Calrec has released two compact expansion units for expansion and distribution of a Hydra2 network.

Calrec FieldboxThe Fieldbox range of small-format I/O boxes brings Calrec’s Hydra2 stagebox to environments and areas where rack space is at a premium. The 1U-high half-rack units are suited for work in OB environments where I/O resources need to be spread over a large area. Fieldboxes can be located where they are needed using two high-capacity network cables for full redundancy. This set-up promises significant savings in rigging time and cabling costs, and it reduces cable storage and transport needs. The units can be powered by an AC feed or, alternatively, by an industry-standard battery pack.

‘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 is required in a specific location, such as in small studios, voiceover booths, and control rooms for monitor feeds,’ says Calrec Product Manager, Peter Walker. ‘The Fieldbox functions just like any other Hydra2 I/O box, providing remote control over input settings that use Hydra2’s sharing, protection and access management, along with active status monitoring and a backup Hydra2 network connection.’

To provide further flexibility for a Hydra2 network, Calrec has also developed the H2Hub. This has the same compact form factor as the Fieldbox to provide a hub or switch point for a Hydra2 network. A single connection from the router can then be switched via the H2Hub to multiple I/O units, or to multiple H2Hubs if further I/O distribution is required. The H2Hub’s connection and distribution options suit them to ad hoc networks, especially when combined with Fieldboxes and other Calrec I/O infrastructure.

‘Most significantly, the Fieldbox has been designed to support future audio-over-IP connectivity for use with shared IP networks,’ Walker adds. ‘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 subcard. 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.’


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