Radial Engineering is shipping its SW8-USB auto-switching USB playback interface. The SW8-USB is an eight-channel device designed primarily for live concerts where backing tracks are used to reinforce the performance. Should your primary playback source suffer a failure or dropout, the SW8-USB can switch to a backup source to prevent any negative effects on the performance. This switching can be done automatically by the SW8-USB or it can be performed manually using a switch on the front panel or by remote control.
Typical playback systems require a computer as the digital audio source, along with an audio interface in order to provide analog audio outputs to feed the PA system. For a redundant playback system, the list of equipment required is doubled: two computers and two audio interfaces to pair with them. One of the advantages that the SW8-USB provides over this typical setup is that it allows you to connect directly to your playback computers over USB, eliminating the need for additional audio interfaces which in turn reduces the weight and cost of your redundant system.
The SW8-USB is equipped with two USB connectors and pristine 24bit/192kHz digital audio converters that provide eight channels of high-quality audio playback over balanced XLR outputs. Designed to feed the PA system, these mic-level outputs are transformer isolated to eliminate noise from ground loops, and they can also be set to line-level operation. Additional line-level outputs are provided for local monitoring of your playback signals, with the choice of DB25 or 1/4” TRS connections. In addition to passing audio over USB, the SW8-USB is also able to function as a MIDI interface: providing you with the ability to use the SW8-USB with show control systems to trigger lighting or video cues, or to control and synchronize audio playback on your primary and backup computers. For larger shows that require more than eight channels of audio playback, up to three SW8-USB units can be linked together for a total of 24 output channels. All the specs are here.
Check out a video of the SW8-USB auto-switching USB playback interface from InfoComm 2019 below: