's RedNet technology is being implemented in an amazingly diverse range of applications. From single-unit laptop recording setups to multi-room studio environments, RedNet is a great-sounding, hassle-free and incredibly versatile audio interface system. One of the most innovative RedNet applications is as part of the digital audio systems that run most front-of-house (FOH) PA systems on large tours the world over. One such implementation is in the FOH rig of The Killers' world tour, where a RedNet 1 eight-channel A-D/D-A and RedNet 4 eight-channel mic preamp perform a number of duties for Systems Engineer Philip Reynolds. He made the decision to use RedNet in order to maintain the audio within the digital domain — A-D conversion takes place side-stage as soon as the mics plug into the stagebox — for as long as possible before conversion to analogue. It's this, says Philip, that keeps the audio quality world class.
His key responsibility is to set up the tour's state-of-the-art sound system to perform as well as possible and, because the venue changes on an almost daily basis, this is no mean feat. In order to do this, he uses audio analysis software coupled with a reference mic, to match the sound system response as closely as possible to the output of the FOH desk. RedNet handles all his inputs and outputs to facilitate that process, including the mic preamps for his highly sensitive audio test mic. Philip was amazed by the RedNet 4's preamp performance, having previously used the on-board preamps in a conventional audio interface. "I was blown away. The preamp is flat, and the phase coherence is perfect." Having this accuracy is of utmost importance for Philip, as his ability to make fine tweaks to the loudspeaker relies on the analysis software's precision.
RedNet 1 plays an equally important role, routing audio to and from his test system, but also to the FOH desk for house music playout and the drones that are used during the show's encore. This material comes from a pair of Mac Minis (one primary and one backup), which all connect to the RedNet network using the Audinate Dante Virtual Soundcard (DVS) driver. RedNet also handles the press and video feeds, as well as and venue needs, such as the hearing assist system for the hard of hearing. Because Philip uses his own gear on tour — rather than rental equipment — RedNet represents a significant personal investment. But the fact that he chose to use RedNet over other Dante-enabled gear reinforces RedNet's prowess in the live sound market. "Because it's mine, I know it works and that I'm going to have it where I go. RedNet does everything I want it to do and the expandability is endless with this setup. I rely on my system 100%, and it just works."
Over time, Philip intends to expand his RedNet system with an additional RedNet 1 and a Rednet 3 Digital I/O module, the latter of which will enable him to drive the sound system from RedNet.