Engineering Service, Inc.
At NAB 2015 Calrec announced two compact format aluminium expansion units that can be used to expand and distribute your Hydra 2 network.
The new Fieldbox range of small format I/O units bring the advantages of Calrec’s Hydra2 stage box to rugged environments and areas where rack space is at a premium. These 1u half rack units are ideally suited to working in Outside Broadcast environments where I/O needs to be spread over a large area, like a golf course. The Fieldboxes can be located and distributed exactly where they are needed, using just two high capacity network cables for full redundancy. This allows for significant savings on rigging time and cabling costs, as well as reducing cable storage and transport.
The locational flexibility goes even further as the units can not only be powered by an AC feed, but also by an industry standard battery pack. Minimising the analogue cable distance mic level signals are carried which reduces the noise and interference picked up, improving overall audio performance.
“Fieldbox applications are not limited to outside broadcast, they can benefit any fixed or
temporary installation where a small number of analogue inputs and/or outputs are required in a specific location, such as control room monitor feeds, small studios and voice-over booths,” says Calrec Product Manager Peter Walker.
“The Fieldbox functions just like any other Hydra2 I/O box, providing remote control over input settings that utilise Hydra2’s sophisticated sharing, protection and access management system along with active status monitoring, and a backup Hydra2 network connection.”
“Most significantly, the Fieldbox has been designed to support future Audio over IP connectivity for use with shared IP networks,” adds Peter. “AoIP is a hot topic at the moment, but committing to a single format at this time is a real risk for our client base. We have integrated into the Fieldbox design the functionality to insert an optional AoIP sub-card. This will allow our clients to upgrade to an AoIP format in the future, and still have access to all the protections built into the Calrec protocol. At this time we are talking with several manufacturers about this development, and future proofing our clients I/O investment.”
To add further distribution flexibility to a Hydra2 network, Calrec have developed the H2Hub. Like the Fieldbox, the H2Hub uses the same compact form factor to provide a hub or switch point for your Hydra 2 network. A single connection from the router can then be switched via H2Hub to multiple I/O units, and indeed another H2Hub if further I/O distribution is required. The hub’s connection and distribution options make them ideal for forming ad hoc networks, especially when combined with the Fieldboxes and other Calrec I/O infrastructure.
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