Novatech completes switch to AES with Optocore

Australian rental staging company Novatech has bought a series of Optocore X6R-FX converters with AES I/O to upgrade from analogue to digital signal transmission.

The firm has been a user of Optocore systems since 2012. “At the time we were looking for a solution that would transport multiple channels of audio as sends and returns. Due to the nature of the particular event, we also needed something that could be quickly cabled after a series of road closures," said Novatech’s project manager (audio), James Sacca. "The multimode fibre made this an easy task. We were more than happy with the reliability and performance that Optocore products offered and our system design engineers have continued to utilise Optocore products ever since.

“We had been researching options on how best to utilise the AES inputs on our L-Acoustics rig by doing something that other companies weren’t. We pride ourselves on being able to offer the highest quality solution, and running a standard AES cable from FOH to feed our LA8’s didn’t feel like the best way to do it. We also wanted to couple the move to AES with our recent purchase of an L-Acoustics K2 system to offer our clients the absolute best in audio quality.”

Optocore was picked for its stability and flexibility following a period of extensive research and demonstrations.

The new set-up is configured as 16 x AES inputs housed in front-of-house drive racks. Fibre is run to stage left and right, where another X6R-FX converter at each point is also configured as 16 x AES outputs.

The team were able to boost the system even further with a bit of customisation. “We were happy with all the functionality except for when the fibre connection was lost. The LA8’s would not revert to analogue fall back mode because they were still receiving an AES stream from the Optocore system – this resulted in the audio being completely cut," Sacca continued.

“With the help of L-Acoustics, the Optocore team was able to design a custom firmware version which rectified the issue. This means that we can run analogue and AES simultaneously with the system automatically switching over if the fibre connection is lost."

Optocore also offered in-depth technical training to all of Novatech’s senior audio technicians.

The system debuted at the Stereosonic Music Festival (pictured) and has been used for various concerts, festivals and events since.

Sacca concluded: “Since commissioning our new system design it has been a game changer when it comes to handling long distance audio and DMX cable runs. There hasn’t been a touring engineer who hasn’t complimented us on the quality of the audio in our concert systems, post the switch to AES.”

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