Blur play Wembley Stadium
UK - Entec Live has extended its investment in Optocore fibre network devices, expanding its Record and Returns racks capabilities - thereby future-proofing them for the growing roster of arena, stadium and festival events they are undertaking.
This was after the production company had invested in its first three M8-BNC MADI switches for the Gorillaz world tour early last year. Supplied by Optocore dealer, HD Pro Audio, the devices were designed to help optimise their Pro Tools rig, enabling connectivity with their Optocore-enabled DiGiCo SD7 digital consoles.
This year they added a further M8-BNC, but equally significantly five X6R-FX-16AE interfaces (one with SRC sample rate conversion option, the other four without), creating an Optocore PA Returns rack that will become their de facto system for shows over the next year. Again, the order was fulfilled by HD Pro Audio.
Explaining the systematic upgrade, Entec Live technical manager, Peter Eltringham, said, “Gorillaz - and by extension Blur - now have a Record rack that sits on the Opto loop with the two consoles - and allows them to do virtual soundcheck; they can multitrack record the whole gig, and can listen to play back at both ends of the multicore.
The Pro Tools record rig has a capability of 196 channels at 96K, and Entec Live deployed three M8’s to get the channel count required. There was no point getting the devices with more BNC connectors because you can’t use them in that set-up so we bought three of the M8 units and they’ve been absolutely great.” This was extended with the addition of a further M8-BNC this summer.
As for the deployment of the new X6R converters, these made their debut with Blur at their two recent Wembley Stadium shows. Eltringham explains that the four devices without SRC provide AES output in the amp racks. “Two AES units in each amp rack provide hardware redundancy, over and above the redundant power and loop topology that Optocore units provide. This means our backup signal to the amplifiers is the same as our main, maintaining audio quality.
“The design for the amp racks was never to have signal coming in, so they didn’t require SRC; however, the other one at FOH is effectively the ‘ingest’ for the system and does have sample rate conversion; this can handle different incoming signals without a problem and feeds it out to the units in the amp racks.”
“It’s really the entire backbone for distribution, with a DirectOut Prodigy which is the drive system that sits on top of it,” adds Entec head of sound, Dan Scantlebury. “So we can run AES out of that into the SRC-enabled device.” The SRC-equipped converter gives them the ability to use various different processors. We’re not locked to just using the Prodigy, we can use Lakes, we can use Newtons, whatever we want really on the same fibre backbone.”
Entec took over The Other Stage at Glastonbury this year and the new Optocore drive system will be deployed there next year - as well as many other sites.
Peter Eltringham continues: “This is the start for us, and in time we can tack more things onto the loop. Although this time around at Wembley we used just AES to talk to the delay amplifiers, in future iterations we could easily add in some extra devices and extend the loop.”

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