Connecting Dante® to an analogue PA solution is easy

Argument in favour of combining Dante® with 100 V technology

 

Many planners and installers exclude Dante®technology right from the start when it comes to expanding older PA systems. Either because they find Dante® technology to be a pure IT solution or because they do not know that digital and analogue can also work together. Michael Krebbing from MONACOR's Technical Project Management says that it does not only works, it is also easy to use. Therefore, we want to show you an example of how to combine the strengths of Dante® with analogue PA technology.

Our example scenario: a PA solution for several buildings on one site

Many companies have a permanently installed PA solution in their own company building. This building then accommodates departments such as administration, production and warehouse. In most cases, the existing solution consists of 100 V speakers and a zone mixing amplifier. Now, the company wants to accommodate production and warehouse in separate buildings. Nevertheless, production and warehouse still need a PA solution. Background music and voice announcements are to be transmitted from the main building to the adjoining buildings.

The question: how do we implement a PA solution for several buildings most efficiently?

Our solution: set up a Dante®-network and link it to the existing 100 V technology

How you can benefit from the strength of both technologies:

  1. Today, a future-proof network infrastructure is often part of modern cabling in buildings. This allows you to transmit data between main buildings and adjoining buildings, e.g. for telephone systems, warehouse logistics, production technology or merchandise management systems. This efficient networking which works across various buildings can also be used for a Dante® audio solution. With 500 m, a 100 V system would require a two-core underground cable. This cable would have to be laid separately from the main building to both of the buildings.
  2. If you were only to use Dante® technology, you would need Dante® speakers. However, a 100 V speaker solution is less expensive and ideally suited for commercial PA solutions.

So use Dante® to deliver audio signals over a greater distance into multiple buildings and 100 V technology for distribution at the place of application.

This could look something like this:

The signal pathway in our example:

  1. A signal converter reduces the 100 V audio signal to line level, e.g. a music signal or a voice announcement.
  2. The Dante® converters translate analogue audio signals into digital Dante® signals.
  3. Network cables then transport the converted signal through the network infrastructure to the new buildings.
  4. Another Dante® signal converter is installed there which converts the incoming Dante® signal back to its initial analogue state.
  5. 100 V cabling then distributes the signal to the 100 V speakers.

With just a few clicks: a network with Dante® and 100 V PA system is so easy to operate

The assignment in the Dante® network, i.e. who is transmitting to whom, is called routing. You usually perform this routing once using Dante Controller. This software from Audinate provides clearly arranged key management functions for Dante® networks. As a Dante® user you can download Dante Controller here free of charge.

The assignment in the Dante® network, i.e. who is transmitting to whom, is called routing. You usually perform this routing once using Dante Controller. This software from Audinate provides clearly arranged key management functions for Dante® networks. As a Dante® user you can download Dante Controller here free of charge.

User-friendly Dante® networks:

  • The controller automatically recognises Dante® components.
  • In case of errors, the controller always indicates why something is not working.
  • You can rename each device in order to allocate unique names.
  • Dante Controller does not have to be permanently active on a PC. You only need to open the program if you want to change the routing.
  • The devices in the Dante® network can easily be located at a different position, the routing remains the same.

For your orientation in the network: please note that our Dante® network does not start at the sound source and end at the speaker. For this scenario, we use 100 V components. Our Dante® network only includes the path between the Dante® transmitter (in the main building) and Dante® receivers (in production and warehouse).

The screenshot shows the example with main building, production and warehouse. Dante® equipment is immediately visible by default when connected to the right network IP circuit.

A Dante® network with correct routing (left) and with an error message (right)

For our example, the respective transmitters and receivers have been given names of the corresponding buildings. The Dante® transmitters are shown vertically. The Dante® receivers are shown horizontally. The transmitters are all located in the main building (out 1 and out 2), the receivers are both in production (out 2 to 01/02) and the storage building (out 1 to in 1/in 2). If a connection is set incorrectly, Dante® Controller indicates where the error is.

Once you have set up a Dante® network, it will work permanently.

4 tips for your 100 V Dante®-network

1. Use Multicast Flow for larger Dante® networks

For the Dante® network, the default setting is Unicast Flow. This means that Dante® only sends the audio signal to devices which have requested it. This works well if you have as many output channels as target devices. Dante® devices only have a certain number of channels available for transmission, depending on the Dante® processor installed. The number of channels determines how many devices can be addressed in unicast mode. With multicast flow, Dante® sends the audio signal into the network and each Dante®-enabled device in the network can use the signal for itself without limiting the number of receivers. It is the same principle as with water pipes. The water goes to all of the outputs but only flows if the tap is turned on. For each multicast channel transmitted, a permanent bandwidth of approx. 2 to 3 Mbps is available.

Unicast is for very small networks: two channels in, two channels out. Larger networks are more efficient with multicast.

2. Network components for a more stable Dante® network

More stability in a Dante® network can be achieved with managed switches. Enable IGMP Snooping (Internet Group Management Protocol) to create a multicast group. Thus, you are able to send traffic only to users who need it. This allows data packets to be sent directly between source and destination without additional traffic affecting the network. Many unmanaged switches may overload if traffic is high. This may result in interrupted music or failure of the merchandise management system.

3. Settings that make a Dante® network more stable: latency and sampling rate

If you use Dante® components only for background music or voice transmission, you can increase the latency for your Dante® network to 5 milliseconds. This ensures a higher stability under heavy use. To further reduce the bandwidth in the network, you can reduce the sampling rate. The loss of sound quality is very limited.

Attention: the sampling rate must be the same for both transmitter and receiver.

The tab 'Latency' shows the latencies compared with the amount of data.

4. General rule for Dante® IP addresses: the first 2 blocks should be the same

The 4 numeric blocks of an IP address are called IP circles. In the Dante® range, the first 2 IP address circles of the respective devices should be the same. The 4th numerical block of the IP address, however, must be different. In most cases, we recommend that the IP addresses be automatically assigned by DHCP. You can assign a manual IP address for each device. This is, however, not required most of the times.

4. General rule for Dante® IP addresses: the first 2 blocks should be the same

The 4 numeric blocks of an IP address are called IP circles. In the Dante® range, the first 2 IP address circles of the respective devices should be the same. The 4th numerical block of the IP address, however, must be different. In most cases, we recommend that the IP addresses be automatically assigned by DHCP. You can assign a manual IP address for each device. This is, however, not required most of the times.

Conclusion: Dante® solutions only require basic IT know-how and hugely increase the range of options for installers.

Dante® is a technology which installers should be engaged with. Due to the virtual setup of a Dante® PA system, you cannot damage the hardware. In the worst case, a wrong click can result in an error message. After a short training period, Dante Controller is easy to use and opens up a whole new world of possibilities. We hope that installers are not discouraged by a few IT terms. Dante® cannot replace 100 V technology, but it can often be a useful addition.

source image header: © MONACOR INTERNATIONAL

MONACOR INTERNATIONAL offers a high quality and perfectly adapts products to their target groups. Look on our respective brand website to find out what our product brands got in store for you.
Contact