The Focusrite RedNet system is best known for its ability to operate very high channel counts at extremely low latencies over a standard gigabit Ethernet network, making it ideal for applications such as multi-room recording studios, post-production facilities and educational institutes. But it also has great benefits for mobile recording engineers, due to its flexibility, reliability and portability.
Matthew Weiner is one such engineer who has recently adopted the RedNet 2 as his main recording interface. RedNet 2 is a 16-channel A-D/D-A converter which very simply provides 16 line-level inputs and 16 line-level outputs to a RedNet system in a 2U package. Matthew works in a variety of situations, from home recording spaces and rehearsal studios to concert halls, where he records live classical and jazz music performances. His system comprises a well-specified Lenovo laptop running Adobe Audition and Cockos Reaper software applications, with his RedNet 2 and some rackmounted mic preamps in a rolling 6U rack case.
In studio applications, setup is straightforward: Matthew mics up the musicians he's recording, sets the gains on his mic pres, plugs the RedNet 2 directly into his computer using a standard Cat-6/RJ45 network cable, assigns his inputs and outputs in software, and presses record. Audio comes directly into his computer via Audinate's Dante Virtual Soundcard (DVS) driver and it appears just like any other interface.
In live environments, RedNet really shines. "In the venue, we use a Yamaha DM1000 mixer with the optional Dante card, which allows us to stream RedNet's digital audio straight to the mixer. The RedNet 2 acts as a stage box in a 6U rolling rack, complete with 16 channels of mic preamps and a gigabit Ethernet switch. It stays within a few feet of the musicians, but I can be 200ft away and still drop the audio right into the laptop and/or the mixer — depending upon complexity and requirements on the day. RedNet has opened me up to much more work in larger venues and never renting a big heavy analog snake again. It is the right product at the right time from guys I trust."
Matthew values his investment in RedNet immensely, as it has given him much greater flexibility in terms of infrastructure and logistics while maintaining professional-quality sound. "My RedNet 2's new best friend is 238 feet of Belden Cat-6/RJ45 cable, which cost $36, and an $8 wire reel from my local hardware store. The weight of that reel versus the 75-foot snake I used to rent is fractional, and it's more than three times as long and has almost double the capacity! Set up time is tiny, and the result is that I don’t have to work in tons of cartage and set up time so I can ultimately deliver my services at a lower cost to the artist."
RedNet 2's sonic qualities are on-point, too, says Matthew: "The bottom line is that it works and it sounds great, and they're the only things that matter. I’ve always thought that invisibility was the goal in terms of the sound, and that’s exactly how it’s worked out so far. In my simplest configuration I can roll in to any venue with a tiny rolling rack and some mics, be really far from the stage and work it all from my laptop. No brainer, right?"