Due to its flexibility, Focusrite’s RedNet audio I/O technology is being implemented in a diverse range of applications. From single-unit laptop recording setups to multi-room studio environments, RedNet has become a popular audio interface system. One of the highest-profile implementations of RedNet to date is the front-of-house rig for 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 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 analog. It’s this, according to Reynolds, that keeps the audio quality high.
His key responsibility is to set up the tour’s sound system to perform as well as possible. And, because the venue changes on an almost daily basis, this is no easy feat. 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 front-of-house desk. RedNet handles all his inputs and outputs to facilitate that process. RedNet 1 plays a crucial 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 Dante Virtual Soundcard (DVS) driver. RedNet also handles the press and video feeds, as well as any venue needs, such as the hearing assist system for the hard of hearing.
For his test rig, Reynolds was amazed by the RedNet 4′s preamp performance, having previously used the on-board preamps in a conventional Firewire audio interface. “I was blown away. The RedNet 4’s preamp is flat, and the phase coherence is perfect.” Having this accuracy is of utmost importance for Reynolds, as his ability to make fine tweaks to the loudspeakers relies on the analysis software’s precision.
Because Reynolds uses his own gear on tour—rather than rental equipment—the RedNet system represents a significant personal investment. But the fact that he chose to use RedNet over other Dante-enabled gear reinforces RedNet’s sound quality.