When Calrec introduced its first IP radio product several years ago, the company began to look for switch manufacturers whose products would pair well with new and future IP-based product releases, starting with its Type R modular, expandable, IP-based mixing system.
Type R’s flexible IP core enables users to take advantage of a cost-effective SMPTE ST 2110-compliant IP backbone to implement modern broadcast workflows. To demonstrate the operation and benefits of Type R effectively, Calrec needed to match Type R with just the right switch, ideally a smaller, high-performance switch. Artel’s Quarra PTP 10-Gbps Ethernet switch fit the bill. In fact, the fit was so good that Calrec since has incorporated the Quarra into many of its demo kits — usually a small-format Type R console along with two 10-port switches for redundancy — and has even specified and sold the switch along with its audio consoles. The company has also brought Quarra into the Calrec lab to support testing and verification of product designs during the development process.
“In most cases, vendors put boxes together after they’ve already been released,” says Dave Letson, vice president of sales at Calrec. “But in our experience, especially in working with partners such as Artel, the collaborative work we do to ensure interoperability across our companies’ products gives our shared customers the enormous benefit of getting new deployments up and running quickly. Because we’ve already verified scenarios that users might see in their real-world operations, there are fewer unknowns or unexpected issues.”
As Calrec continues to roll out additional IP products, Artel’s evolving switch line continues to complement those solutions. So, the Quarra switch has become a go-to solution not only for Type R, but also for Calrec’s newer ImPulse audio processing and routing engine, which offers AES67 and SMPTE 2110 connectivity and support for NMOS discovery and connection management. For the first showing of ImPulse at IBC 2018, Calrec used the Quarra to connect systems during the on-booth demo. In addition to providing exceptionally accurate PTP timing, the Quarra switch comes with documentation and training support to simplify network design.
“With so many different parameters and different network configurations, it’s great to be able to set up and show systems that are at the ideal starting point and absolutely rock solid,” says Letson. “That’s what we do with the factory demo room. We’re using a Sonifex PTP clock and Quarra switches in a spine-and-leaf setup to showcase the Type R redundant system, the ImPulse configuration, and other Calrec solutions together in the best possible light.”
Because Calrec engineers know the Artel product well and can count on it for reliable performance, they use it as the foundation not just for development and demos, but also for validating the solution on-site prior to installation. The Calrec team can quickly demonstrate that the Calrec solution works as intended by connecting the Calrec equipment to a Quarra network prior to connecting the solution to an existing IP infrastructure
For a variety of customers who simply don’t want to take on the work of network configuration and network design, Calrec does the job for them. Artel’s Quarra is an easy choice in many cases, and Calrec has wound up selling quite a few 10-port Quarra switches as part of larger system designs.
“Often when a customer is just replacing an audio console and not their entire building infrastructure, they’re not interested in dealing with the networking side of the project,” adds Letson. “In truth, it’s better for us when we undertake that work because we know that the switches and network are configured correctly, and we know everything is going to work.”
Collaboration between Calrec and Artel has helped the companies’ customers to deploy and leverage IP-based audio systems quickly and effectively. Their partnership shows how closer collaboration among vendors can go far in harnessing the power and flexibility of IP to address evolving market needs.