The What: Radial Engineering has unveiled its Radial Catapult, a four channel audio snake that lets users send analog and AES digital audio signals over standard cat-5 shielded twisted pair cable.
The What Else: Using cat-5 enables system contractors to take advantage of pre-wired networks to connect one room to another and allows stage techs to take advantage of the relatively low cost of the abundantly available cable for return snakes or for transporting channels of balanced audio across a large stage.
Available in six configurations, the Catapult features a choice of three input modules and three output modules. Each input module features four XLR inputs along with two Neutrik Ethercon outputs and four additional XLR outputs. Output modules feature Ethercon input, throughput and two sets of XLR outputs. These may be ordered without transformers for sub snakes or to transmit AES audio signals; with mic isolation transformers for signal splitting between FOH, monitors or the recording system; or with line level isolation transformers to eliminate system noise. A ground lift switch is available at each end for the Ethernet cable connection to help eliminate hum and buzz caused by ground loops.
The Catapult design relies on a heavy steel construction made to handle the rigours of live touring along with a heavy duty powder coat finish to keep the Catapult unit looking good for the long haul. A Protective bar around the connectors keeps things safe while providing a handle for carrying.
The Bottom Line: Prices have yet to be finalized. Delivery anticipated by December 2015.