NAB Perspectives: Stagetec’s Rusty Waite on Audio Routers

Stagetec USA has lots of products on display at the NAB Show, but, when you ask Stagetec USA President Rusty Waite what the two or three most important products might be, he says, “Routers, routers, and routers.”

He believes that U.S. broadcasters have some catching up to do with their European counterparts when it comes to managing the rapidly proliferating number of audio input sources and increasing number of remote nodes on sports broadcasts.

“This is an infrastructure issue, and it needs to be addressed soon,” he stresses. “You can’t cover bigger and bigger sports events by just adding miles and miles of more copper cable. There needs to be a fiber-based system that’s scalable that can cover it all as a single system, and that’s what a router like Nexus can do: let multiple users access multiple points on the system from anywhere and access any source.”

Waite says he has seen several examples of how signal routing in general has lagged here, including the use of as many as four separate signal-routing systems at the NBA All-Star Game broadcast. He allows for the fact that European broadcasters work with a very different economic culture than do their U.S. counterparts, which affects strategic purchasing decisions. So that means, he believes, that the challenge is to raise awareness of the router as a central processing engine for broadcast, rather then the traditional view of the console in that role.

“The router/console combination has been proven in the field many times now,” says Waite. “Getting the infrastructure right is so important and can save lots of time and money in the future. Consoles that offer only limited I/O platforms and do not allow access to their resources from multiple users will not be the future. The hard part is raising awareness, getting people to see what we’re doing.”

He says recent developments in audio networking — Stagetec is developing a card for Audinate’s Dante digital audio-network system so the Nexus can communicate with other Dante-compatible equipment, such as Yamaha and TC Electronic — and the introduction of the AVB transport standard will help with raising awareness of the role the router can play in a more complex sports-broadcast landscape.

“An education process needs to take place,” he says. “But I think it’s inevitable that it’s going to go this way.”