The Network Standard for Enhanced Live Sound
Digital audio networking brings a wealth of new capabilities to live sound. Since multiple channels can be simultaneously transmitted via a single network cable, the number of cables required is dramatically reduced compared to analog systems. And while patching in the analog world requires independent physical connections for each channel, patching in a digital network is “virtual” and extremely flexible. Digital transmission doesn’t suffer from the induced noise and signal degradation that affect analog lines, so optimum signal quality can be maintained throughout the system. Here we’ll introduce an audio network protocol that are ideally suited to live sound: Dante.
Dante is based on standard IP network technology, and is capable of handling a large number of channels with high quality and low latency. It also allows redundancy for extremely high reliability.
Dante offers the kind of system design and layout flexibility required by today’s live sound applications.
Dante compatible products: CL series digital mixing consoles, QL series digital mixing consoles, R series I/O racks, and more.
Dante Network Design Points
When creating a Dante network using CL series mixing consoles, QL series mixing consoles, R series I/O rack units, and Dante-MY16-AUD cards, be sure to use gigabit capable network devices (cables, switches, etc.). Network device selection will be covered in more detail later.
Dante makes it easy to setup up primary and secondary networks for redundancy when failsafe reliability is required. Failure of a device or connection in one network will not interrupt the audio signal. CL series consoles, QL series consoles and R series I/O units can also be linked using a simple daisy-chain configuration that directly connects console to I/O via a cable without the need for switches.
Dante networks feature high-precision synchronization, right down to the phase of the clock, and latency between devices can be fixed at a specified value. In a system that includes CL series consoles, QL series consoles and R series I/O racks, system latency can be set to between 0.25 and 5 milliseconds. Please note that the minimum latency setting will be determined by the number of hops on the network (devices and switches). Setting a lower latency can result in noise and dropouts. When latency is critical in larger systems that implement switches and redundancy, it is important to design the network to eliminate unnecessary hops and thereby minimize the number of hops overall.
Dante with AES67
AES67 is an audio-over-IP interoperability standard established by the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in September 2013. In February of 2014 udinate announced that Dante would be updated to support AES67. In response to this, Yamaha updated Dante equipped products with device and Dante firmware updates that added AES67 support. AES67 allows communication with Ravenna, Q-LAN, Livewire, and other audio networks, for significantly improved system expandability.
Dante with AES67 compatible products: CL series digital mixing consoles, QL series digital mixing consoles, R series I/O racks, and more.
Using AES67 with Dante: an Introduction
Andy Cooper, manager for pro audio application engineering, introduces the new AES67 audio networking standard, explaining when it's needed, how it works with Dante, and showing some system examples.
The network cables listed below have been tested and confirmed to be suitable for use in Dante networks. However, the maximum cable length over which reliable data transmission can be achieved will depend on cable characteristics, termination quality, and the operating environment.
- CAT5e or higher cable.
- Check maker specifications for maximum cable length.
- Use STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) cable for maximum resistance to electromagnetic interference.
If cable characteristics are unknown, use a cable checker to ensure that the cable meets TIA/EIA-568-B requirements.
Tested and confirmed cables
|Link||CUS LK CAT6 STP||100m||8.5mm||Flexible for touring|
|CAE-Groupe||Giga-Audio||100m||6.7mm||Flexible for touring
Resistance to rain and UV
|Klotz||RC5SB||100m||6.6mm||Flexible for touring|
|TACHII||T-SB5E202W-4P||100m||8.0mm||Sold only in Japan|
|Belden||74003PU||80m||6.65mm||Flexible for touring
Resistance to rain, UV, temperature, abrasion, oil
|TMB||ProPlex PCCAT5EP||75m||7.1mm||Flexible for touring|
The maximum cable length for Dante is tested and suggested by Yamaha. We use a Fluke DTX-1800 cable analyzer to check if it conforms to TIA/EIA-568-B (CAT5e) with the length, and then checked that the Dante system with CL5 and Rio3224-D works perfectly without audio dropouts for over 12 hours. However, this list does not guarantee 100% safe operation due to the individual variability, termination quality, and other environmental conditions of and around the cable. If you are unsure, we recommend that you check your cables with a cable analyzer. Please note that the suggested Max. length is appropriate for Dante devices using 1Gbps data transmission, and may be shorter than the length suitable for 100Mbps transmission.
With the exception of basic daisy-chained setups, Dante networks will require one or more network switches that meet the conditions described below.
- Non-blocking gigabit switch.
- Energy efficiency functions such as EEE must be defeatable.
- Intelligent switches that allow management (setup and monitoring) are recommended.
- Strict priority queuing with 4-queue Diffserv (DSCP) QoS recommended.
Depending on system requirements it may be necessary to consider maximum cable lengths between switches, bandwidth optimization, and other parameters in large networks. Information is available here.
When long-distance transmission between network devices (switches) is required, fiber optic cable can be used. Rather than using independent media converters when switches are used, it is preferable to add GBIC or SFP modules to the switches when such capability is provided. Cut-through mode is preferred over store-and-forward mode.