Integrating Dante And Focusrite For A Better Studio Workflow


In a recent blog, we covered the basics of Audio Over IP networks and how they can benefit your workflow. We’re diving in deeper with a more focused look at Dante and the way this technology works with gear from Focusrite.   

What is Dante? It's the leading AoIP technology created by Audinate. Dante allows the use of the same Ethernet technology in consumer and commercial networks for uncompressed multi-channel audio distribution, minimal latency, and sampling rates of up to 192kHz. You can even use Dante AoIP in conjunction with conventional network traffic. There's support for Cat 5e, Cat 6, and even fiber optic cables.

Audinate provides Dante technology to numerous pro audio gear makers, including Focusrite. While Focusrite makes a range of audio interfaces, the Focusrite Red and RedNet series specifically offer Dante connectivity. Dante can also be used as an audio interface technology. The Red 4Pre and Red 8Pre are shining examples of how one device bridges many of these formats and connections.

The professional audio compatibility of RedNet and Dante is also worth a look. RedNet hardware offers premium A/D & D/A conversion, mic preamps, as well as the ability to connect to ADAT, S/PDIF, AES3, and MADI. The Red Series also covers Pro Tools HD Digi-link and Thunderbolt.

Though you can use Dante in a very simple single operator direct connection without any external network, the power of Dante is the flexibility of scaling up these technologies into a multi-user, cross-platform, and mixed location solution. How far can you take Dante? A single RedNet PCIeR card can provide 128 channels of 96KHz audio. A Pro Tools HDX 3 card system can run six of the HD32R interfaces to give you the largest possible Dante interfacing on a single computer supporting 192 channels at 96kHz.

The current maximum channel count of an optimum network is 1,024 (512x512 per Gigabit connection) and it is possible to have thousands of channels on a network as a whole. The scalability means that if you run out of mic inputs, for example, you simply add a RedNet MP8R  to the network and it will be automatically detected.

What about configuring for a specific project? You can dedicate I/O as needed to specific workstations or engineers wherever you need them and simply revert back when done. If you’d like to showcase your work for a number of different individuals at once, it’s easily possible with this technology. You can add RedNet AM2's for every decision maker to give them a dedicated headphone mix and volume. This allows loads of flexibility to how you want to work.

There are other benefits of making the move to Dante. Studios and facilities are able to eliminate the need for more traditional cabling and patch bays as they can make those connections in the digital environment over Ethernet. This can be a huge cost saver as well when planning out a large multi-room solution. AoIP also keeps audio data in the digital domain until it is finally converted back to analog for monitoring. This limits conversions, signal degradation, cross-talk, and other potential problems that can happen in a more traditional environment.

On the software side, both Windows and Mac OS X are supported. There are a couple of applications that you'll want to know about:

  • Dante Virtual Soundcard (DVS) - This enables the actual applications like ProTools, Logic, Cubase, etc to connect to Dante equipped hardware. You do not need DVS when using a dedicated Dante card, such as the RedNet PCIeR. DVS is included for free with any RedNet purchase, and you can download a 14-day trial of it for free.
  • Dante Controller - This (free) core utility enables network management and device level options to be configured.

One thing to remember is the tight integration allowed by Focusrite and Dante to tie into your existing setups. Often users are able to retain hardware they already have, and also recoup from selling off the gear being replaced. Vintage King can also often help with those trades and upgrades.

At Vintage King, we're currently upgrading our Los Angeles showroom by adding Dante to better route and demo our amazing array of demo microphones, outboard, and consoles. This will allow for even more unique events and demonstrations at the store.

As for the future of Dante technology, it's looking brighter than ever. Dante has recently announced the addition of video support, as Dante AV will deliver synchronized multi-channel audio and video together. This is the perfect solution for any post-production studio looking to upgrade their workflow.

Whether you're in music, post-production, broadcast, or live sound, Dante delivers a brilliant modular approach to solving your needs. Being able to send high-quality audio with ultra-low latency anywhere you need it, this is currently one of the most popular AoIP technologies on the market.

Troy Manning

Our post-production team at Vintage King can ease you through the design and configuration process of your Dante set-up. We even offer turnkey solutions to help make it easy. If you'd like to learn more, please contact via email or by phone at 818.237.9181.

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