Wheatstone Plans PR&E’s Future
New consoles and interface cards are in the works
Wheatstone plans to continue to make and market the
PR&E brand it has acquired; and soon it will introduce new products under
that banner, including interface cards to help users of existing PR&E
consoles connect to Wheatstone surfaces and networking systems.
Gary Snow said Wheatstone’s acquisition of the assets of Pacific Research &
Engineering from GatesAir, which we reported last week, had been in the works
since last summer, though the actual negotiations were relatively brief. Snow
worked out the deal with Rich Redmond, chief product officer for GatesAir.
was based at facilities in Illinois and Ohio; Wheatstone is moving the assets
to its headquarters in New Bern, N.C., this week. Snow said the purchase means
“we can bring the manufacturing and the QC under one roof, which allows us to
control our quality, our delivery … and to be more responsive to input from the
industry.” He said current outstanding orders will be filled by Wheatstone. “We
provided space and accommodation necessary to begin manufacturing immediately.”
said GatesAir was “keenly concerned” that its PR&E customers continue to
receive good support after the acquisition. There are some 3,500 PR&E
boards installed, he said, including at a number of notable large talk-format
Looking ahead, PR&E will be “a
standalone product line that’s going to feel the love. Consoles is what we do.”
This includes plans for new consoles eventually.
shorter term, he noted that Pacific Research consoles are standalone products
that can be fitted with a network interface card. “We will be introducing
interface cards that will go in in lieu of the current product, and make the
consoles WheatNet-IP and AES67-compatible.” This will allow stations who wish
to do so to network one studio at a time and “incrementally gain the benefits
of a totally flexible IP system.”
Snow said he expects that
at least some GatesAir employees will make the move to Wheatstone though details
were not set as of Friday. “We have an agreement with Gates that we’re entitled
to talk to anyone who has been involved with that product line.” Also to be
finalized are the details of PR&E dealer distribution.
“We approach it with a great deal of enthusiasm,” he said of the deal.
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