Written by Rob Eveling
One thing we’ve wanted to try for a long time is live multi track recording to offer our customers. We wanted the ability to record a clean, pre fade signal ready for post production back at the studio. After a lot of research we decided to dedicate some time researching into Dante- Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet
(Guys…this technology is a dream!)
This year we have been trialling the TF5 from Yamaha which utilises a Dante network (via the pci port) to interface with the TIO1608-D stage box. Although the TF5 offers a USB out for recording, we took the view Dante would be more reliable as you can deploy the audio to multiple places… allowing you to hook up a couple of laptops for capture in case one fell over.
Before plugging in, you need two pieces of software which are distributed by a company called Audinate (the company that develops Dante).
First off the Dante Controller is free and is a fantastic visual API that allows you to distribute your audio to required destinations at one click of a button! It’s extremely intuitive and automatically discovers Dante devices on the network so minimal networking knowledge is required.
The Second piece of software is the ‘Dante Virtual SoundCard’ a free to trial software (15 days) and then a lifetime subscription at around $30. When running, your DAW of choice recognises it as an interface and interprets your configuration in Dante controller into physical I/O’s allowing to set up multi track for each individual channel.
After a lot of successful trials in the workshop we were ready to roadtest at a live show. Fortunately Steve and I had a small informal gig at the Leighton Buzzard Brewery next door (Thats right folks, we work next to a Brewery!!) so it was a perfect test to try it out. One thing we found is its a good idea to setup your recording session before the show, just to save time when setting up. The gig was a 2hr covers set with the usual- Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keys and 2x Vox so a nice small session.
Drums– Beta 52a, SM57, AKG C414
GTR– Senheiser E906
Laptop: Macbook pro (late 2013), Intel Core i7 processor, 16gb RAM, 256gb SSD, Logic Pro X
The outcome- Flawless! No drop outs, latency issues or pops and clicks which can happen when multi tracking. the DAW receives a post gain, pre fade signal so all we had to do was make sure we had a clean gain structure and that was it!
Check out the clip below to listen to one of the tracks.
Mary and I felt we now had a good understanding of how to get a Dante recording sessions up and running but were conscious we would be a little click happy if something was to go wrong, so the question came up- Is there such thing as a Dante course for beginners?
YES is the answer… and they are fantastic, free and can be found on Audinates website once you sign up:
We completed the online course for Level 1 in our workshop, which outlines the fundamentals of Dante and how to set up a small scale network.
It presents the information in four bite size youtube videos which gives you all you need to complete the multiple choice exam at the end.
We passed and were eager to learn more about this magical technology!
A Level 2 training event took place at Plasa 2017 at Olympia in London on the 19th October, so we went along to learn about larger Dante networks, switches necessary for different situations, latency settings, clock settings, redundancy and Unicast/Multicast traffic. Redundancy is a life saver – by setting up an identical network on the secondary ethernet port you can prevent signal loss if, for example, the ethernet cable was accidentally pulled from the primary ethernet port on the desk.
The presentation was given by Kieran Walsh, Regional Manager at Audinate, and there were also representatives from sponsors such as Focusrite, Peavey and d&b present that you could talk to about how they use Dante in their products. We even stuck around for an introduction to Level 3 which delved into how exactly the networks are set up with particular focus on data transfer as well as address types and network topology.
Once we returned back home, we completed the Dante Level 2 online exam and Dante network simulator test, which means we are now Dante Level 2 Certified!
From this, we are now going to start offering live multitrack recording for live events. I’ll add this in more details with costings etc in the next few days under the services tab so stay tuned!
In the mean time, if you want to know anymore about Dante or like to discuss any potential projects please do not hesitate to get in touch!