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Focusrite Turns To Pro


11 August 2017

Rich Nevens has come on board this year as Focusrite’s head of pro sales. Effectively he’s Mr RedNet or the RedNet Czar if you like. Rich is a serial monogamist in the world of pro audio. After a stint as an almost-pop star in the ’80s, Rich headed up a nascent Euphonix sales division in the exciting early CS2000 period. After 12 years with Euphonix, Rich moved to Digidesign to give Digi’s first control surfaces some pro clout. After 13 years with Digidesign/Avid, Rich was asked by Focusrite CEO Tim Corroll to take on a similar role: expand the company’s pro presence and the sales of its pro RedNet interfaces.

Of course, RedNet is Focusrite speak for Dante. And as Rich gets around the traps he’s encountering people who know all about Dante or all about Focusrite but not always both.

Rich Nevens: A lot of people are not quite sure why Dante is good for their workflow. They know it’s something to do with ethernet, but they can’t see why they’d want to put their audio on the network. But, of course, RedNet and Dante open up a whole new world of flexibility and expandability. Where most other systems will have limitations regarding how much I/O you have and where you can have it, our new RedNet products allows you to set up high quality, headphone amps in various locations, for example. Or you might be interfacing with a Pro Tools system in one room and be able to lasso some cool preamps you have in another overdub space you wouldn’t normally be able to leverage. So there are many reasons why you might want to move projects or to ingest audio in different locations… and it’s easy to do with RedNet in any modern facility with a network. 

AV Asia Pacific: Traditionally, putting audio on a network is about convenience rather than audio quality.

Rich Nevens: And people often refuse to believe you can pump dozens of channels of high quality audio on an ethernet cable without inducing unworkable latency. The reality is that with our implementation the round trip latency is only 1.5ms, which is as good as any pro (local) interface you’re likely to use. The sound quality is excellent as well. The product’s been around long enough for the jury to be in on that count.

AV Asia Pacific: What’s your brief?

Rich Nevens: We’ve had good success with RedNet in certain markets. Larger churches in the US for example. The Education market as well, where you have multiple students and using RedNet to distribute audio at will to any and all of those locations. 

My focus will be on areas such as the post production market, broadcast and live sound. It’s about taking the message of RedNet to a wider pro audio community.

Some of the new features of the second generation of RedNet are directly addressing pro users’ needs in mission critical roles. For example, we’re now more space efficient (dropping from 2U to a 1U chassis), and you’ll now find a redundant power supply, and redundant RedNet Dante port. Dante’s Domain manager is addressing security concerns — protecting your audio on the network and allowing various levels of access privileges. They’re the sorts of concerns post houses and broadcast studio have. 

AV Asia Pacific: Going all the way back to Rupert Neve, Focusrite is famous because of the sound of its preamps and audio circuits. What’s the special sauce now?

Rich Nevens: Focusrite remains a company that’s passionate about audio and engineering great-sounding, solid audio solutions. In the RedNet pro sphere we’ve built a complete range of interfaces that make for a truly scaleable solution… and flexible thanks to the combination of Dante, analogue mic pres, along with the Digilink and Thunderbolt ports.


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