Whirlwind ESF

Configurable 32x32-channel Digital Snake with High-end Preamps and PC Control Software
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Whirlwind ESF image 1
Whirlwind ESF image 1
$2,999.99
Sweetwater Savings: $750.00 MSRP: $3,749.99
Special Order
Special-ordered from Whirlwind and usually arrives to you within 1-2 weeks. Please note: special orders cannot be canceled or returned.
Note: While most of the items we sell ship for free, this item does not qualify for free shipping due to special circumstances.

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Whirlwind ESF
Special Order

Configurable 32-channel Digital Snake with High-end Preamps

Whirlwind E Snake ESF - According to analog cable lore (didn't know there was such a thing, did you?) after the mid 1960s and mostly inaudible (except for the screaming) performance by the Beatles at Shea Stadium in New York City, an enterprising sound person moved some of the audio gear into the audience area, bundled a few microphone cables together, and voila! The first "snake" was born. In 1975 Whirlwind became the first commercial manufacturer of snakes. Now, digital has found its way to our world of snakes and Whirlwind is once again at the forefront with their TEC award-winning E Snake

Whirlwind E Snake (ESF) at a Glance:
  • 32 channels of digital I/O with full remote control of the mic preamps
  • Configurable I/O with high-end preamps
  • Failsafe operation of settings even in the event of PC failure.
  • Easy, intuitive use with full professional features
  • Compatible With ALL CobraNet or EtherSound Based Products

8- or 16-channel Digital I/O
The main components of the Whirlwind E Snake system consist of E Snake Frames (ESF), E Snake 2 units (ES2) and E Snake Control software for managing the system. Two or more of these units connected to each other through a 100Mb Ethernet switch with CAT-5 or fiber optics replace the traditional analog multipair audio snake. E Snake utilizes CobraNet or EtherSound, the industry standards for real-time, multi-channel networked audio.

The master E Snake unit (ESF) consists of a hardware frame and motherboard that can be configured with input cards and output cards. Each card is capable of processing eight channels of audio. An ESF can accept up to 4 input and output cards. Therefore, each ESF is capable of simultaneously processing 32 inputs and 32 outputs.

Multiple frames can be used with Gigabit switches to increase the capacity to literally HUNDREDS of channels if required.

Remote Control - ESF features full remote control of the mic preamps and can be input directly to any digital console that will accept Cobranet or EtherSound protocol. Preamp gain and phantom power functions may also be controlled directly from Yamaha digital console surfaces , such as the PM5D by using the Whirlwind YHAUSBCBLKIT Yamaha HA to USB interface cable between the control computer and the mixer.

Configurable I/O
Input - Each E Snake unit can be configured with input cards that are available in several versions - mic/line, transformer mic only with Lundahl transformers, and AES/EBU digital. Cards feature high-end preamps designed to provide wide frequency response and superior S/N ratios. The Whirlwind E Snake Control software (included) provides control of input features such as mic/line switching, 48V phantom power, pad, limiter, gain control, channel labeling and metering.

Output - Additionally, each E Snake unit can be configured with output cards which convert the digital information back to analog at the same level that was input at the transmitting module. This makes the E Snake a "virtual wire" - as gain is adjusted with E Snake Control to optimize the performance of the A/D converters at the input end, the analog level of the output card is adjusted by the same amount but in the opposite direction. Therefore, once you have set your analog console's gain structure, adjustments to the E Snake's gain stage won't affect the input level at the board. Optional output cards are available as Mic/Line and AES/EBU.

Output card types are independent of the input type at the other end. Input mic signal at the stage and output line at the console - or input line level at one end and output AES/EBU at the broadcast truck. E Snake supports any combination of input and output cards.

Simple Operation
E Snake to be completely functional without unnecessary complication. Its design is so intuitive that you'll be up and running within minutes of installing the software on your PC and connecting it to the E Snake network. However, advanced users will find a robust set of features "under the hood" like user definable channel array pages, color-coded channel text, automatic detection of ES units through unique architecture definitions and full compatibility with other CobraNet or EtherSound devices.

Fast Setup - All settings can be saved to preset files for quick recall. Just open a preset file and E Snake Control loads and verifies all of the system architecture, individual channel settings, channel labels and channel array definitions. It's great for repeating stage setups where inputs can be pre-configured and recalled instantly.

A separate Architecture Editor application is also included with the E SNAKE Control software package that allows the user to configure systems of multiple ES units, specify what types of I/O cards are loaded into each frame and setup CobraNet bundle assignments and channel mapping.

Invaluable if a provider had multiple ES units and I/O card types in stock and needed to configure systems with varying capabilities depending on the application.

This could be especially useful where certain mic channels are not meant for FOH but need to be routed to a recording truck. Or if an ES unit is to be introduced into an existing CobraNet installation, bundle assignments can be customized to produce the expected results.

Compatible With ALL CobraNet or EtherSound Based Products
Since this system is based on CobraNet or EtherSound, the industry standards for real-time networked audio, you can interface the E Snake with any other compatible products. Use a single E Snake unit configured with input cards as an input module to get multiple channels of mic or line level audio into an existing system or split the digital signal to multiple nodes with a standard Ethernet switch. This makes E Snake an ideal front end for connecting to digital mixing consoles that offer direct digital input interface modules such as Yamaha's PM5D, DM2000, O1V, etc.

Whirlwind E Snake ESF Features:
  • 32 channels of digital I/O with full remote control of the mic preamps
  • Configurable I/O with high-end preamps
  • Failsafe operation of settings even in the event of PC failure.
  • Easy, intuitive use with full professional features
  • Compatible With ALL CobraNet or EtherSound Based Products
  • E Snake 2 is designed to the highest professional standards. Its mic preamps and A/D, D/A converters were chosen from the best components available. E Snake features wide and flat frequency response, low THD and residual noise that exceeds the noise floor of our measuring device (<118dB).
  • Expandable with E Snake 2 - ES2 uses the same motherboard principle and the same I/O cards developed for the original E Snake ESF. E Snake 2 can accept any two of these cards: input, output or any combination of the two. You can mix and match Mic/Line, Line or AES/EBU configurations with each card processing 8 channels. This makes E Snake 2 a versatile and high quality solution as an I/O access point to any CobraNet network or as an expansion to an existing E Snake digital snake system.
  • E Snake 2 incorporates the latest CobraNet technology which allows fixed latencies of 1.33ms, 2.66ms or 5.33ms.
  • This feature along with 20 or 24 bit sampling rates make E Snake 2 compatible with any other CobraNet device.
  • E Snake 2 is now incorporated into the existing E Snake Control software. This single Windows PC application allows for controlling the input parameters of all E Snake products from any point on the CobraNet network.
  • E Snake Control provides remote control of input gain, phantom power, pad, etc. (Functions vary depending on the type of cards installed.)
  • When two or more E Snake units are connected, E Snake Control "tracks" any changes made to the inputs and adjusts the outputs accordingly. This makes E Snake or E Snake 2 a "virtual wire" - as input gain is adjusted, the analog level of the output card is adjusted by the same amount but in the opposite direction. Once you have set your analog console's gain structure, adjustments to the E Snake's gain stage do not affect the input level at the board.
  • CobraNet is rapidly becoming accepted as a standard for transporting multi-channel, real-time audio. Over 40 manufacturers now subscribe to the CobraNet standard and digital consoles are now providing direct input via CobraNet I/O modules. This makes E Snake an ideal companion to digital mixers such as Yamaha's PM5D.
  • Lighweight: 300 ft. of 58-channel multipair cable with multipin connectors weighs approximately 175 lbs. The Whirlwind E Snake can span 328 ft. (100 Meters) with a single CAT-5 cable weighing about 7 lbs.! Greater distances can be achieved economically by inserting an additional Ethernet switch functioning as a repeater or converting to fiber optic cable.
  • SC type connectors are integrated into the reel flange and the opposite end is Whirlwind's TFOL (Tactical Fiber Optic Link) connector designed for use in demanding applications.
  • Economical: Set up and tear down are faster, you'll carry fewer road cases and haul less weight in the truck.
  • Flexible: Employing lightweight network cable also opens up added possibilities for routing the cable overhead, around obstacles or underground. And replacing damaged cable is a LOT less expensive than replacing or repairing 58 pair cable and multipin connectors.
  • Quiet: Unlike analog snakes, E Snake is virtually impervious to the effects of induced interference and is not subject to ground loop problems. 48kHz sampling rate @ 20 or 24 bit word length coupled with the finest components and designs provide full frequency response and wide dynamic range.
  • Adaptable: Start out with a basic system with as few as 8 channels. Then expand by adding input and output cards for up to a total of 32 channels in each direction. Then add more ESF or ES2 units to expand the channel count further or to split the audio between multiple locations.
All of Whirlwind's 30 years of knowledge and experience has gone into developing the E Snake.

What Does "Special Order" Mean?

A special-order product is one that we don't normally keep in stock. We order it from the manufacturer as soon as you order from us. We have great relationships with all the manufacturers we carry, so we can get your special order to you as fast as or faster than anyone else. Remember that special orders are non-returnable and non-cancelable, so make sure the item is right for you. A Sweetwater Sales Engineer can help you decide — call (800) 222-4700 for assistance!

Additional Media

Cable Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Manufacturer Part Number ES3

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See also: Whirlwind, Whirlwind Stage Snakes