Skokie, IL (March 22, 2021)—Studio Technologies has released its new enhanced Model 5422A Dante Intercom Audio Engine.
Positioned as a solution for creating party-line (PL) intercom circuits when used with Dante-compatible products, the new “A” version offers an Auto Mix function for enhanced party-line and audio mixing applications. The unit also includes expanded network connectivity with three Gigabit Ethernet ports, aiming to meet the needs of larger, multi-network installations. Additionally, the unit’s main and programmable logic firmware can now be updated using a standard USB flash drive.
The Model 5422A uses Dante audio-over-Ethernet technology to support a variety of broadcast, production and related applications. In addition to creating “virtual” PL intercom circuits, the unit can provide other Dante-based on-air, talent cueing (IFB), audio mixing, and specialized interfacing resources. The Model 5422A features low-latency 32-bit digital processing and is available in two versions – one with 32 input and output channels, and the other with 64 input and output channels.
Auto Mix is an audio level control function that’s implemented in high-speed programmable (FPGA) logic. Not a compressor/limiter or noise gate, the Auto Mix function helps to ensure that all party-line users contribute an equal audio level to an intercom channel. Auto Mix can also be used when using the unit’s audio mixing (summing) mode. The Model 5422A also features an audio control mode that allows multi-channel switching functions to be implemented. High-frequency audio tones provide control of Dante audio input channels that are routed to normally-active and normally-inactive audio output channels.
The Model 5422A offers three Ethernet network connections as compared to the two provided by the Model 5422. Providing three independent “GigE” ports allows two to be designated for Dante redundancy while the third is used to access the Model 5422A’s management port. This allows independent networks to support dual Dante audio paths and the unit’s monitoring and configuration web pages.
New York, NY (March 8, 2021)—Allen & Heath’s new DT Preamp Control app now allows the company’s Dante I/O expanders to be used within any Dante audio network, not just ones involving Allen & Heath mixing systems.
The free application, compatible with Windows and macOS, allows control of multiple DT168 and DT164-W expanders connected to Dante-equipped third-party digital mixers and sound management systems, allowing their use in a variety of systems in live, broadcast, install and studio applications.
The portable DT168 with carry handle and the wall-mount DT164-W are intended for use in distributed networks where high-channel-count Dante or AES67 I/O is required. The IEC armored cable or DC power options for the DT164-W also allow it to be used for in-wall mounting and stage pockets in permanent installations.
“Since the launch of these products, we have received numerous requests for extending their use beyond Allen & Heath mixing systems,” says Martijn Verkerk, technical marketing manager at Allen & Heath. “Houses of worship, university campuses, and arenas have all showed an interest in deploying our Dante solutions alongside their existing audio system, and DT Preamp Control enables that.”
The current worldwide pandemic has sent musicians and audio experts scrambling to devise solutions to challenges created by social distancing. Recording music is normally an intimate undertaking with others, but that intimacy now directly contradicts safety guidelines. Thus, studios are asked to answer the question: “how can we work together while staying safe?”
Not long ago, this would have been a difficult question to answer. Studio level audio meant not only top-notch gear, but also thousands of feet of heavy, specialized audio cables. Moving or extending such systems risked compromises in performance and reliability – and came at no small cost.
Fortunately, our current challenge occurred at a time during when the audio world has already been transformed by technologies that provide a foundation for long distance, low latency, bit-perfect, multi-channel signal distribution. The question instantly becomes: How can facilities use audio networking to provide the creative environment musicians need while maintaining safety guidelines?
Every Room A Place to Record
If a performer can stay behind closed doors, then it’s easy for that person to be safe. With audio networking, this possibility becomes far easier than in the past. Studio operations have created workflows that allow performers to remain isolated in separate rooms of a large facility or house, yet all be connected. Rather than installing hundreds of heavy, dedicated, single-purpose audio cables through the location, a simple IP network is put in place with Ethernet jacks in each room—just like in any modern office. Microphones, preamplifiers, signal sources and processors can be connected to the control room from wherever they need to be, with absolutely no compromises in signal quality.
With the correct audio-over-IP system in place, sub 10 ms latency can be achieved. This allows performers to remain safely distanced while being able to hear and collaborate with others, something that would have been extremely difficult and expensive to accomplish with legacy audio technology.
Outside is not Out of Bounds
Imagining a network inside a house or building is not difficult, but people may or may not realize that extending networks beyond a single structure is nearly just as simple. While the notion of running microphone cables over several hundred feet or more is rightly cause for concern due to signal degradation and noise, IP networks can easily do runs of 300 feet (100 m) between switches with no issues whatsoever. The use of optical fiber, now an inexpensive option, extends this reach into miles or kilometers. This allows studios to embrace stand-alone recording spaces that enjoy full connectivity to the control room with no compromises in audio quality or latency. This means multiple structures on site—or even outdoor recording—can be added to a socially distanced setup.
Another idea brought forward by the pandemic is that of mobile production. If people are already safe at home, then bring the microphones and connections to them. This is another area in which legacy analog workflows were cumbersome at best, with audio equipment taking over the living space. Networking allows a mobile studio to connect everything one needs using a single, slender Ethernet cable. A truck serving as a control room can bring services everywhere without jeopardizing anyone’s health or compromising on audio quality.
Networking in the Long Run
The benefits of networking that have been realized during this stressful time are unlikely to fade even once the health crisis has passed. The paradigm of earlier recording studios as monolithic installations will transition towards lighter, more responsive systems that can accommodate multiple spaces and locations that serve performers while delivering world-class audio. The future for those who know how to help musicians deliver their messages to the world looks bright.
Brad Price is senior product marketing manager at Audinate.
Los Angeles, CA (December 23, 2020)—Focusrite has shipped its new Red 8Line – a 58-input, 64-output, Thunderbolt 3 audio interface.
The Red 8Line features two Red Evolution mic pres, independent L/R monitor outs, eight balanced line analog inputs and outputs; up to 58-in, 64-out DigiLink I/O; 32 channels of Dante I/O; 16-channel ADAT input and output (at 48 kHz), and stereo S/PDIF input and output. As with other Red interfaces, Red 8Line features professional-grade 24-bit/192 kHz A-D and D-A conversion.
With both mini-DigiLink and Thunderbolt 3 connections, it’s possible to instantly switch between Pro Tools and other DAW applications without the need to reconfigure audio settings. Changing the host mode either in RedNet Control software or with Red 8Line’s front panel controls lets users change DAWs in seconds.
Red 8Line features the latest implementation of Thunderbolt 3. With two Thunderbolt 3 ports as standard, it’s possible to daisy-chain Thunderbolt devices, such as third-party plug-in accelerators, hard drives, external 4K displays, processing units and Thunderbolt hubs. New Windows 10 Thunderbolt drivers make Red 8Line compatible with PC-based audio systems equipped with Thunderbolt 3.
On-board Dual Dante ports enable connection to the industry-standard Audio-over-IP protocol. Twin mini-DigiLink ports provide connectivity directly to Pro Tools | HD cards, with no need for device expansion. Digital synchronization is facilitated by Loop Sync and Word Clock I/O. The two Red Evolution remote-controllable mic preamps provide up to 63 dB of gain, with phantom power, high-pass filter, phase reverse and Air mode lets users invoke the sonic signature of Focusrite’s ISA Preamp. Dual front-panel instrument connections provide access for DI input.
The unit is accompanied by a software bundle that includes the Brainworx bx_console Focusrite SC channel strip from the original Focusrite Studio Console, plus Red 2 and Red 3 EQ and Compression plug-ins.
Fremont, CA (December 1, 2020)—ARISTA Corporation has launched its new ARS-200-HD HDMI Audio to Dante Audio converter, and conversely, its ARS-200-DH Dante Audio Stream to HDMI Audio converter. The two HDMI / Dante converters are intended for presentation environments where audio needs to be converted from one format to the other and long-distance transmission is involved.
The ARS-200-HD can be used for extracting audio from, for example, a DVD player and converting the audio stream to Dante format, enabling the audio signal to be transmitted over long distance and used with PA systems, ensuring that everyone can hear the sound that accompanies the visuals. The converter / interface uses an HDMI Type A female connector for HDMI input and an HDMI Type A female connector for video loopback output. The HDMI input and loopback output maximum-supported video resolution is 4096 x 2160 / 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz (4:4:4).
Meanwhile, the ARS-200-DH Dante Audio Stream to HDMI converter creates options in presentation environments where Audio is being handled via Dante in order to cover long distances in a large hall. In such cases, Dante audio is being received by the ARS-200-DH while it is also receiving video input via HDMI. In this case, the ARS-200-DH merges the audio with the HDMI signal so that it can feed external displays. The ARS-200-DH outputs stereo audio (20HZ – 20kHZ) with a frequency response of 20HZ – 20kHZ. Maximum video resolution is 4096 x 2160 / 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz (4:4:4) and both the video input and the video loopback ports are HDMI Type A female connectors.
Power for both the ARS-200-HD and the ARS-200-DH can be handled via either a DC 12V feed or PoE (Power over Ethernet). Both units are housed in a metal housing and the dimensions for both units are 3.3 x 3.9 x 1.1 inch.
The ARS-200-HD and ARS-200-DH converters / interfaces are scheduled to become available Q1, 2021.
Dante audio-over-IP technology has been widely adopted in live sound, broadcast and studio environments. As Dante networks become bigger and start integrating many different types of applications including live sound, broadcast, intercom, P.A., recording and so on, it can be a challenge to match clocking and sample rates.
This challenge can be solved with the new Penta 721s – DNT from NTP Technology, which provides two separate Dante interfaces. The built-in sample rate converter makes it possible to interconnect two Dante networks with different clock sources and/or sample rates. However, the Penta 721s – DNT offers much more than that.
The Penta 721s – DNT is based on the Penta 721s base unit. As standard, the Penta 721s features a 64-channel Dante interface, one coax MADI I/O and eight AES I/O. Further, two MADI I/O, optical or coax, can be added as options. All of these are synchronized to the same clock.
The Penta 721s includes a slot where an optional I/O card can be installed. This can be a 128-channel Dante card, a dual MADI I/O card, an eight-channel AES I/O card, a dual SDI embedder/ de-embedder card, an eight-channel analog input card or an eight-channel analog output card. This makes the Penta 721s suitable for a wide range of applications, including conversion between multiple formats.
In the case of the Penta 721s – DNT, the option slot is configured with the 128-channel Dante card, which provides 128 Dante channels at 48 kHz, 64 channels at 96 kHz or 32 channels at 192 kHz. Apart from the high channel count, it also boasts a low-latency sample rate converter, which is used to adapt the clocking and/or sample rate of the Dante interface to the clock and/or sample rate of the Penta 721s base unit.
There is a routing matrix between the main and the option sections that allows the user to patch any input channel to any output channel, and even to multiple outputs simultaneously. The routing matrix includes a 256 x 32 summing engine. This combination allows the user to take, for example, a 96 kHz Dante channel on the option card, samplerate convert it to 48 kHz, and output it on the Dante and MADI interfaces of the base unit, and vice versa.
LIVE SOUND: A common issue in live sound is that some desks use 48 kHz sample rate, while others use 96 kHz; the Penta 721s – DNT provides an easy way of interconnecting these. The option section is connected to the 96 kHz desk with up to 64 channels, while the 48 kHz desk is then connected to the main section, either via Dante or MADI, with up to 64 channels. The routing between the main and secondary section is then set up, and even allows the channel sequence to be reordered. Because of the sample rate converter in the Penta 721s – DNT, the two sides do not even need to be synchronized.
RECORDING STUDIO: Recording studios can also benefit from the Penta 721s – DNT. Many recording studios use Dantebased personal monitoring systems. Some personal monitoring systems only operate at 48 kHz, for example, making it difficult—if not impossible— to record at other sample rates. And even if the personal monitoring system supports other sample rates, it can be cumbersome to change the sample rate of all Dante devices.
Inserting the Penta 721s – DNT between the recording converter and the personal monitor system provides a separation between the recording sample rate and the sample rate of the personal monitoring system. This allows the recording to be changed at any time without having to worry about the sample rate of the personal monitor system. In short, it provides a quick and efficient way of interconnecting Dante networks with different clocking and/or sample rates.
New York, NY (October 16, 2020)—In a major expansion of its ongoing Red Range of professional audio tools, Focusrite Pro has unveiled its new Red 8Line interface, RedNet R1 desktop remote controller, and MkII editions of its RedNet A16R and RedNet D16R Dante interfaces. The company further announced upcoming availability of Windows 10 drivers that will allow Thunderbolt 3-equipped PC users to use the company’s various Red interfaces.
Red 8Line is a 58-input, 64-output, Thunderbolt 3 audio interface that features two Red Evolution mic pres, independent L/R monitor outs, eight balanced line inputs and outputs on DB25 connectors; 32 channels of Dante I/O; 16-channel ADAT input and output (at 48 kHz), and stereo S/PDIF input and output. The unit offers 24-bit/192 kHz A-D and D-A conversion for recording and audio playback, as well as a reported 119 dB dynamic range A-D and 121 dB dynamic range D-A (A-Weighted). Focusrite notes the Red 8Line will ship “soon.”
Meanwhile, the RedNet R1 is a desktop remote controller that works withany Red range interface, allowing users to control a range of different monitor output setups, ranging from mono through to 7.1.4 surround, including Dolby Atmos and other immersive audio workflows. Alternatively, completely custom setups of up to 12 outputs can be configured for bespoke speaker configurations.
RedNet R1 can be used to control groups of outputs from a Red interface’s multitude of sources and destinations, including from Pro Tools | HD and other DAWs, analog inputs and outputs, ADAT and S/PDIF connections, and from Dante Audio-over-IP ecosystems, simultaneously and interchangeably. Top-panel control includes level, reference level preset selection, dim, mute and a variety of solo modes. An A/B switch allows switching between numerous monitoring presets, and up to four fold-down presets allow switching for checking downmixes. RedNet R1 also features a Dante-enabled talkback section, an internal mic and an XLR input for connecting your own, and a headphones output. Up to four talkback destination groups are available when used with a Red interface. The R1 will be available soon.
Currently available, however, are the RedNet A16R MkII and RedNet D16R MkII Dante interfaces. Updating the original A16R and D16R interfaces, the new editions have the same feature set as their predecessors, but are upgraded with individual level controls for input and output channels, allowing calibration of all inputs and outputs, making the process of accurate alignment of connected equipment more straightforward.
RedNet A16R MkII is a 16×16 line-level analogue interface, able to get 16 channels of analog audio on or off a Dante Audio-over-IP network, while the RedNet D16R MkII is a 16×16 AES3 interface for interfacing between digital audio equipment such as consoles and power amplifiers, and a Dante network.
Los Angeles, CA (September 29, 2020)—Mockumentary family sitcom Modern Family took its final bow in April at the end of an 11-season run that saw the sound team behind the show nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for 11 straight years. “Right out of the gate, we tried to come up with a signature sound for the show, from the pilot on,” says re-recording mixer Brian Harman.
The show—which explored complex parenting issues with humor— was something new to television, says Harman, and took off like a rocket with critics and viewers. “It’s one of those shows you wish you could get on every year for your career,” he says.
“We hope the audience and voters appreciate that there is something to be said about the legacy of Modern Family’s sound,” says re-recording mixer Peter Bawiec, who worked on “Finale Part 1” and “Finale Part 2,” the latter nominated for this year’s Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation. “A lot of other genre shows reference the way this show is mixed. It has its own language that’s very distinctive.”
The show has always been mixed at Smart Post Sound’s Burbank facility on Hollywood Way, says Harman. “The first five years were done on a smaller stage, where the pilot was done. I want to say year six we moved over to the bigger stage where Dean [Okrand] and I were already working on Sons of Anarchy and other shows, so for the final five years, we were on Stage 4.”
On the mixing stage, says Bawiec, “We’re running the [Avid] D-Command as well as the [Avid] S6. In terms of speakers, it’s interesting because we start off mixing in 5.1 on JBLs, which is pretty standard for cinema. And then we do playbacks on nearfields because we want to make sure that it folds down nicely onto stereo. And the print master is done on a TV. So we’re going all the way down to make sure that it plays in your average living room scenario.”
This being a weekly episodic show, turnaround is brisk. “We’re basically doing an episode in a day,” says Harman. “We start at 9 a.m. and go to playback at 2 or 3 p.m. and we print master by 5 or 6 p.m. Those are quick turnarounds, so we have to be efficient. It has to be predictable and controllable.”
What is not predictable is the show itself, says Bawiec, which can throw the team an occasional curveball. “Every episode is going to be different, and we don’t know what the episode is until we get on the stage to mix it and we play it down. The season finale was like that—there were so many different locations, including an ice rink. You’re trying to do so much in that one day; that’s the one limitation we deal with all the time. You’ve got to hit that 2 or 3 p.m. playback.”
Since dialogue is the focus, “it’s one of those shows where all of the writing, everything that’s said, all the jokes, have to land,” says Bawiec. “It’s one of the most important things, to make sure that people catch all of that. We can’t do that if the production sound doesn’t kick ass, and Steve Tibbo and Srdjan Popovic kick ass, delivering those production tracks, which are clean and crisp, so we can, in turn, mix that into the show.”
Sound effects, Foley and ADR for each episode are completed over the course of a few days, but it turns out that little ADR is done post-shoot for the principal characters. “A lot of ADR is done by Tibbo on set in the same room. If they need to grab someone, they do it between takes and shoot ADR on set,” says Harman. “Steve Tibbo is one amazing production mixer.”
Bawiec adds, “Because we’re mixing as they’re shooting other episodes, there’s not much work to match the ADR we get, because it’s recorded on the sets where the scenes take place. You basically can’t tell when we have ADR—because we can’t tell either.”
Shooting ADR on set is efficient, too, since the actors have no need to drive across town to the studio to pick up their lines. “Of course, when COVID-19 hit at the tail end of the show, things got slightly different because they weren’t shooting anymore. We had a bit of iPhone material instead of regular ADR,” notes Bawiec.
Recently Bawiec also had to record ADR remotely on a movie that he’s mixing. “Fifteen hours of ADR over iPhones is the new reality. You have to make that quality work.”
“I think everybody is surprised by how bad Apple AirPods sound!” laughs Harman.
“We’re used to FaceTime sounding decent, but it turns out the Air- Pods microphones are pretty bad,” Bawiec agrees.
Loop group—walla—for Modern Family is a different matter. Since it involves six to eight actors, it became a little more complicated with the arrival of the coronavirus. “We had them split between multiple rooms,” says Bawiec. “With new technology like RedNet and Dante, you can run three or four rooms at the same time without any issues, and have multiple people see the same picture and hear each other over the cans.”
As Bawiec discovered on a subsequent project, “You don’t even need a RedNet box because you can have Dante Virtual Soundcard, which turns any laptop into a Dante device. That is just a mind-blowing thing. We did a VPN-based Dante and had two facilities running simultaneously. Those are tricky things, but like everyone in the industry, we’ve managed to overcome most of those issues.”
COVID-19 has also affected who can now be on the stage during a dub, Bawiec says. “The new reality for everyone is either we mix on big stages, where everyone is socially distant and it’s a very limited crew, like a producer and a director, or else it’s entirely remote. A lot of the TV shows that we’re going to be doing this fall are going to be entirely remote. It will be just the two of us with maybe the supervisor on the mix stage, and everyone watching at home on their home cinema setups.”
Los Angeles, CA (September 28, 2020)—When Erik Nilsson opened a second LemonTree Studios in the L.A. area, he included a live room that any tenant can tap into through the facility’s Dante network and Focusrite RedNet audio interfaces.
Nilsson’s goal with his original facility was to offer fellow songwriters, producers and mixers reasonably priced yet well-constructed, acoustically treated rooms into which they could move their own equipment. He also hoped to build a room for himself.
But LemonTree Studios was so successful that Nilsson, who is originally from Minnesota and has been in L.A. for about 20 years, eventually rented every room, leaving no space for himself. So he opened another facility in the city’s Highland Park district. Working with Vintage King’s audio consultant, product specialist and system integrator Frank Verschuuren, Nilsson networked the 13 rental rooms — each with double-wall construction and floated from adjacent rooms — to a 400-sq.-ft. shared live space.
“I was brought in at an early stage when Erik was trying to integrate one live room with about 12 studio control rooms,” says Verschuuren. “We were trying to figure out the best and easiest way of integrating the one live room with all the other rooms, and the Dante workflow came up. With that in mind, I designed work and signal flow of the system.
“We came up with the idea of setting up a ‘floater’ Focusrite Red4 Pre that the various rooms could use as their mainframe I/O on their recording system. All that was necessary was to plug the Red 4Pre into a network port in the room to connect to the live room. With a preset file for Dante routing and RedNet Control, it made it an easy, almost plug-and-play scenario for anyone to use.”
“You can record up to 32 Focusrite channels from the live room using our floating Red 4Pre in any studio,” Nilsson elaborates. “Or you can reamp in the live room with the Red 4Pre from any studio to the Red 8Pre line out/mic in. Or track on the local iMac or a personal laptop with the Red 8Pre and RedNet in the live room. Or use any lunchbox or vintage front-end by using line-in on the Red 8Pre in the live room while recording from your studio with the Red 4Pre.”
There has been no shortage of talent working in LemonTree’s rooms. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Skrillex have all worked on projects at one location or the other, and tenants include some of the talent behind artists such as Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Post Malone, Katy Perry, Mark Ronson, Kylie Minogue, Charli XCX, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Duran Duran, Jennifer Lopez, Mark Anthony and numerous others. Additionally, Adam Harr’s Blue Oak Mastering room is located at the Highland Park location.
Chicago, IL (September 1, 2020)—Taking an urban approach to an outdoor lifestyle brand, YETI has been creating a group of retail spaces for itself in cities like Dallas, Charleston, Austin and now Chicago. For the latest store, YETI once again worked with The Werd Company out of Austin, TX to install AV systems based around Symetrix audio routing and signal processing.
Located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, the 4,900 square-foot store includes not merely a lot of products but also a bar and stage where weekly live performances, screenings, and events were held for the community prior to the pandemic.
“We enjoyed the challenge to create an audio system for the retail space that could transform into a performing space,” said Drew Dunavan, chief of operations at The Werd Company. “We had to remind ourselves that it’s not a regular venue.”
A Symetrix Prism 8×8 DSP manages all audio routing and signal processing for the store including the input processing, signal mixing and routing, and output processing. “The Dante capabilities of the Prism 8×8 are just what we were looking for,” said Dunavan. “It allows us to bring in event-production design and control because these retail stores are not venues, so they’re not acoustically treated for performance. The key was to have the capabilities to get in there and tune systems based on the desired outcome.”
Despite many moving pieces involved in the project, The Werd Company was able to design, integrate, and install the audiovisual system for YETI Chicago while providing continued maintenance and support through remote AV management and staffing for any live events.
“We really like the performance of Symetrix, and we’ve been implementing them in our upcoming installs,” said Dunavan. “AV is becoming more a part of function and design, and Symetrix is giving us the opportunity to really dial some great things in for our clients.”