The beginnings of the Optocore company date back to 1993. It was founded by Marc Brunke together with Tine Helmle and it was then, that the first network solutions aimed towards the professional audio market were developed. Further stages of development of new and innovative products, as well as establishment of business contacts in the industry enabled the company to grow dynamically.
Today Optocore products are used all over the world and find application in various installations (stadiums, recording studios, theaters, etc.). The company’s headquarters is situated in Munich, where a highly developed R&D department and production lines are located. It is important that the entire design and production process takes place in Germany. Optocore also does not forget about support and a system of advanced training courses. Optocore Certification Training (OCT) is a special training cycle organized with partners around the world. The company’s mission is to provide the client with products which are the best in their class at a reasonable price, as well as professional technical support. Please take a look at our interview with Maciek Janiszewski (Applications Engineering Manager) from Optocore, with whom we talked about the company’s development and new products in its offer.
Multimediav: Maciek, to start with, tell me how you came to be at the Optocore company?
Maciek Janiszewski [Optocore]: I studied electronics with specialization of acoustics/sound engineering. During studies I did Cisco networking course as a backup plan and at some point I recognized that audio systems and networks are not so far from each other. I knew Optocore from Wroclaw Opera house and I knew it was one of the best network system in the world. I always wanted to join them and work in the international environment. I moved to Munich and this is how my great adventure with Optocore started.
Have you worked in Poland as an audio engineer before?
Yes, right after graduating university I started in M.Ostrowski, polish system integrator and distributor, as engineer and designer. It was great experience, work with very talented people on challenging polish market. Many people from M.Ostrowski work now with international manufacturers.
What is the work structure at the company?
We are a great team. The most important thing is that we all do what we love and we have a lot of fun with it. We have closely cooperating Sales, Marketing and Application Engineering teams. My department – Application Engineering – works closely also with R&D and Product Management, being sort of a technical bridge between them and Sales.
Are you responsible for technical support?
I am responsible for tech support and application engineering. Whenever customer has a technical question me and my team are the ones to answer it. I also help to design Optocore systems, perform demo to potential customers. The big part of the job are Trade Shows – we have at least 3/4 major shows every year where we show complex system setups and several smaller ones which also require presence from the tech department. I also do some hands-on job with commissioning of larger systems. Finally I supervise training program and manage a team of Application Engineers.
What solutions will we find in your offer today?
Currently we offer wide range of solutions. We are the first one providing pure fiber network for various applications, offering the great know-how and experience – we have started with audio over fiber more than 20 years ago.
The big advantage of Optocore is close cooperation with multiple manufacturers – consoles, loudspeakers, intercoms. Thanks to this we can be truly open platform which connect everything.
In our product portfolio you can find analog interfaces with Mic In, Line IN and Line Out; and digital – MADI and AES/EBU. Additionally we build interfaces for other manufacturers, i.e. intercom connectivity or direct loudspeaker card or Yamaha console card. One of our largest partners in terms of quantity is Digico – whenever you see Digico console with fiber – it is Optocore ring.
The very important part of our business is very close cooperation with BroaMan – we share multiple resources like technical knowledge, R&D and workforce. Thanks to this we can offer a complete fiber network solution, not only for audio and data but also adding professional 3G-SDI or even 4k video.
I’m interested in what installations we can see your products. Which signal transmission technology are you based on?
Our products are deployed in the largest events like Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies, huge tours like Coldplay, the most prominent installations – Accors Arena in Paris and National Forum of Music in Poland, as well as broadcast stations like NBC or ITV.
We can do huge and complex systems as well as very basic ones with just two devices on each end which require just simple conversion from analog or digital audio to fiber.
Our technology is based on TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) over redundant fiber ring. Within one ring we have up to 1024 inputs which can be routed to unlimited number of outputs. We were always focused on great sonic performance therefore our systems are not only powerful in terms of flexibility and scalability, but they also sound great. With network digital protocols the important factor is system latnecy – we are leading here with 41,6 microsecond (yes, 0,04 millisecond).
Is MADI a reliable multi-channel signal transmission technology?
Definitely. MADI has been on the market for years and with all of those new network protocols disappearing after couple of years MADI remains stable keeps on being used in every modern system. The main advantages of MADI is that this is open standard – every manufacturer can implement it. Also the implementation itself is quite simple, therefore it is so popular in every professional product.
From the user point of view the simplicity and reliability are the main factor – you just plug a single cable to exchange 128 channels – there is no need to be a network expert to make system up and running in seconds. In fact Optocore took a lot from MADI idea. Our platform is based on MADI streams – we add reliable networking and intelligence to the open standard.
Let’s talk about new products. Is the M Series the absolute top of the line?
In terms of channel count it is definitely the most powerful series we have even created. It was implemented when we recognized that MADI routing becomes more and more popular, mainly in broadcast market, but also in installations and live sound – multiple MADI streams are necessary for modern playback and recording.
Can you elaborate on the concept of the project?
We have still in our offer very successful DD2FR-FX and DD4MR-FX with dual MADI ports. We recognized that in many applications two ports are not enough therefore we designed 4 and 8-port device. As we always want to be future-proof and fully flexible there are several board combinations available offering fiber MADI, BNC MADI or a mixture.
Are there several models comprising the entire series?
We have M8 with 4 dual MADI ports. It comes either in fiber version or BNC version. Then the biggest devices is M12 with 8 dual MADI where we have a selection of BNC or fiber or mixed fiber and BNC ports. With those 5 different options we fit to most applications.
Where can the M series find practical applications?
The most beautiful thing with M-series is that each of the devices mentioned before can operate as a standalone single-channel MADI router. Optocore was always considered as a large network, with M-series we enter new markets where there is a need only for routing, not necessarily fiber transport. Of course M-series can be also a part of larger Optocore system.
Regarding applications, as I mentioned before, currently many playback and recording machines offer MADI connectivity. M-Series is perfect to integrate it with other equipment. Additionally M-series is quite common in broadcast stations and theaters where the complete signal distribution is based on MADI – our routers provide not only single-channel routing but also complete MADI stream bridging, therefore they can replace manual MADI cable patchbay.