Audinate accelerates digital AV

When it comes to large scale audio-visual setups, there are a range of issues that can occur that can threaten the integrity of the entire network. Which is why Audinate created Dante, a revolutionary new multi-channel digital media networking technology that eliminates most of the issues that can compromise a high-end audio setup.

Byline: Josh Alston

Dante has near-zero latency and synchronisation, eliminates packet loss and is set up in a way that a device failure won’t cause other devices on the line to fail as well.

It has attracted the attention of some of the biggest AV product developers in the world, who are creating devices compatible with Dante at an exponential rate.

The technology has been used for large scale productions by major artists including Jamiroquai and the late Prince.

Audinate will be one of the presenters at this year’s Integrate Expo at ICC Sydney from August 22-24, showing examples of how the technology works and how it is driving a new way of connecting AV devices at every possible scale.

What is Dante?

The key difference between Dante and other audio transporting setups is that this technology is a networking protocol first.

New York-based Gotham Sound recently ran a presentation on what Dante was capable of, with Peter Schneider outlining how it works.

“It’s a hardware and software solution that transports precisely timed digital audio between devices using standard IP networking,” he said. “I think the first step for sound mixers wrapping their heads around Dante is to think of it as a network protocol first that happens to transport audio.”

Dante strips away the need for heavy, expensive analogue or multicore cabling and replaces it with CAT5e, CAT6, or fiber optic cable, making it a lighter option.

By using Audio over IP (AoIP) technology, Dante networks all of the devices — up to 1000×1000 of them — and once they are set up on the Dante network, they are able to integrate with with other without the shortfallings of other networks like VoIP.

“One of the things that Dante does very, very well is it keeps the timing very, very consistent,” Peter said. “(With VOIP) packets (can) arrive slightly later or earlier than others … Dante is absolutely not like that.

“Dante is very, very specific. What goes into the system, comes out in the order at a very, very predictable, exact latency.”

How Dante allows flexibility and control

Because the entire audio setup is networked and running through a central hub like Dante Controller and Dante Domain Manager, you have the control to scale control over devices and flexibility to make the network as big or small as required.

Audinate VP of marketing Joshua Rush said that had made the Dante platform especially desirable for broadcasters who had high volumes of devices spread across multiple locations, which required different levels of permissions to control.

“Dante Domain Manager allows you set permissions for different types of users, and restricts user access to specific areas of the Dante audio network based upon those permissions. That way, only authorized people can make changes,” Rush said.

“Network subnets are often implemented to divide large installations such as broadcast stations, in order to better manage groups of devices. In the past, real-time media was restricted to a single subnet at a time, but Dante Domain Manager breaks down that barrier and gives you the flexibility to have devices grouped however you want them; for a room, a building, or over an entire campus.”

The plans to expand Dante across OEM products and partners

Already, almost 400 OEM partners have licenced the Dante technology, including major companies like Bosch, Bose, Harman, Symetrix, Roland, Sony and Yamaha (which is a 10 percent shareholder).

Of these, only 50 percent have launched Dante compatible or enabled devices, which means there will be plenty of growth in the coming years.

Audinate estimates the scope for expansion could take in over 2000 professional audiovisual OEMs with a total addressable market of over $400 million per annum.

Audinate was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in June, 2017 and raised $21 million for its initial public offering in a deal valuing the company at $72.6 million.

Audinate chief executive Lee Ellison said the company now planned to expand at a rate of 50 per cent every year as more OEM partners come on board to produce products that are Dante compatible.

Want to learn more about Dante? Audinate will be running free introduction sessions on Dante as part of the AVIXA FlashTrack program at Integrate, this 22-24 August, see the full program here.

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