RedNet R1The growing popularity of gaming is seeing audio facilities flourish – particularly under the global pandemic and lockdowns. One such, G4F in the French city of Angoulême, ranks among Europe’s leading gaming production houses.

At G4F, designers find some of the most highly skilled and experienced professionals in the business. With Focusrite RedNet hardware throughout its multi-studio facility, everything game audio might require is available in one place.

‘Our clients and their projects demand expertise, speed, flexibility and highly collaborative workflows,’ explains G4F founder and creative lead, Vincent Percevault. ‘We had previously relied on Madi-compatible hardware to give us the ability to connect digitally across our rooms over long cable distances, but the arrival of the first Dante-equipped RedNet products in 2018 demonstrated very quickly how RedNet could offer a vastly more versatile and capable solution over our existing gigabit network.’

RedNet R1 at G4FG4F’s eight studios include three Dolby Atmos edit/mix rooms (Studios A, B and H), three audio and sound design suites (Studios D, E and G), and two recording spaces (Studios C and F). Between them, they can handle everything from music, dialogue and Foley recording to facial motion capture for syncing multi-language dialogue to game character animation. In-house creative staff number around 12, supported by a roster of freelancers.

Built on a network model, twin Mac and twin PC computing power is centralised and available to all the network connected rooms. Studios A and B additionally benefit from dedicated local Mac Pros. Multipoint KVM (keyboard, video display, mouse) hardware in Studios C to H, connected via a dedicated network, enable remote DAW operation so that users can effectively take control of any studio room from any workstation. In terms of each studio’s hardware, AoIP and Dante enable any item RedNet unit to be effectively available to any studio.

The RedNet R1 that features in Studios A, B and H is the most recent RedNet addition at G4F, and has significantly streamlined workflows at G4F, and significantly expanded the extent and variety of what is feasible. RedNet R1 is a Dante AoIP equipped monitor controller, that also handles configuration and management of RedNet sources, outputs, systems and sessions. Being an AoIP device itself, it is agnostic in terms of the location of the hardware and session under control – it might be located in the same room, the room next door or in a different building.

This level of versatility and deep system control dovetails into the needs at G4F for the rapid implementation of complex multichannel, multimedia sessions. The RedNet R1 also provides a hardware control alternative to many of the commonly used features in the Focusrite RedNet Control software app, and provides the intuitive immediacy of buttons, rotary knobs and displays that keyboard, mouse and pointer interfaces lack for some users.

The RedNet R1 that features in Studios A, B and HRedNet R1 offers control of monitor output systems ranging from mono to 7.1.4 multichannel and includes Dolby Atmos. Alternatively, non-standard configurations of up to 12 outputs can be created for custom monitor systems – bespoke object-orientated mixes for example. It can be used to control and route groups of outputs from multiple RedNet sources, analogue inputs and outputs, Adat and S/PDIF I/O, and from an entire Dante AoIP network, all simultaneously and interchangeably.

Top-panel hardware controls include level, reference level, preset selection, cut, dim, mute and a variety of solo modes. There’s also A/B functionality for switching between multiple monitoring presets and up to four fold-down presets that enable quick downmixed performance and compatibility checks.

These immersive creation and production possibilities are epecially well suited the development of game audio. Immersive, object-orientated audio, such as Dolby Atmos, in games had a relatively slow start, but more recently has become a significant part of the experience. This, in turn, feeds back to game designers and invites further ambition – which itself demands rapidly advancing technical capabilities and versatility in audio production. These factors play to the strengths of RedNet and AoIP, where complex and very low latency signal routing is made simple, and where system expansion is made easy.

For many audio professionals, however, AoIP, Dante and RedNet still constitute a completely new way of working that presents some challenges of education and familiarity…

‘There’s a learning curve for sure but we find people grasp the principles pretty quickly – and, although mistakes can be made, they tend to be similar each time so are easy to fix,’ says Percevault, ‘Most often, if something goes wrong, we find either the network clocking or routing configuration needs a simple tweak, and then things run smoothly. One of the benefits of the R1 is that it adds a layer of intuitive hardware control over the RedNet Control and Dante Controller apps, and that really helps us work more instinctively and creatively.’

But, he says: ‘The real magic of Dante and RedNet is that we can control any workstation from any room, and route multiple audio channels, live or recorded, with effectively no latency, to wherever it’s needed. It’s a workflow capability that would have been unimaginable only ten years ago, but which Dante and RedNet make easy.’


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