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46 l August 2012

installationfeature Everything’s connected

An Optocore fibre loop forms a digital backbone with extensions based on SANE at Helsinki Svenska Theatre

networked world.” Nonetheless, concerns about sufficient quantities of compliant product have not completely drifted away. But if one perception has it

that networking is approaching an important crossroads, a cluster of live shows and installations over the past year suggests that some customers are busily projecting themselves into a fully interconnected future. With this in mind, PSNEurope decided it was high time to speak to some leading hire companies and manufacturers about recent landmark projects which, collectively, appear to illuminate the way towards a brave new era in which (more or less) everything’s connected.

THE RING CYCLE Amid the intensifying debate surrounding networking, the name of Optocore has come to

signal distribution to the amp racks, TTA Stagetracker localisation and Yamaha processing. DiGiCo consoles and d&b loudspeakers are also part of an installation which was carried out by locally-based integration firm Hedcom Oy and timed to coincide with the Finnish premiere of former ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson’s acclaimed musical, Kristina från Duvemåla. The installation is significant

for Optocore’s continuing evolution as both brand and technology. “It is one of the biggest systems provided by Optocore in the past year, and it is one of the first installations which utilises Optocore’s new 2.21 protocol,” says Optocore’s director of sales and marketing, Tine Helmle. “The system required a channel count which is higher than previously offered in

“At the moment we observe a huge revival of MADI as it is simple and commonly used by almost every digital audio equipment


The 2012 PSNLive industry survey pointed to some enduring ambivalence about the short- to mid-term impact of audio networking. But as David Davies reports, a recent cluster of ambitious live events and installations confirms that some people are now setting their sights very high indeed...

STAGNATION OR genuine, unstoppable momentum? During the past 12 months, it hasn’t always been easy to assess the progress of audio networking. On one hand, the number of project case studies issued by the leading manufacturers has continued to grow; on the other, anecdotal evidence has indicated continued uncertainty about the overall networking ‘roadmap’. The industry survey contained

in the recently published 2012 edition of PSNLive – PSNEurope’s annual live industry special publication – encapsulates this conflicted outlook. Invited to predict the likely impact of

networking on working practices over the next few years, an emphatic 72% of sound engineers said that it would have a major influence. However, in a separate part of the survey, the largest single share of venue operators (48%) declared networking as a day-to-day default to be ‘years away for us’. Several recent public events

have echoed these mixed signals. While a Future Trends Summit session at ISE in February confirmed the impressive progress made with regard to AVB (Audio/Video Bridging) standards, the confused nature of some questions from the floor

suggested an urgent need for more extensive industry education. More recently, the InfoComm pavilion overseen by AVB-promoting consortium the AVnu Alliance featured equipment from no fewer than 15 different manufacturers, all connected together through AVB-enabled Ethernet switches, passing audio, and being controlled by a third-party software application. As the AVnu Alliance’s Sheldon Radford observes: “This was a huge landmark and underscored the benefits of adopting an open standard. AVB is the open standard solution for the

assume ever-greater prominence. Developed by an eponymously- named German company, Optocore is a synchronous, redundant, optical ring network solution able to transport audio, video, data and word clock over long distances. An open platform system, Optocore produces a variety of modules that can be combined to offer considerable flexibility in terms of layout, channel count and signal type. Subtly but surely, Optocore has accrued a prestigious roll-call of installations worldwide, and in recent months the ring technology has been specified for one of its most challenging projects yet – at Helsinki’s Svenska Theatre. For this ambitious fit-out, an Optocore fibre loop forms a digital backbone with extensions based on SANE – Optocore’s Cat5- based synchronous protocol – for

Tine Helmle, Optocore

the Optocore 1Gb system. With the 2.21 protocol we doubled the bandwidth to two gigabits, and Svenska Theatre can now use up to 1,024 inputs and an unlimited number of outputs. This high channel count is required mainly because of the number of MADI interfaces used in the project; each MADI interface from Optocore provides two 64- channel MADI streams.” Helmle adds that Svenska is also one of the first users of the new Yamaha interface card Y3R-TP, which is designed to deliver seamless integration of Yamaha processing units via the aforementioned SANE protocol. Other installed sound projects

featuring the latest version of the 2Gb protocol are in the pipeline, but what of the technology’s development in the wider context of industry standardisation? “Optocore is an open platform

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