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On the Circuit: Audinate Dante

Feb 1, 2013 2:30 PM, By Cynthia Wisehart

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In the last six or so months there has been a flurry of announcements as more companies license Audinate’s Dante networking technology, either to offer optional cards or to build it right into products. Stewart Audio and PreSonus are new to the fold that includes Bosch, DiGiCo, Dolby, Electro-Voice, Focusrite, Lectrosonics, MediaMatrix, Symetrix, Whirlwind, and some 60 other OEMs. Yamaha—who has been working with Dante since 2009—builds Dante peripherals and incorporates Dante native into selected products, notably the CL series consoles. Shure’s ULX digital wireless system debuted at InfoComm with Dante built in. In the audio postproduction world, Dante is also a central component of the new Yamaha/Steinberg Nuage system.

Audinate also makes its own products to Dante-enable a range of devices, as well as offering a development kit, and a Mac or PC-based controller. You can work with Dante products, or with various OEM products to Dante-enable a device or network.

The patented technology is a combination of software, hardware, and standard TCP/IP protocols designed to transport many channels of high-resolution, uncompressed, low-latency digital media over relatively long distances and to multiple locations, using a standard 100Mbps or 1Gb Ethernet network.

The reason AV and audio pros like it is twofold: It simplifies installation and configuration of AV networks over standard IP, and it delivers tightly synchronized, sample-accurate playback, with sub-millisecond latency—a level of quality that is conspicuously missing from more IT-derived options.

It’s self-configuring, which means that Dante-enabled devices find each other on any IP network. It does not require numerical IP or Mac addresses, or DNS or DHCP servers. Dante-enabled devices identify and configure themselves automatically as soon as you plug in Ethernet cables. You can label devices, inputs, and outputs with descriptive names—and those names will stay with that device, so you can plug and unplug or move devices at will. No mystery numbers.

As for AVB—the standards coming out of the AVB group within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)—Audinate says these standards are well-aligned with existing Dante technology. Audinate has announced that Dante will be AVB compliant as these standards are ratified.

This is not a sales pitch for Dante, just a recap of where it stands and what Audinate is trying to accomplish. Many people see it as the natural modern follow-on to CobraNet. Certainly its recent growth is evidence that there is an appetite for professional-grade IP/AV networks.

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